How to Get a Christmas Cactus to Bloom

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how to get christmas cactus to bloom

Christmas Cactus plants are one of my favorite types of succulents, it is a lovely flowering cactus that is actually originates from the forest, not the desert (despite its name)! If you have ever seen one in bloom, then you will understand why it is one of the most popular types of succulent.

But actually getting it to bloom when you want it to can be quite the task, that is unless you know the three simple steps to follow to get your Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) to bloom.

The 3 Steps To Get Your Christmas Cactus To Bloom

We all have those occasions where we want our garden to look its best, for all the feature plants to be in bloom and for everything to look nice and healthy.

Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can follow to get your Christmas Cactus to bloom when it suits you. You just need to create the right environment for the Christmas Cactus to get those flowers out in the open.

how to get a christmas cactus to bloom

View the infographic below or choose from the contents to jump to more detail.

Step 1 – Reduce/Limit Watering

christmas cactus watering

The first thing you need to do is reduce the amount of water you are giving your Christmas Cactus.

Wait until the top inch of soil around the succulent is dry before watering it, and then you only want to give it enough water to get the soil slightly damp.

Step 2 – Reduce Light Received

Now we all know that plants like light, well not really in this case. To get the Christmas Cactus to bloom you need to place it in darkness for 12-14 hours a day (overnight), and when I say darkness…I do mean dark – as little indirect light as possible is best.

For the rest of the day it is OK to place the plant in bright, indirect light.

This practice encourages bud development and is probably the most important step.

Step 3 – Reduce Environment Temperature

The third step is to keep the Christmas Cactus cool, you want the temperature to average out to about 50-55 degrees F across the day.

So make sure the location where you are keeping your plant is within this temperature range.

You will want to keep this up until buds have formed on your plant.

How Long Does It Take A Christmas Cactus To Bloom?

Using the method listed above it should take your Christmas Cactus about 6-8 weeks for buds to form, after the buds are formed it can take another 4 weeks for them to bloom into flowers.

How To Care For a Christmas Cactus In Bloom

Once the buds have formed you will need to move it to a draft-free area with indirect sunlight.

Drafts can cause the buds to fall off, and direct sunlight can cause your plant to look sad and droopy!

You can also now increase the water the plant receives again, just be sure to adjust your watering depending on the local environment and by following general succulent care guidelines.

Enjoy Your Christmas Cactus

So there you go! It really is not that hard hey? It just take a little time and some love and care.

So go ahead and try it on your plant the next time you have a special occasion.

Oh and a final hint, if you actually want your Christmas Cactus to flower for Christmas….you will want to start in early October 😉

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Photo of author
Aaron Green
Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

2 thoughts on “How to Get a Christmas Cactus to Bloom”

  1. Avatar photo

    I have a Christmas cactus. It’s not big three arms about 5 in. Tall in a 6″ wide pot. I’ve had it for 7 years. It’s bloomed every year but last Christmas. It’s in my kitchen window ledge, it faces south. I live in Indiana. Beginning of November the buds start to show at the tips of each leaf. By the beginning of December the buds start to open and by Christmas Day they are all open. I think it’s great. Last Christmas one small bud was on a leaf but Never got big or open. What do you think happened?

  2. Avatar photo

    If you live in a warm climate that is not 50-55 degrees consistently, how do you get the Christmas cactus to bloom at Christmas time? I live in Florida. Any tips? I assume the refrigerator would be too cold? Our daytime temps right now are 70’s and 80’s.

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