7 Common Problems With Your Easter Cactus - Backyard Boss
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7 Common Problems With Your Easter Cactus

The Easter cactus (Schlumbergera/Hatiora gaertneri), which comes from the rainforests of southeastern Brazil, is a beautiful succulent. Although sometimes mistaken for Christmas cacti, Easter cacti bloom during spring — buds will form between February and March, and flowers will appear between March and May. This plant has arched stems with flat segments, soft brown stubble on the leaf edges, rounded scallops, and stunning reddish-orange flowers.

Are you making the most out of your Easter cactus? Learn more about how to overcome seven common problems with your cactus.

Lack of Humidity

Red Easter Cactus in bloom
Image credits: Petar Paunchev via Shutterstock

Lack of humidity is a common problem when growing an Easter cactus. This succulent loves high levels of humidity — at least 50 percent — so during the warmer months, regularly spray your cactus or place it on a humidity tray to encourage moisture. Also, try putting your cactus in wet rooms, like the bathroom, where moisture accumulates.

No Blooms on Your Easter Cacti

Easter cactus without bloom
Image credits: Hildegard Klein via Openverse

If your cactus is not showing its brightly colored flowers, it’s likely because your indoor day and night temperatures are too high. A recommended cooler temperature at night is 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit so that blooms can appear in five to six weeks. To encourage blooming, you can also lower room temperature during the day — 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Improper Lighting

Easter cactus and bitter stonecrop in pot
Image credits: COULANGES via Shutterstock

To thrive, this cactus needs bright light, filtered light, and partial shade but no exposure to full sun. Your cactus generally requires four hours of bright light per day. A north, west, or east-facing exposure is ideal, but a southerly one is too hot.

An important part of growing the buds and inducing blooms is giving your cactus eight to twelve weeks of 12 to 24 hours of darkness in cool temperatures during the day starting in September or October. This is easier said than done, but possible by placing your cactus in a closed closet or a box covered with a dark material placed on top.

If your cactus does not receiveĀ adequate light daily and the required period in darkness, it will not develop buds for blooms.

Incorrect Soil

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Using the wrong type of soil is another common problem. If you’re using standard potting soil for your cactus, it’s time to switch it up. You should use an organic mix solely for cacti: one part potting soil, one part coarse sand, pumice, or perlite, and one part peat moss. You can also purchase a well-drained bromeliad soil mix if it’s easier.

Easter cacti planted in heavy-laden soil that is too moist will cause stem rot. In addition, adding the above-required amount of perlite to the soil produces adequate drainage and avoids stem rot.

Note: Fungus gnats love constantly wet soil, which is a pest you do not want on your cactus.

Lacking Fertilizer

Pink Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis rosea) in greenhouse, Moscow region, Russia
Image credits: Nick Pecker via Shutterstock

Not fertilizing your Easter cactus is a common problem and will result in your succulent lacking the nutrients it needs for proper growth.

Fertilize every month when it’s actively growing from June through August with a regular plant fertilizer diluted to half strength. However, change the base of your fertilizer in autumn, so it has a higher alkaline content: low in nitrogen but high in potassium and phosphorus.

Easter Cacti Dropping Flower Buds

Bud Drop and Drooping of Easter Cactus
Image credits: JPSzcz via Free Images

Another common problem with the Easter cactus is the dropping of buds. Knowing how to prevent this will encourage buds to stay attached to the stems and eventually bloom.

Place your cactus away from any drafts, including vents and heaters, to prevent bud drop. Other causes of bud drop include not giving your cactus enough light or overwatering it.

Not Watering Correctly

Blooming potted Easter Cactus
Image credits: jooliargh via Creative Commons

Finally, your watering regime could be a big problem for the Easter cactus. Make sure you are not overwatering your succulent, as the leaves will bleach out, wilt, and begin to rot.

How often you water your cactus depends on the season of the year and the type of soil in the pot. Once a week is sufficient, but during the fall, only water to prevent shriveling and dryness. You can increase your watering in spring or early summer when the cactus starts to actively grow again.

Note: Do not let your cactus sit in excess water, and remove still water from the saucer, pot, or container, or this will cause the leaves to rot and bleach out.

Pamper Your Easter Cacti

With the right care and attention paid to light, water, and humidity requirements, according to the time of day and season of the year, you can avoid the above common problems with your Easter cacti.

Will you follow the above-recommended Easter cactus care tips to produce a healthy plant?

If you have extra tips or tricks, please leave them in the comment field below.

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