Thursday, January 18, 2007

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus has some common names: holliday cacti, Thanksgiving cactus, East cactus. It is one of the most famous plant as many people take it as a holliday gift. And then there will be a following question from receiver: how I can take care of it, how to keep the blossom longer and get it to re-bloom in the next year. The answers for those question are as following:
  • To keep the blossom of Christmas cactus longer, you should place it in cooler temperatures and a well-lit location away from drafts from heat vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air. Drafts and temperature extremes can cause the flower buds to drop from the plant before they have a chance to open.

  • The soil should be evenly moist for best growth, but they are intolerant to constantly wet soil and poor aeration like their relatives. If outdoors, an established plant may only need to be watered every two or three days in warm, sunny weather; or every week in cool, cloudy weather.

  • Keep your plants in a sunny location indoors. Plants can be moved outdoors in summer, but keep them in a shady or semi-shady location. Leaves may start to turn a bit red if exposed to excessive light. When it's time to bring the plants back inside in the fall, slowly adjust the plants to life indoors by gradually increasing the number of hours they spend indoors each day.

  • Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. You can place the plants in a dark closet from about 8 P.M. - 8 A.M. each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming. Christmas cacti will also bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50 to 55 degrees F, eliminating the need for the dark treatments. Plants should be blooming for the holidays if cool treatments are started by early November

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