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Christmas Cactus Plants

Q.Can I “Fill in” A Christmas Cactus?

Zone Chicago, IL | kandrson added on August 30, 2011 | Answered

Can I “fill in” a Christmas cactus? If so, how? I have a Christmas cactus that I have kept alive for about four years (a major gardening feat for me). Not long after I got it, parts died off and I was left with two branches in opposite direction. Two years ago I did a cross country move with my cactus and it finally seems to be in a good place again – new growth on the leaves, new leaves coming out. I was looking at it the other day and started to wonder if I could, for lack of a better word, co-plant it with another Christmas cactus to fill in the middle section. I even thought about propagating some of the current plant and using that. Any thoughts or am I just nuts?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 3, 2011

Both are a good idea, but I think the propagation will give you the most bang for the buck, so to speak, in terms of what you are looking to accomplish.

If you use cutting from the plant to fill in the empty spots, you will accomplish 3 things. First, you will get more plants (which you knew) but, second, by taking those cuttings, you will be encouraging the mother plant to branch out more. This results in the mother plant becoming a fuller looking plant.

Beyond this, taking cuttings is less stressful to a plant than repotting a plant so you will be less likely to inadvertently kill the plant.

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