Christmas cactus

Asked January 12, 2019, 11:16 AM EST

I have a print out of your information which i have read over and over BUT it does not answer the following: I have a large pot that came with several different colored plants several years ago. A very pale pink that has really enlarged and a deep red are blooming well from November to January but another reddish plant died that first year and now there is a large bald spot in which nothing grows. I have tried rooted cuttings but they rot almost immediately. I did replace the earth in that area but to no avail. What can I do? Will only replanting the entire group in a new pot help? When and how to I do this? I have broken others in that process and hate to lose this group. I have not heard this problem on the WCCO monring call in program. Thanks, Karin

Washington County Minnesota

1 Response

The measures you have taken so far seem to be appropriate under the circumstances. However, if the cuttings' roots rotted, too much moisture is the most likely cause.

We don't have enough information about your plant care practices, the kind of potting soil and how long it has been since the plants were re-potted to make specific recommendations. Nevertheless, some the of following suggestions may help resolve the problem.

Feb.-March is a good time to root some more cuttings and repot if necessary.
Re-potting soon will be beneficial if that hasn't been done for three or more years and especially if the potting soil isn't light and permeable.

Re-potting a large Christmas cactus can be challenging. Some of the tips shown here may be helpful:
The soil used for propagating and growing Christmas cactus should be slightly different from your standard potting mix. These plants do not do well in a constantly moist media. A mix with good drainage is important. Cacti and succulent potting mix can be purchased pre-mixed but you can make your own using 1 part sterile potting soil, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part sharp/builder's sand or perlite.

After the cuttings root, plant them in small pots and grow them there until they have new leaves before adding them to the big pot.

If you don't re-pot, withhold water for six weeks after flowering but be sure to add water if any leaves begin to shrivel or wilt. Water more frequently after that but, in general, grow Christmas cactus on the dry side. Water well when the plants set buds and until the flowers are spent.