Christmas Cactus Plants

Christmas Cactus

Zone 77381 | Anonymous added on August 31, 2018 | Answered

I'm sorry to bother you, I've seen so many posts regarding care of my Christmas Cactus and I'm so confused. My mom gifted me her Christmas Cactus before she passed away. She told me it belonged to her mom. So, there is son pressure for me to keep it alive. It looks awful and I'm not sure I can save it. It was a huge plant until I had it shipped from Connecticut to Houston. The person that packed it assured me he's done it before, but packed it upside down in the box that was labeled this side up. I'm sure it was traumatized. I read how to take care of it and the first Christmas (November) it bloomed and I thought it would be ok. Well, now it doesn't look good at all. I have had advice from native Houstonians to put outside in the shade because it will thrive in the humid weather. I don't leave it out in the rain so overtime I bring it back inside it looks worse. Is it because of the air conditioner? I have been using a humidifier next to it, but it really looks bad. I think it was traumatized from the move, but I think there is someone else I am doing wrong and I don't know what it is.

    A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
    Answered on September 1, 2018

    I think the plant resents sudden changes so going from outside to in is quite a temperature shock. It is a tropical plant, not a true cactus; therefore it needs more water than a cactus. It is a forest plant in its native South America. It is not a plant for direct sunshine! Indirect light (ambient light) or light filtered through a tree are great. An east window is OK, too. Don't let it dry out as much as a cactus likes. On the other hand, too much water causes the roots to rot. If you have it in regular potting soil, be careful with watering. It is better to add coarse sand, perlite or blend cactus mix with regular potting mix. Your goal is a fast draining soil. What I see in the picture is soil that seems too dry. (Terra cotta pots result in faster moisture loss because they breathe.) Don't water on a schedule. Water when the soil is dry an inch or 2 down or when it looks limp or when it feels light when you pick it up. And it is OK to prune it if it feels lopsided. It is easy to root pruned stems in water. Fertilize during summer but not in winter.

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