Christmas Cactus Flowers: The Flowers of Holiday Season
Holiday season is that time of the year when you see beautiful Christmas cacti all around you. These beautiful flowers in a range of colors from orange to pink, purple, yellow, orange, and red. Every gardener surely has these festive flowers in his or her collection. They are great sources to earn good cash in festive season as they are quite favorite among people to gift during festivities in winters.
Christmas cactus flowers are beautiful. But, apart from buying or gifting them, one must keep into account the necessary points that are needed to help these plants grow for years. These flowers need special attention and care. Thus, you must read proper guidelines if you are planning to buy these flowers or have received them as gift. If you take proper care of Christmas cactus flowers, then you can even leave these beautiful plants as legacy or family gems for your future generations. They will be a great remembrance of their ancestors, especially during the Christmas season.
Why Christmas cactus flowers are Named Thus?
Christmas cactus flowers are also known by the names of crab cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, or holiday cactus. It is named thus that the flower is very famous during the winters in the holiday season. The plant is called crab cactus because the stem segments of the plant are curled in the shape of a leaf. Apart from that, the plant also has pointy edges that gives it an appearance of the claws of the crab. Thanksgiving cactus differs from Easter cactus in this quality. The stem segments of Easter cactus too are curled like the claws of a cactus, but they are not pointy. The edges of an Easter cactus are smooth. Christmas cactus flowers originated in the shadowy and humid areas of Southeast coastal regions of Brazil.
When you are going to buy Christmas cactus flowers, you should keep in mind the holiday season for which you are buying them. So, Christmas cactus flowers are the choices for the Christmas season. While on the other hand, Easter cactus flowers are worth buying for Easter festival. The reason is that these flowers bloom only around the time of the specific festival on which they are named.
Christmas cactus flowers come in the category of epiphytes. It is so because they live in that part of the tree where the branches of the tree meet. They live above the ground in the nooks where moss and decomposed leaves are collected. Though Christmas cactus flowers are named cactus, but their care routine is nowhere near the desert counterparts of this plant. This cactus plant is classified as the forest cactus. This cactus plant can be grown easily in a pot. Upon more growth, it will be ideal to repot the plant into a bigger pot.
Temperature and Light
Christmas cactus flowers need a humid climate to grow, Thus, the soil that you use to grow this plant should be an organic mix of rich quality. Make sure, that the soil never dries out. When the flowers start to bloom, increase the amount of water in the pot to increase the moisture content. These plants should not be given direct sunlight. But, this doesn’t mean that they should be kept in a dark space. Choose a location that is bright but does not receive direct sunlight. During the fall, direct sunlight can harm the leaves of the plant by making them dark. The plant may burn in harsh sunlight! So, do not keep the plant in direct sunlight.
Christmas cactus flowers will bloom their best in the coming years if you keep the temperature and the light in check. Flower kingdom is affected most by these two factors. Since the flowers are very delicate, they can get easily affected by harsh temperatures and sunlight. Christmas cactus flowers blooms wonderfully when the days are short and the environment is cool. To make sure that the flower buds are produced by the flowers on the right time, do check that the plant receives required shadow and light. For a period of at least eight days, the plant should be in shadow for 16 hours, and it should be in light for eight hours.
The location in which plant is kept is as such that the area does not receive any amount of sunlight during the light. So, abstain from switching on the light in night in the area where the plant the kept. Otherwise, it will disrupt the budding and flower cycle of the plant. So, you must ensure that the dark cycle of the plant is not disrupted. The ideal temperature that should be around the plant is 61 degrees. Do not place the plant where there is extreme cold or hot air current.
Christmas cactus flowers are best grown when a dark room is chosen to place them. Just place the plant on the window sill of a cool room where you rarely turn on the lights, and you are all set. Sometimes, if the plant receives partial shadow, then the part of the plant facing window is the plant that only buds. While on the other hand, the part of the plant that faces light does not bud at all. Sometimes, the plant receives buds but they fall down as soon as they appear. This mostly happens due to underwatering or overwatering. Make sure that the plant is receiving humidity.
Right Care is the Key
Even if you lack in taking proper care of the Christmas cactus flowers, then still you can bring them back in good shape. All you need to do is to keep the temperature and light in check. Plant the flowers in an east-facing window. Following the blooming period, the temperature around the plant should be kept cool. This plant usually starts to bloom around a period of six weeks. You should also check that the soil is properly drained. For this, the plant should have a drainage hole at the bottom of the plant. This will help to prevent deposition of excess moisture in the soil.
The potting mix that you are using for the Christmas cactus flowers should be especially made for succulent plants. The potting mix should be as such that the soil is drained properly. Your bathroom is the ideal place to keep Christmas cactus flowers. The reason behind this is that bathrooms have a large amount of humidity and remain cool and dark most of the times. Apart from bathroom, your kitchen is also a good place to put Christmas cactus flowers.
Winter season is all cool and dark and Christmas cactus flowers grow very well. But in the summer, you need to take special care of the plant. During summers, keep the plant at a spot in the garden that is shady and cool. The porch area is also good to keep these plants. Just check that the porch is unheated. The temperature should not go up 10 degree Celsius or 50 Fahrenheit. Direct outdoor sunlight should not hit Christmas cactus flowers.
Christmas cactus flowers should get water in every two to three weeks. It is best to water the plant only it the surface of soil feels dry. Use your finger to check the humidity of the soil. If the soil is dry, water the plant until the surface of the soil is moisturized and the water runs through the drainage hole of the plant. The excess water in the tray should be discarded so that the surface of the plant does not remain in constant touch with water. During the flowering period of the plant, you must make sure that the plant is watered well.
During spring and fall season, Christmas cactus flowers should receive the right amount of a houseplant fertilizer that has balanced nutrients. The fertilizer should be given monthly so that the plant flowers beautifully. In late spring, the plants should be pruned. This will lead to more flowers and will encourage branching. All you need to do is to cut off a few sections from the stems. From the wound, the plant will branch. Also, do not throw away the stems that you cut off from the plant. Instead, put each individual piece in small containing potting soil. These tiny stems will become new plants after a few weeks! So, you get beautiful Christmas presents for your friends and family without any cost!
Early to mid-winter is the period during which the Christmas cactus flowers bloom. If your Christmas cactus flowers are not blooming during this period, then the plant might be receiving too much light or too high temperatures. You may need to move your cactus to an area where natural light cycle is available. Also, cover the cactus is you think it is receiving too much light. If you expose the plant to right light and temperature, then you will seen the budding very soon. If you Christmas cactus flowers do not bloom adequately during one holiday season, the you must not worry. With right care, your Christmas cactus flowers will bloom best in next holiday season!