The name says it all: This cactus blooms in mid-to-late December when properly cared for, making it a popular holiday decoration. The tubular flowers dangle at the ends of the plant's flat, dark green stems, giving the Christmas cactus a graceful arching appearance. There are hundreds of cultivars available with flowers of lilac, deep rose, salmon, red-orange, or white.
To form flower buds, Christmas cactus needs a specific regimen of care. Put it outdoors in a shady spot during the summer. In the fall, when the temperature gets down to 45 degrees at night, bring the cactus indoors to a cool spot (about 55 degrees) and keep it in total darkness for 12-14 hours at night. Cut back on watering so the soil stays just slightly moist. Keep the plant cool and dry as buds form. Feed your Christmas cactus every 7-14 days with Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food at half strength from April until you take it indoors in the fall.
Christmas cactus does best in medium light during active growth and bright, indirect light in winter. Ideal temperatures during active growth and blooming are 70-80 degrees. Christmas cactus tolerates low humidity, but keep the soil slightly moist while it's blooming. Find a spot in the house where your plant won't be too close to the fireplace or heating ducts, and avoid cold drafts.
Christmas cactus does better if it is slightly pot-bound, so repot it only once every 3 years. Use a quality potting mix, such as Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix, that is rich and provides good drainage.
Your Christmas cactus may attract aphids or spider mites. If you find any on your plant, wash them off with the hose or spray them with an insecticidal soap.