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Christmas Cactus Plants

Q.How to correct wrinkling sections on a Christmas cactus?

Zone Fayetteville, AR 72701 | Anonymous added on February 8, 2020 | Answered

My Christmas cactus has started to wrinkle, drooping more, and small buds are starting to fall off, but it has been blooming. I recently moved it to an area where it will not get direct sun rays. I have no way to show an image, but my description should be enough.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 10, 2020

Drooping leaves and leaf scorch are symptoms of too much sun, so you did the right thing by moving it to a shadier location. Bud drop can be the result of recent stress on the plant or simply by moving it to a different environment.

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Answered on February 10, 2020

Christmas cactus is a delight when in bloom. I, too, have small flower buds fall off when the first round of bloom is over. This is common. These aren't true cacti and do need more water than succulents; however, they also need fast-draining, quick-drying soil. Many potting mixes stay damp too long and it may help to add a half cup of sand or perlite to the potting mix for a one gallon container. After flowering, the plant goes through a quasi-dormant stage in winter and requires a bit less water, no fertilizer and bright indirect sunlight. I'm in Michigan where the sun is weaker and skies are cloudy much of the winter; my holiday cactus tolerates direct sun this time of year. Repot your plant every 2-3 years; move it up just one container size. Depending on the humidity in your home, your plant probably needs watering less than weekly at this point. I use the eye and the "heft" test. Pick up the container after thoroughly watering. (water should come out the bottom: throw this water away) When it is time to water again, the plant will be very light in comparison. A pint of water is one pound. Or wiggle a finger down 1.5 inches. If it is dry at that depth then water. You may catch a subtle change in the distal leaves when water is due. I may be fooling myself but I like to think that I can see when it is time for the heft test.

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