Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus

Schlumberga x buckleyi


Native to tropical rainforests of Brazil

For beginners

General Care


Medium to bright filtered. Avoid direct sun, except during late fall and winter, as this will undermine bud development and scorch leaves. Avoid low light. 


18 - 24°C (spring-fall). Keep above 10°C. Give a rest 2 months prior to desired flowering period at 13°C (winter), but maintain bright light condition. Protect from hot or cold drafts. Give a rest for 2 months following flowering period at 13°C (winter), but maintain bright light condition.


Average to higher. For extra humidity: mist 1-2 weekly (avoiding flowers), place pot on moist pebbles in a tray, group with other plants, or, introduce a humidifier.


Every 1-2 weeks. Water plentifully (spring-summer) allowing thoroughly moist potting mix to dry partially until onset of buds. Water sparingly (fall-winter) at first sign of buds, allowing barely moist mix to dry almost fully. Give a brief rest after flowering (2-3 weeks) and allow barely moist mix to dry almost fully. Always check moisture level before watering. Aerate soil to improve its condition.


Every 2 weeks when actively growing (spring-summer). Stop at onset of buds. Resume 2-3 months following flowering. Use organic tomato-type fertilizer, according to packaging instructions.


Every 1-2 weeks, rotate plant to ensure even growth. Every 1-2 months, mist heavily to free accumulated dust and inspect plant for pests, when doing so. Trim unsightly or unruly segments with sterile shears. Support tall growth with ties and stakes.

Potting and Repotting

Mix of 3 parts soil-based to 1 part coarse sand or perlite. Every year (spring) move plant into a planter 1-2” larger (diameter and depth) until maximum convenient planter size reached (6-8” diameter). Then, repot in the same planter, using new potting mix, after cleaning planter and partially trimming back roots.

Special Points/Common Problems:

  • Wilting, puckering or soft segments may suggest under-watering, exposure to temperature fluctuations or insufficient light.
  • Wilting or yellowing leaves may suggest overwatering.
  • Red or pink-tinged leaves may suggest overexposure to or overly intense light.
  • May produce large white or pink flowers (winter).
  • Trim plant to desired shape after flowering. Place 3-6” segments in a cool, dark and dry spot until cut heals. Pot up segments, pressing into cactus soil and mist lightly and daily until roots establish (after 2-3 weeks). Treat as mature plants thereafter.
  • May flower twice sequentially each year.
  • Bud drop may suggest insufficient humidity, temperature fluctuations, or overwatering.
  • To encourage bud development, in October, place plant in cooler temperatures (10 - 15°C) and provide 12-14 hours of continuous and complete darkness every 24 hours, watering less frequently than normal, while exposing them to only 10 hours of medium light. At bud formation and flowering stage, gradually increase light exposure and temperature so as to return to original conditions and resume watering schedule. Flowering typically lasts for two weeks but may occur twice, sequentially.