Different phases of the Christmas cactus life cycle

Description of the Christmas Cactus

  • Common Name: Christmas Cactus and Santa Teresita
  • Scientific name: Schlumbergera X Buckleyi
  • Origin: Tropical areas of Brazil
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Location: Indoor
  • Flowering: Winter
  • Light: Lots of light, some direct sun
  • Minimum temperature: 3-6ºC
  • Ideal temperature: 16-21ºC
  • Irrigation: Moderate during the growing season

What Is the Life Cycle of a Christmas Cactus?

Christmas cacti are long-lived plants that can live as long as 20 to 30 years. They prefer temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.56 °C to 21.11 °C) during the day and between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit during nighttime hours.

 In the summer months, they should be kept outdoors in indirect sunlight, preferably under shade trees where they will receive plenty of moisture, while in winter months they should be moved to a bright window indoors. They should not be placed near radiators or other sources of heat, since this might burn their leaves.

How Long Does It Take for Christmas Cactus Buds to Bloom?

It’s likely that Christmas cactus plants will continue to receive cool, dark conditions for at least six weeks after they’ve been brought back inside. This is because it usually takes about eight weeks for buds to form on the plant, then another four weeks for the buds to open.

To encourage blooming, move your plant from a sunny window to an area that receives only indirect light or is completely dark for at least 12 hours each night (or 18 hours each night if temperatures are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Avoid placing the plant in an area with no light at all because this can cause the buds to drop off prematurely. The plant should also be kept on the dry side, as too much water can cause bud drop as well. A humidity level between 50 and 60 percent is ideal; if humidity levels are too low, try spraying your plant twice weekly.

How Do I Know If My Christmas Cactus Has Started to Form Buds?

Christmas cactus plants form buds on new growth so look for new shoots that are starting to grow. If your plant is kept in a warm environment with plenty of light it can sprout flowers within a few months of being planted! If your plant is kept in a cool place without any light it may take up to six months before you see any new growth begin to appear.

Will the Christmas Cactus Bloom Every Year or Only Once in Its Lifetime?

A Christmas cactus can only bloom once during its lifetime if it doesn’t receive the right amount of sunlight. When it’s exposed to 14 hours or less of sunlight each day, a Christmas cactus will produce buds that never bloom into flowers and will eventually die off. If provided with the proper amount of light—10 to 12 hours of sunlight each day—it can continually flower throughout the year and even into the next year’s Christmas season.

 Do Christmas Cactus Have a Dormant Period?

Christmas cactus requires a dormant season, just like any other flowering plant. It should be kept in a cool place that receives shady light. Christmas cactus is also known as holiday cactus since it blooms around the holiday season.

Like other flowering plants, the Christmas cactus needs to rest for about six weeks during its dormant season. For this reason, keep your plant in a cool place with very little light. This is also why it’s called a holiday cactus!

Christmas cactus should be kept in a cool place that receives very little light to stimulate flowering.

How Many Times a Year Does a Christmas Cactus Bloom?

Most holiday cacti are Thanksgiving cacti, which typically bloom from early fall through winter. Christmas cacti tend to bloom in mid-winter, while Easter cacti generally bloom from late winter to mid-spring. A Christmas cactus might bloom as many as three times in a single year.

What Color Is a True Christmas Cactus?

The True Christmas Cactus has a medium-high mature height and a medium-low width with rounded edges along the sides. With its bright green color, it carries its flowers downward.

How Big Does a Christmas Cactus Get?

6–12 in. tall

Do Christmas Cactus Have Thorns?

Christmas cactus plants do not have thorns

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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