Christmas cactus plants (Schlumbergera truncata) are most loved for their beautiful blooms, though they generally only last a few months of the year. The trailing succulent tendrils are plenty to write about, but the flowers are truly what make these plants stand out.
While the greenery stuns year-round, you may wonder how you can see the blooms a few extra times. Fortunately, you’re in luck! In general, flowering is a response to shorter days and cooler temperatures, but a few more details entice new blooms. With the right approach and the ability to recreate the perfect conditions, you can see your Christmas cactus shine again.
Can Christmas Cactus Bloom More Than Once?
As is true with many plants, the amount of sunlight per day affects when Christmas cacti form buds and flowers. On top of that, certain temperatures affect the succulent’s ability to develop flowers and continue to bloom. Other conditions, such as watering routines and fertilizing, also play a role when your plant blooms.
With all this in mind, you may ask yourself: can a Christmas cactus bloom more than once a year? The answer is yes! Giving your cactus the right conditions will help create new buds and longer-lasting flowers.
Tools You’ll Need
If you want your Christmas cactus to keep on blooming, there are a few tools you’ll need to keep on hand.
- Christmas cactus
- Watering can
- Well-draining soil
- Pot with drainage
- Liquid fertilizer
- Humidifier (optional)
How To See Those Blooms Once More
While you should continue to water while the plant is blooming, a decrease in water can entice the development of more buds. Reducing watering gives the plant a period of dormancy, which encourages flowering. Only water the plant when the top half inch or inch of soil is dry.
When the plant does flower, increase watering to ensure the soil never dries. The soil should stay moist but never be soggy or wet, as overwatering can cause leaves to drop and even kill the plant.
Changes in Lighting
A short day cycle plays the most important role in helping a Christmas cactus bloom. Since the plant blooms during the months when the days are shorter, you can recreate these conditions by keeping it in darkness for 16 hours a day and with sunlight for the other eight hours.
Repeat this cycle for eight days, and you should notice buds forming! You can also do this for up to eight weeks to see the continuous bud and flower development.
Pro Tip: When placing the plant in darkness, ensure there is no lighting at all, whether artificial or natural. Keep it in a basement or closet for optimal results.
The warmer your home, the faster the Christmas cactus blooms will fade. With the right temperature, you can prolong your blooms for up to eight weeks. Temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit keep the plant happiest, inducing new blooms and maintaining current flowers.
Remember that the Christmas cactus is a tropical plant, meaning it thrives in humidity rather than dry air. Keep the plant near a humidifier or a bathroom to ensure enough moisture in the air. You can also place it on a pebble tray.
To encourage new growth and blooms, fertilize the Christmas cactus plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Without the right light and temperatures, fertilizer will still benefit the plant, feeding the root system and helping the plant grow, but it won’t help the plant develop any flowers.
Once the plant develops blooms, cease fertilizing. Continue fertilizing again about eight weeks after blooming is completed.
If your succulent is root bound, it may struggle to bloom. If you’re supplying all these conditions but don’t notice any buds forming, it’s time to check the plant’s root system! If the plant is top-heavy, you spot roots shooting out the sides of the drainage holes, or there’s no soil in the planter, it’s time to repot.
To replant, use a container with drainage one size up from your plant’s current pot. Fill the bottom with well-draining soil, add the plant, and top with more soil. Finish the process by fertilizing and watering the cactus, and continue the care regimen outlined above!
Keep it Blooming!
While Christmas cactus plants are beautiful all year, you can enjoy the magic of the blooms a few extra times. With the right conditions, the succulent can reproduce beautiful flowers more than once. Opt for limited light, reduce your watering, remember to fertilize, and keep the temperature just right!
Do you have any tips for helping a Christmas cactus bloom more than once a year? Share in the comments below!