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Butler County

Getting Holiday Cacti to Bloom

pink christmas cactus bloom

Holiday cacti are relatively easy to help rebloom every year and will often bloom twice a year if conditions are right. It’s time to provide your holiday cacti with a couple conditions to get beautiful blooms this winter.

Holiday cacti are short day plants and require long nights in order to bloom. Similar to a poinsettia, provide them with 13 hours of darkness over 6-8 weeks in order to get blooms to initiate. If you want your holiday cacti to bloom for Thanksgiving or Christmas start providing those hours of darkness in late September or early October to encourage blooms. Unlike poinsettias, there is another way to get holiday cacti to bloom. If holiday cacti have 6-8 weeks of cool night temperatures (55-65 degrees F) that will also encourage our cacti to initiate bloom buds. A cool garage, outside on a covered porch (be sure the temperatures don’t get too cold) or a basement can provide the needed temperatures to encourage bloom buds.

Once you have bloom buds initiated be careful not to “shock” your plants as cool drafts, getting too dry or too little humidity can cause the plant to drop their buds. The buds will last longer if kept in cooler temperatures; however, they will still provide a beautiful display under most home conditions.

These beautiful tropical cacti can be kept for decades, I have one in my home that is well over 100 years old right now, and provide a beautiful bloom display year after year. Once they are done blooming, treat them like a houseplant with bright indirect light and water when the top few inches of the soil dry out. Once our temperatures warm up in the spring, move the plants outside in an area that gets partial sun (3-6 hours of sunlight) and fertilize on a regular basis.

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Have questions? Contact our office where our Horticulture Extension Agent will assist you with questions.

Phone: (316) 321-9660

Email: callae@ksu.edu