Herself's Houseplants

Killing plants so you don't have to

Christmas and Easter Cactus plants





Thanks for the lovely photo!

The biggest difference between a Christmas cactus and an Easter cactus is when they bloom. Each blooms near its respective holiday. Christmas cactus have scalloped stem segments. Thanksgiving ones have between two and four pointy teeth along the edges of leaves and Easter cactus have rounded teeth. They are members of the Zygocactus¬† truncatus family which is native to Central and South America. You might also see them referred to as ‘Jungle cactus’.

These are extremely easy houseplants to grow. While they love light, they will grow in your east and west windows as well as your southern exposures. Keep them from cold, drafty windows and doors, these are tropical jungle plants and they do not like the cold. The more light they receive the more flowers will bloom.

Water a bit more than a traditional cactus. For they are not traditional cactus but epiphytes who grow on decaying trees. They are accustomed to tropical jungles. You can treat them like an orchid and they will do fine. Or plant them in a humus soil and water when the top gets dry.

Like all tropicals they love humidity and make great plants for kitchens and bathrooms. If you are having trouble with yours try increasing the humidity.

They make excellent gifts. As the branches get long and you wish to trim them back, save the cuttings. Each leaf planted upright about 1/3 below the soil, 2/3 above will root and give you a new plant. Just be careful not to trim near blooming time.

Every one I’ve owned has bloomed yearly at its proper time with no effort on my part. If you are having trouble getting yours to bloom then place them in a dark place ~ 50′. Place them in a brown paper bag to block out sun for 14 hours each day. Water sparingly. Do this for six weeks. Stop two weeks before you wish your plant to bloom.

Bud drop often happens because of low humidity or exposure to cold temperatures or very warm temperatures.

If the stems show yellow or brown on them near the soil stop watering so much, that is rot setting in.

More information:
The case for Christmas Cactus