6 Tips For Caring For Your Easter Cactus - Backyard Boss
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6 Tips For Caring For Your Easter Cactus

The Easter cactus (Schlumbergera gaertneri) is the spring-blooming member of the cactus family, relative to the perhaps more familiar Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) and Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). Instead of blooming in response to the shorter days and cooler temperatures like the Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti, the Easter cactus blooms with the warming weather and lengthening days. Hello, springtime!

Though caring for an Easter cactus may require a bit more attention than its relatives, understanding a few simple tips can be the difference for a successful blooming cactus! Take a look at these tips to ensure your Easter cactus is happy, healthy, and thriving.

Care Tips for Easter Cacti

The Easter cactus is an epiphytic succulent which means in nature, it grows upon another structure for its support, without invading or harming its host. For growing this perennial indoors, using a pot and a potting medium works just fine! So, if you enjoy growing Easter cacti, check out these tips to help your cactus live its best life!

1. Potting Medium

Preparing soil for blueberries
Image Credits: Markus Spiske via Unsplash

The Easter cactus needs humus-rich, well-draining soil or potting mix to ensure that moisture moves down and through. With excess moisture sitting in the potting medium, root rot will occur. Use a ratio of 1:1 soil and perlite or pumice or a commercial bromeliad potting mix. Keep in mind the best acidic soil range should fall within a pH of 5 to 6.

Fertilization is necessary about once a month from April through to October. In addition, holiday cacti require higher magnesium levels, so supplement the soil by using Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Use 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water — Do this during the fertilization window, on different weeks than the fertilizer.

2. Water

person holding a watering can near plants
Image credits: Cottonbro studio via Pexels

The Easter cactus is vulnerable to improper watering practices. Too much or too little water causes the stem segments to droop and heavy overwatered soil causes root rot.

To ensure proper watering, check the soil first. If the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry, then it is time to water again. When the plant is in dormancy (generally around fall and winter) it may be necessary to reduce the watering even more. Continue to use the soil check rather than a routine watering schedule.

3. Humidity

Blue Bottle for Humidity
Image credits: Public Domain Pictures via Pixabay

Epiphytes require high-humidity environments. To help your Easter cactus, providing adequate humidity is essential. Ways to improve the moisture in the air can range from moving the plant into the bathroom to absorb the steam from showers, misting the leaves, or keeping a tray of wet rocks underneath the potted cactus.

4. Light and Temperature

wooden temperature gauge
Image credits: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

For indoor environments, light and temperatures need to mimic the Easter cactus’ natural environment: a lightly shaded rainforest. Optimal temperatures for most of the year should stay at 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.

The Easter cactus produces an abundance of blooms in the spring once two differing requirements are complete. First, expose the cactus to cool temperatures about 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four weeks — this helps the buds form over winter. Then expose it to 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for an additional four to six weeks to encourage blooming.

In general, the Easter cactus enjoys the partial shade. This perennial can tolerate two to six hours of direct sunlight, however fading or dropping flowers is a sign of too much direct sunlight so keep an eye on your plant! A location change may be necessary if this occurs.

5. Move Outdoors for Summer

Easter Cactus Blooms
Image credits: Noelle Gillies via Creative Commons

To get those beautiful blooms of the Easter cactus in their full glory, consider moving the potted cactus outdoors during the summer months. Exposing the plant to outdoor conditions allows the new growth to get stronger as well as helps more flower buds form.

When outdoors, keep the Easter cactus in a sheltered shady space. Do not forget to bring it indoors before the temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Cozy Pot

Potting soil and containers
Image credits: Ylanitevia Pixabay

Easter cacti enjoy tight root conditions so smaller pots work well. In their native habitat, these perennials grow in the cracks of trees and the crevices of rocks, and so small pot conditions create a similar environment. Make sure that the pot you choose has drainage holes in the bottom. Finally, only repot an Easter cactus after the spring blooms and at a minimum every three years or so.

Set Up for Spring!

With a few simple tips and tricks in your toolbox, you are now on your way to a healthy and thriving Easter cactus! Simple fixes like properly draining soil, the right humidity levels, and setting the plant outdoors for the summer will make all the difference when the time comes for the beautiful scarlet blooms to appear! It is well worth the love and attention.

Do you enjoy the springtime blooms of an Easter cactus? Share your favorite tips for a successful Easter cactus in the comment section below!