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Christmas Cactus

Question:

Hello, I have two Christmas cactus and they are currently producing flower buds. If I recall correctly, these are supposed to be holiday blooming plants that bloom around Christmas. Is this normal for my plants to be blooming now? Is there anything I need to do?

Answer:

Normally, greenhouse growers time their Holiday Cacti to come into bloom anytime from Thanksgiving until Christmas. There are also some varieties that come into bloom closer to Easter. That is why I refer to them as Holiday Cacti.

The conditions that determine bloom time are cool temperatures and 12 hours of total darkness each day for about 8 weeks prior to bud set. To the degree you can manipulate these factors, you can control the timing of the flowers. I recommend keeping holiday Cacti outside in the fall away from indoor lighting and in temperatures that drop close to freezing. That is usually sufficient to set buds in time for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.

When left to their own devices these plants can bloom at almost anytime and that is what has happened with yours. It is not a cause for concern. Once buds form, it is important to disturb the plant as little as possible. That means no repotting or fertilizing and do not relocate it or even rotate it in place. Just continue to water it, but otherwise leave it alone until the first buds start to open. Then, the plant can be moved to a location where you can best enjoy the flower show.