People buy a Christmas cactus plant for two reasons: its appearance and also its holiday flowering period. The second is generally a source of annoyance, as producers would sometimes advertise Thanksgiving cactus and even Easter cactus as Xmas cactus. The good news is that all three of these succulents are closely related, thus their needs are frequently fairly similar. To be safe, it is essential to grasp the distinction:
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x Buckleyi): Taking on the functions of Schlumbergera russelliana, the Buckleyi group of cultivars feature rounded, proportionate teeth. They bloom in December, producing regular blooms that hang and pink plant pollen.
Easter Cactus (Schlumbergera gaertneri): This cactus (and its cultivar, Schlumbergera x gaertneri) has scraped, toothed edges and blooms in the spring. The scarlet blooms are typical and open in a channel shape.
Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera x Truncata): This cultivar team is based on Schlumbergera Truncata and also has genuinely directed teeth that are significantly fewer in proportion than on Christmas cactus. In November, the flowers grow flat, with the upper fifty percent forming differently from the lower hand and also yellow plant pollen.
These distinctions may look minor, but they are critical in receiving accurate treatment information as well as determining whether there is a genuine blooming problem (rather than simply having the incorrect cactus).
Feeding is one of the most complicated aspects of treatment for Christmas cactus since, unlike many plants, you don’t really feed it as it develops.
While well-balanced solutions work, there are certain variations to this principle that should be considered.
That being said, here’s everything you need to know about feeding your Christmas cactus (if you’re certain that’s what you have).
The Best Plant Food for Christmas Cactus
You don’t actually feed a Christmas cactus when it’s flowering, as previously indicated.
We’ll go into further detail on that later, but first it’s critical to select the best plant food.
Schlumbergas are epiphytes, which means they’re non-parasitic plants that grow on other plants yet get their nutrition and moisture from the air.
As a houseplant, they are often planted in earth and also sprinkled in the same manner as other potted plants, but it is also much simpler to mistakenly overfeed the plant.
The NPK ratio is one of the first things you’ll need to grasp before selecting an amazing plant food.
This denotes the percentage of the three important nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
When it comes to Christmas cactus, a 20-20-20 combination is best.
You can nearly avoid a 20-10-20 mix and still have a totally healthy and balanced plant, but the results will not be as good as a properly balanced combination.
Liquid houseplant plant feeds are usually the best option since they are easy to consume and also are less likely to cause burns if used correctly.
Granular (time-release) plant meals are popular, but they aren’t as successful as they could be since there’s no way to control the percentage of nutrients released at any one moment.
Miracle-Gro offers an excellent fluid plant food that is both dependable and affordable.
Simply be sure to dilute it down, even if you’re using the foam formula.
Similarly, Espoma has a fantastic product called Plant Food Indoor! This comes in a small bottle but watered down to make 8 gallons of all-natural fertilizer. Aside from the regular plant food, you’ll also need to get some Epsom salts, which are an excellent method to enhance magnesium for your plant (while also alleviating some aches and discomforts!) without spending a lot of money.
When and how exactly How to Feed a Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus grow during their dormant state, which might irritate people.
From April through October, they must be fed monthly, thinning out and applying plant food according to the instructions on the product label (various brand names might require to be weakened or used in a different way).
Feeding should be avoided between November and March, when the plant truly blossoms.
Never apply plant food directly to the plant, since this might cause burns regardless of how much water you use.
Instead, be sure to apply the plant food to the soil gradually so that there is no leaking, and also work your way around the container, lifting the stems as needed.
As for the Epsom salts, we recommend using 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.
Give this to your plant once a month when you reverse the feeding cycle.
For example, if you feed in week 1, you would almost probably supply Epsom salts in week 3.
Feeding your Christmas cactus is crucial, but you must also follow a few simple guidelines.
The first rule is that you should cleanse the potting soil on a regular basis to minimize salt buildup.
Watering using a soak-and-dry method may help clean out the dirt right away, but other watering methods may necessitate a hand-on flushing every couple of months.
Christmas cactus, like all other potted plants, will require new well-draining soil every couple of years or the plant food will not enough to keep your plant healthy.
This repotting process also allows you to increase the pot size if the plant becomes rootbound.
Proper feeding will not only provide healthy and balanced blooms and also a generally much healthier plant, but as part of a proper care program, it can allow your Christmas cactus to thrive for years.