Christmas Cactus

Asked February 13, 2013, 3:06 PM EST

A client called and would like to know how to get a Christmas cactus to bloom. Any suggestions?

Clay County South Dakota

1 Response

There are several types of holiday cacti: the Christmas , the Thanksgiving, and the Easter. It is important to know that the plants will set on bloom in response to long dark cool nights of at least (12 hours). Right now it is time to make sure the cactus is in a sunny location indoors and feed and water it like a houseplant. You might prune it to encourage more branching and therefor it will have more blooms. "Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night. Begin 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." 1) I will insert a couple of links on the cactus care so you can learn more about them. 1) quote taken from and one from Florida that I found quite informative on care. 2) There are those who don't believe in the darkening process with covering or closets: If you live in a area that does not have excessive night lighting where you keep your plant and you want to give nature a try, your Christmas cactus may bloom for you without putting it in a closet. Good luck,