Christmas Cactus – genus schlumbergera
The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera Bridgesii) is a plant that is gaining in popularity. It’s beautiful blooms add variety to any plant collection. This houseplant captures the hearts of many during the long winter months. The Christmas cactus needs long nights of 14 hours of dark in order to bloom. The Christmas cactus usually blooms near Christmastime. In order to have a healthy, happy plant, it’s important that your Christmas cactus is potted in the correct kind of soil.
This cactus is native to Brazil. In Brazil, the Christmas cacti grow up in the grees. The roots of the cactus burrow into dead and decaying leaves, bark, and branches. The decomposing plant matter makes a sort of light soil for the cacti to grow in. Since the soil is so loose the roots dry out quickly. The daily rainfall in the rainforests keeps the plant happy.
What Kind of Soil For Christmas Cactus?
Since we are looking to keep our Christmas cactus plants as indoor houseplants, we need to model the soil as close to the Brazillian rainforest as we can. In order for us to have a similar soil we need to look for some soil (or make our own) with the following conditions:
- Good Draining
- A Little Nutrition
There are some great potting mixes made just for cacti plants. These would do a suitable job. Just make sure that it looks like it will be a good draining soil.
Another route would be to make your own Christmas cactus soil. There are a couple of combinations that would work great.
The first one would be 1 part perlite, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part potting soil.
A second option would be 1 part potting soil to 2 parts perlite. These combinations should give you a light airy soil that will also drain easily.
A third soil you can try is 1 part coco coir, 1 part cactus potting soil, and 1 part compost
Hopefully, you have the items on hand to create a really good draining potting soil just perfect for your plant.
How To Water a Christmas Cactus in its New Soil
Watering a Christmas cactus can become a little tricky. You don’t want to over-water your houseplant. Overwatering can lead to root rot. If root rot occurs it will be a little tricky to save your plant.
The best way to water this plant is to make sure that your new cactus soil doesn’t dry out 100 percent. You need to water when the soil is dry, but not completely dry. Don’t overwater so that the soil is sopping wet.
A good way to help prevent overwatering is to repot your Christmas cactus into a pot with at least one drainage hole (and saucer). This will allow any extra water to freely come out from the roots, and thus will prevent damage to the cactus.
Additionally, choose a pot that will give the Christmas cactus just a little room to grow, but not too much. These plants actually prefer slightly tighter quarters and like to be more on the root-bound side. Keep your cacti growing for years to come and happily with good, well-draining soil.