Christmas Cactus is known to be one of the most unique options for the best potted cacti. Since they tend to cling to trees than growing in soil, they would ideally need a different type of potting. That is exactly why they would need a different type of care, even when they may not need different potting requirements.
A Christmas Cactus would ideally grow better and look great when grown in an unglazed terra cotta or clay pot. The material used for potting will also have a major impact when it comes to handling the Christmas Cactus plant. In sharp contrast to other members of Cactus family, the Christmas Cactus does not evolve from a dry, desert environment.
Schlumbergera – The Christmas Cactus House Plant
Yes, the actual name of Christmas Cactus plants is Schlumbergera. These plants are more commonly seen in the So uth Eastern parts of Brazil and some Northern areas. Christmas cactus is a house plant with beautiful pinkish and reddish flowers that freshen up your mood. You must be wondering why its name is Christmas Cactus?
Because it is known for its flowering season. So in the Northern Hemisphere, this plant is called Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, or holiday cactus. These plants like a humid climate and cool shades. Flowers of this plant have a cross-pollination process. Well, that’s enough for the introduction. Now let us discuss the best pot for Christmas cactus.
The Christmas Cactus is completely different from its other siblings from the cactus family. It does not generally need a dry dessert like environment. It has more of its habits as a tree or plant in the tropical rain forests. It has roots that emulate the rain forest and that is one of the factors that one needs to consider when it comes to growing it as a houseplant.
While you have several ways that you would want to make the Christmas cactus great, but the prime factor that one needs to pay a special attention is to ensure that you have chosen the right type of pot for the purpose.
Factors That Affect The Choice of Pot For Christmas Cactus
Right potting of the plant is the one-half success of growing Christmas cactus fine. The ideal pot for a Christmas cactus is one that has proper drainage holes to dry out the soil. Plus, the material of which the pot is made up, must be porous. You may find ample options in the market. It is better to prefer something organic. Set your priority and factors which you would consider before making a final decision.
Place Where You Keep The Plant
Christmas cactus can be placed indoors as well as outdoors. If the plant is placed outdoors, then it should be under a shade to escape from direct sunlight. If it is indoors, make sure it receives proper sunlight to grow. The condition is the same for both indoor and outdoor locations, and the Sunlight must be indirect.
Direct Sunlight may burn the foliage and flowers of plants. If you are keeping the plant near the windows, make sure it is either facing East or North direction. The temperature must be between 19° to 22°C in the daytime; the same can go down to 15°C at night. A humid environment is favorable for such plants. During the summer season, try to place this plant under shades only unless the temperature goes below 10°C which is difficult on summer days.
If the roots of the Christmas cactus plant become waterlogged, its growth will be hampered. This plant requires a proper drainage system, hence it has to be made sure that there must be at least one drainage hole in the pot. For cleanliness, you may place a tray beneath the pot else the excess water may run out on the floor. It will be a mess if you have kept the plant indoors.
Watering Christmas cactus once a week is enough, or if one-third of the top layer of soil is getting dry, you may water the plant. Make sure that the excess water collected in the tray must be removed to escape from the root waterlog.
Size of The Pot
Whether a large pot for Christmas cactus is suitable or small or something in between is an important point for discussion. We have discussed with so many experienced and expert gardeners and conclude that a large pot for Christmas cactus slows down its growth. Christmas cactus grows well in crowded roots. Also, the pot size should not be too small so that the roots become overcrowded. Because when the roots become overcrowded, they will not be able to get sufficient nutrients to blossom. So, the suitable size for a Christmas cactus pot is 1+ than its actual size.
Best Pots for Christmas Cactus
There are several types of pots available in the market. If you are not a pro planter, you will be confused among so many options. This guide will help you in finding the best pot for Christmas cactus this festive season. We have made a list of all pots available in different materials, and their pros and cons to understand and make the right choice of pot.
Clay pot for Christmas cactus is considered better than others because clay is porous and quickly drains the soil. It also keeps the air circulation flowing well. Clay pots allow you to check the soil moisture easily because the walls of the pot become moisturized and its color becomes dark due to excessive water into it. This is why it is a kinda self-watering pot for Christmas cactus. Plus, they are cheap and easily available. Cleaning such pots is equally facile.
If you calculate the disadvantages, clay pots are not durable and flimsy too. Especially during the winter season, such pots become rigid and are prone to crack easily. They can break in a moment if they fall. During summer days, clay pots drain the water faster than any other type of pot. Clay pots are the most suitable option for humid areas.
These days, Ceramic pots are trending among houseplant keepers. Its glazing appearance makes it a perfect natural decorative plant that can be kept inside or outside the home. However, when it comes to the Christmas cactus, you have to rule out the option of a ceramic pot because it is not porous. Christmas cactus needs enough oxygen from its surroundings and this is only possible through the porous skin of the pot.
Even when it may be quite tempting to grow the Christmas cactus in a wonderfully glazeed ceramic pot, it may be important to know that using the Un-glazed Ceramic Pots can be the best way to grow it. Christmas cactus sources its oxygen supply from the air in the surroundings and that is why it is important to have an unglazed pot. A glazed pot is not porous and can hinder the cactus from getting its share of oxygen.
You can use a hanging pot too for Christmas cactus because this plant has a trailing system that makes them suitable for a hanging pot. Its weeping trails from the hanging pot look like a flower bouquet. However, make sure you do not hang them near the South facing or West facing window, otherwise, the plant will be Sunburned.
Here it is important to note that this plant performs well when bright indirect Sunlight is received. There are high chances that under direct sunlight, the leaves and flowers of this charming plant will burn. Hence always try to keep it in the East or North facing an open area.
Plastic pots are widely used for planting succulent house plants. They are cheap, easily available, and can be reused. The market out there is full of a variety of Plastic pots in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Since clay pots are easily breakable, plastic pots are taken as a good alternative to clay pots. For decorative purposes also, plastic pots are a good choice. However, make sure it has a proper drainage system. Generally, plastic pots are inferior when it comes to soil drainage. Also, these pots cannot be kept outdoors because exposure to sunlight may break the pot and fade its color.
If kept outside and in outdoor areas, such plants have learned to resist the cold temperature. Also, it can store water for a long time. And it is widely preferred for its aesthetics. It can easily get matched with the other wooden furniture in your house. You can carve any type of design or colors on the wood that add up to the beauty of the plant.
However, wooden pots are likely to rot easily. If rotten, they adversely affect the health of the Christmas cactus. To prevent this, a plastic bag can be kept inside it. But this will on the other hand impact the drainage ability of the wooden pot. For this, making some holes in the plastic bag may help.
Cement or concrete pots are best when Christmas cacti are kept outdoors because they are robust and withstand all types of weather conditions. They are best for public places like outside public offices, parks, and gardens. Since you can give concrete any shape and paint any color, it adds value to aesthetics. The best part is, that concrete or cement is a porous material that allows the in and out the activity of water and air without any problem. These concrete pots also prevent root rot. But there is a catch, that the lime produced in concrete reduces the level of water pH. This might impact the growth of the plant. The best thing you can do in this regard is, to water the plant to drain the excess lime.
Fiberglass pots are preferred by a lot of pro planters because of the huge variety available in various colors, shapes, and sizes. These pots are usually colored to look like clay pots or wooden pots. Unlike plastic and clay pots, fiberglass material is quite durable and withstands all seasons. This keeps the growth of the plant unaffected by the outside temperature. Plus, these pots are durable. But the biggest catch is the ‘Zero’ drainage facility in such pots. To find an escape route for water, you may have to drill holes into it.
How To Grow A Bigger Christmas Cactus?
The best way to grow a longer and bigger Christmas Cactus is to repot it every four years. Make sure that you have increased the pot size by two inches each time you repot your cactus. If you find your Christmas Cactus growing too slow, you can consider potting in a small pot so that it is stimulated to grow faster. You can even consider changing the potting mix.
The right amount of water, the right amount of sunlight, and the right temperature are what a plant needs to grow. And when it comes to succulent-type plants, the requirements are even lesser. We have watched hundreds of YouTube videos, talked with expert gardeners, and experienced growing the Christmas cactus itself. Our experience with the Christmas cactus has shown us that it is a wiser idea to repot your plant every four years acts as a better stimulant to grow them bigger.
Here we are summarizing our observations and learning on how to grow a bigger Christmas Cactus include
- Do not water the plants frequently. Succulents need a lesser amount of water. A Christmas cactus can be watered once in a week or two.
- When you see the top layer of the soil get dry, water it immediately. You may use your fingers to check the dryness level.
- Use a pot that has a drainage hole below the pot instead of on the sides.
- When the plant starts blooming, increase the frequency of watering. Generally, Christmas cactus blooms between early winter to mid-winter.
- During the spring season, feed the plant with a healthy houseplant fertilizer.
- Prune the dead foliage for better blooming and branching of the plant as frequently as you can
- Avoid keeping the plant in direct sunlight.
- Try to provide the right temperature for the plant to grow bigger.
Repotting Christmas Cactus
When reporting Christmas Cactus, make sure that you are providing enough substrate every year. Movve to the next size of the pot only when the roots fill the pot. Ensure that you have removed enough soil from the roots before changing it onto the next pot. Add sand to the potting mix to help avoid the waterlogging issues.
Christmas cactus is a lovely, attractive, and long-lasting succulent plant that needs repotting over a period. Repotting is also required when the pot runs small in size or it looks old. Well, whatever the reason, here we are guiding everything about repotting Christmas Cactus.
Best Time For Repotting
The best time for repotting the Christmas cactus is when it fully blooms. Usually, the right time is the beginning of the spring season. The plant budding process starts around the season in September or October, so it will be a good idea to re-pot it somewhere in August. So that the process starts immediately after the Re-potting process completes.
Right Soil Mix For Repotting
For faster and healthy growth, you need the best potting soil for Christmas cactus. The soil mix which is suitable for most of the succulent plants is also suitable for Christmas cactus plants. The most important thing to consider while you choose soil for this plant, your potting soil drains well.
The ultimate mix of soil for this plant contains organic matter like peat, decomposed compost, some coarse sand, and some gravel. This mixture provides perfect drainage and aeration.
Christmas cactus is a beautiful succulent plant that is ideal for keeping inside ha come on lawns, balconies, open terraces, and in the living area of the house. Being succulent, such plants are less demanding. They just need the proper care and attention to bloom and grow. Indirect sunlight, weekly watering, right soil mix, suitable pot with drainage, and healthy fertilizer are the few things it needs. We have given some tips for the care and growth of this plant and recommended the best pot for Christmas cactus along with other available alternatives. Hopefully, after reading this, you would be able to better develop your loving Christmas cactus.
Which Compost Is Best For Christmas Cactus?
The standard cactus compost is suitable for the Christmas cactus plants. You can also use organic decomposed peat as compost for such plants. Usually, these types of plants do not require compost, unless necessary. You can also use garden loam for this purpose.
Can You Plant Multiple Christmas Cactus Together?
Christmas cactus is a low-maintenance plant that is prone to some diseases. Yes, multiple plants can be pot together provided neither of them suffers from any peat infection or disease. Also, the growth of the plant should not be affected. The choice of the pot must be done keeping this fact in mind.
Is Hanging Pot Good For Christmas Cactus?
You can use a hanging pot too for Christmas cactus because this plant has a trailing system that makes them suitable. for a hanging pot. Its weeping trails from the hanging pot look like a flower bouquet. However, make sure you do not hang them near the South facing or West facing window, otherwise, the plant will be Sunburned.
Why is My Christmas Cactus Not Growing?
There could be several reasons behind your Christmas cactus not growing. You might not be watering it regularly, the soil is not in the right mix, the pot is too small to accommodate the roots of the plant or the availability of Sunlight is insufficient or excessive. Take care of all these factors if your Christmas cactus not growing well. You may also make use of compost and fertilizers to stimulate growth.