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Christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves: why and what to do

Christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves: why and what to do

The Christmas cacti, scientific name Schlumbergera, They are a genus of succulent plants of the cacti family, very popular in interior decoration due to their characteristic flowering, which occurs in the cold months, hence their name.

This plant also receives the names of Santa Teresita cactus, Santa Teresa feathers or Easter cactus. Its care is not difficult, but if your Christmas cactus does not seem healthy and its leaves are wrinkled, at EcologíaVerde we tell you the possible causes of your having a christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves and what to do to help keep it healthier so it continues to grow and flourish well.

Lack or excess of watering

Like all succulents, the Christmas cactus accumulates water in its structure. This type of plant in particular accumulates water in its stems, so when we talk about the leaves of the Christmas cactus are wrinkledwe are actually referring to its stems that look like this.

The most common thing when this happens, and we see that the stems seem to deflate and wrinkle, or simply become limp in the first stages of the plant’s discomfort, is because the plant has lost or consumed a good part of the accumulated water, which It gives that unhealthy look.

East miswatering the Christmas cactus It can be either excess or deficiency. when it comes to that the cactus is dehydrated, the leaves wrinkle because the plant does not have enough water to store in its reserves and, being forced to consume it, its stems shrink. Do not forget that although the Christmas cactus is a cactus and is adapted to drought conditions, it still needs a certain amount of water.

It can also happen that the leaves are wrinkled by a too frequent watering or in excessive quantity. Most cacti and succulents have roots that do not tolerate excess moisture. This causes its roots to rot and, at first glance, it may seem that the plant needs just the opposite: more water. Take a good look at their stems and if the tips of the leaves appear to be blackening or rotting: this is the sign that you are overwatering your Christmas cactus. If, in addition, the soil seems wet to the touch, you can be sure that is the reason.

We recommend you also read this other post about When to water the plants.

Christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves: why and what to do - Lack or excess watering

Too much sun

Not all cacti are prepared to withstand the direct sunlight of a hot climate. For example, the sun in some hot countries, especially in the summer months, can cause shriveled leaves on a Christmas cactus. A too much high intensity sunlight will cause the cactus to lose water despite its retention mechanisms. If you get dehydrated, their stems will shrivel and dryespecially if the plant does not receive enough water.

Christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves: why and what to do - Too much sun

plant age

Plants age like other living things. Christmas cacti also notice the passage of time, and its older stems and leaves will shrivel over time even if the plant is in good health.

Therefore, if you know that your plant is already many years old, do not be surprised to see some wrinkled or somewhat wilted parts. On the other hand, if you see that it is a large part of the plant, pay attention to the rest of the possible causes of this problem, since, leaving aside age, the rest of the problems that we are discussing here can also affect it.

Unsuitable fertilizers or water

Lastly, a use of unsuitable fertilizers or of water with too many additives can also cause this effect in the stems or leaves of this plant. The salts of some fertilizers rich in these or those that the tap water itself contains in some places can be the cause.

We recommend you read this article about What are fertilizers and their types.

Christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves: why and what to do - Inadequate fertilizers or water

What to do if my Christmas cactus has wrinkled leaves

we tell you what to do if your christmas cactus has wrinkled leaves depending on the cause:

  • If it is an excess of irrigation, simply let the substrate of your Christmas cactus dry completely before watering again, while if it is a lack of irrigation, gradually increase the water that you contribute to the plant, always being careful not to overdo it or flood it.
  • In the case of heatstroke, move your Christmas cactus to a lighted location but protected from direct sunlight, at least during midday hours.
  • If your plant is a certain age, remove its stems and leaves once they have dried completely and see if it puts out new shoots: if it does, everything is fine.
  • Finally, in the case of fertilizers, do not use fertilizers rich in sodium and, if possible, use specific ones for cacti. For watering, use rainwater or low-sodium water, and if you don’t have access to it, let it sit for at least 24 hours before watering with it.

Christmas cactus care

These are the basic christmas cactus care or Easter cactus:

  • Irrigation: abundant in growing season, scarce after flowering. Pot with drainage holes.
  • Light: needs a lot. It can be direct in mild climates.
  • Location: put in a cool place after flowering and reduce risks to let the plant rest. In summer, semi-shade. Keep it covered from drafts.
  • Substratum: special for succulents, very loose, light and with good drainage.
  • Fertilizer: Specific to cacti and succulents.

However, if you want to learn more, here we show you a video with a guide on care, which you can also consult in this written guide on How to care for a Christmas cactus, and we also recommend you read about How to reproduce the Christmas cactus.

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