The Christmas cactus, also commonly called christmas cactiSanta Teresa feathers, Santa Teresita feathers, winter cactus, Easter cactus or Christmas prickly pear, as well as scientifically Schlumbergerais a very popular plant in the winter months, since it begins to bloom in that season of the year and since it is Christmas time when the Christmas cacti bloom in greater quantity, they are mostly called by this common name.
If you want to know more about this popular and cheerful plant on these low-temperature dates, take good note of the care it needs to enjoy it at its best, because in this gardening guide from EcologíaVerde we tell you how to care for a christmas cactus.
Christmas cactus care guide
It is a plant that belongs to the cacti family and is native to Central and South America. What most attracts the attention of the call winter cacti or Easter are its colorful and impressive flowers. That’s right, although it has more different aspects than most cacti, what differentiates it most from others are its flowers because they are shaped like feathers, hence its common name of Santa Teresa feathers, and because they are more precocious, that is, They flower earlier than most species. The flowers are pink, red, white, orange or yellow and measure between 3 and 5 centimeters in diameter. It is one of the most durable cacti, since in a pot it has a life of between 3 and 10 years. Its cultivation is very simple, although it has against it that some of its segments can be damaged for no apparent reason, so you have to pay attention to its care.
This is a short guide, by way of summary, on how to care for and grow a christmas cactus:
- Lightning: Should we put the Christmas cactus indoors or outdoors? They need to be in a spot where they get partial shade, so a window is the best option. Thanks to this, it can be indoors all year round, and if you put it outdoors in summer, it has to be avoiding direct sunlight.
- Temperature: it needs temperatures that oscillate between 15 and 22 ºC.
- Humidity: the environmental humidity must be at least 50%, something that you can achieve by vaporizing the leaves every 2-3 days when the environment is dry.
- Substrate for the Christmas cactus: the best to develop properly is the one that is rich in nutrients and very well drained. Put a mixture of peat mulch or heather soil.
- Irrigation: in summer it should be abundant, and you should let the substrate dry out completely every two waterings, while in winter it should be more evenly distributed, allowing it to dry out after every watering. Do not water the flowers directly and use soft water that does not have lime, such as rainwater or bottled water.
- Pass: apply it in spring and summer, adding liquid fertilizer to the irrigation of the Christmas cactus once a month.
- pests: the cochineal plague is the one that can affect the most, so you have to watch out for it.
- Transplant: you should do it in spring and every two years, always using a larger pot so that in those two more years it can grow without problems.
- Multiplication: It must be done by stem cuttings or by seeds, always in a sandy substrate. Here we explain how to reproduce a Christmas cactus.
Next, we explain some of these aspects about the christmas cactus care more details.
Ideal temperature for Christmas cactus
The christmas cacti It is a plant native to tropical areas, the ideal temperature for it is 15 to 22 degrees. However, it is a type of plant that withstands cold and low temperatures quite well. In spite of this and to prevent it from suffering any type of damage in its development, it is not advisable to leave it exposed to temperatures that are too low.
Light for the Christmas cactus
This is another one of those christmas cactus care more important. This needs the external light to live, so it is ideal to have it in a place well lit. However, despite being a type of cactus, excess sun can cause serious damage to its growth and flowering itself.
Therefore, if you have a Christmas cactus indoors, place it near a window but not too close to it, but if you have it outdoors, place it in a semi-shaded place.
Christmas cactus watering frequency
When it comes to watering the Christmas cactus, many people mistakenly think that it can survive with very little water. Watering should be done in a moderate way and you should not exceed it either. During the summer it is advisable to water the plant every 2 or 3 days a week, while in the spring and autumn watering should be done every two weeks about.
Transplant a Christmas cactus
If you decide to transplant the christmas cactus It is advisable to do it during spring months and every two years. To make the corresponding cutting, it is important to use a larger and wider pot so that the cactus can grow without major problems.
About what land does the christmas cactus need, we can say that the most suitable is one that drains very well, since it needs water but it is not good for it to get waterlogged, because having fleshy leaves it rots easily if it retains too much water. Therefore, opt for a substrate for cacti and succulents.
Fertilizer for the Santa Teresa feather plant
As we said before, the Christmas cactus needs good drainage to be able to grow perfectly. In addition to this, it needs a lot of organic matter to achieve a truly spectacular flowering during the winter months. When it comes to getting the ideal fertilizer for this plant, you can go to a specialized store that allows the cactus to develop and grow perfectly. Another option is to do homemade ecological fertilizerin this other post we tell you how to make homemade organic fertilizer for plants.
Other tips for caring for a Christmas cactus
These are others tips to care for the Christmas cactus, Christmas cactus or Santa Teresa feathers successfully:
- at the time of apply nutrients to the soilavoid overdoing them as they can cause the expected flowering to be delayed.
- Another piece of advice to bear in mind is to avoid draftssince they are quite harmful to the plant and can have a negative impact on its development.
- As for the subject of pests and diseasesthe cactus can be damaged by aphids and mealybugs, which you can eliminate with a mixture made from soap and water.
- One of the great points in favor of the Christmas cactus is that it does not require very demanding care, so anyone who has no gardening notions can enjoy this typical plant at Christmas time.
- Remember that despite its name, it is a type of plant that you can have in perfect condition during all months of the year.
If you take into account all these easy and simple care, you can have a winter or Christmas cactus in perfect condition and enjoy truly wonderful and unique flowers that will give life to your entire house. Thus, in the event that you are thinking of acquiring a plant for these winter months, the Christmas cactus is an excellent choice.
Now that you have learned about the care of the Christmas cactus, we encourage you to watch this video on this topic and, in addition, to deepen your knowledge about this beautiful plant and learn about Why my Christmas cactus has wrinkled leaves and what I do with this other article, because this is one of the most common Christmas cactus problems.
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