With spring comes the bright sun, warmer weather, and the beautiful blooms of your garden plants, especially your Easter cactus. Resembling Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti, the plant features succulent, jointed segments that are flat with rounded edges. The plant also boasts vibrant flowers, with blooms ranging from red to orange and pink.
Other types of cacti tend to prefer dry, arid conditions, but Easter cacti are tropical plants, meaning they prefer moisture and less direct sunlight. Though generally grown indoors in North America, the plants are hardy in zones 10 through 12. So, what do they require in terms of watering? And how should you switch up your routine to induce those beautiful blooms this spring?
Learn how often you should water your Easter cactus and some tips and tricks for providing proper drainage and inducing blooms. Plus, find out how to tell if you are overwatering or underwatering the plant to prevent any issues.
How Often Should You Water Easter Cacti?
How often you water your cacti depends on the weather, as you will need to water more often when temperatures are higher, and the air is dry. Also, the soil and type of pot you use can affect how quickly the plant dries out. Whether indoors or outdoors, in a container or the ground, place your plant in a location with indirect light with daytime temperatures between 70 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust temperatures and lighting when trying to induce blooms or when the plant is flowering (more on that later).
Generally, water Easter cacti weekly when the top inch of soil is dry. Depending on the weather, you may need to adjust this schedule, so stick your finger in the soil to see if it is dry. When the plant is blooming in spring, you need to water more regularly, keeping the soil slightly moist but never waterlogged. Also, when the plant is flowering, ensure it is in at least 50 percent humidity. Water deeply, until water runs out the drainage holes of your planter. It is best to err on the side of under-watering rather than overwatering, as Easter cacti are susceptible to root rot.
Pro Tip: Never allow your plant to stand in water. Once you allow the water to drain from the soil, empty the drip tray.
Since how often you water your Easter cacti depends on numerous factors, it is important to provide ample drainage so you do not overwater your plant.
First, if you are planting in a pot, a clay or terracotta planter is best. Because the materials are moisture-wicking and a common choice for succulents, you won’t have to worry as much about overwatering. Also, make sure you use a pot with a drainage hole. Otherwise, plant the cactus in a nursery pot with drainage and place it inside the pot you like, using it as a cachepot (cover pot).
Well-draining soil is essential to your plant’s health as it prevents overwatering, protecting the root system. Look for a mix specifically designed for cacti, succulents, or commercial bromeliad potting mix. You can also make your own with three parts potting mix, two parts sand or crushed granite, and one part of pumice or perlite.
Easter cacti develop buds and flowers in late winter or early spring when the days are longer. They will flower when exposed to a combination of conditions: nighttime temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and a period of dormancy. To create a period of dormancy, do not fertilize and water very lightly, allowing the soil to dry out from December through March. Also, keep the room completely dark from sundown to sunrise.
Once your Easter cactus begins flowering, around April or May, keep it in bright, indirect light during the day. Ensure the soil stays consistently moist while in bloom, never allowing the top inch of soil to dry out. Also, provide daytime temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Fertilize the plant monthly with a 10-10-10 mix when not in bloom.
Signs of Overwatering and Underwatering
Signs of under-watering and overwatering tend to go hand in hand. That said, soggy soil points to overwatering, while dry soil means your plant is parched. A cheery plant, your Easter cactus plant’s segments should be sturdy and firm. Thin and floppy, drooping plants are not healthy. You might also notice dropping buds and mushy stems.
It is easier to bring an Easter cactus back from underwatering than overwatering. When underwatered, you only need to adjust your schedule. When you overwater the plant, it might suffer root rot, requiring a removal of dead roots and stems and repotting in fresh soil and a clean pot.
Keep Your Easter Cactus Hoppy!
Learning how to properly water your Easter cactus can be tricky. Providing proper drainage and paying attention to the weather and conditions is helpful! Watch for signs of overwatering and under-watering to ensure your plant is happy. Depending on the time of year, change your watering routine to induce those beautiful blooms.
Do you know any tips for watering an Easter cactus? Share in the comments below!