Problems with Christmas Cactus after Moving
We recently moved from a dark apartment in Oregon to a very sunny house in Florida. The Christmas Cactus was in a moving Pod for over two weeks, the only way we could transport it. It was that or leave it behind. It was completely dry and wilted by the time I got it out of the Pod. In Oregon, it never bloomed because of the lack of light. I kept a grow light on it and it did very well, except for not blooming. When it got to Florida, I gave it a good drink of distilled water and put it in a west window with dappled sun all day. I was told that the chlorine in the water here is more than usual and that it killed one of my son\'s plants. One day I forgot about the water and accidentally watered it with tap water. I immediately \"flushed\" it with distilled water. Since then, I\'ve been watering it with tap water that sits out for 24 hours, hoping to evaporate most of the chlorine, as someone suggested to me. This cactus is over 25 years old and has never had any of these problems before. It now has spots that are turning soft and pale, then to brittle brown. It also has something that looks like blisters on some leaves and it drops leaves every day. This poor plant has been tipped onto the floor no less than 4 times in its life, has been over-watered, under- watered, been in hot sun and no sun, and has survived everything. I\'m at a loss with this new problem. I really appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Unfortunately, I believe the overwatering has caught up to it. Infections can lay dormant for the right moment to take over. A dark period for that long is the perfect opportunity.
This article will help you with fungicide use: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/info/using-fungicides-in-garden.htm
Now, let's address flowering.
These are photoperiodic. This means that they require precise changes in duration of light hours (Really it is the dark hours that counts, but it is easier to explain in terms of light hours.) They also require changes in temperature (a DROP in temperature not under 50 degrees.) and drop in watering and humidity.
Unless all of these conditions are met, they will not flower.
you can force them, though. This requires putting it into 12 hours of pure darkness per day. That means 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of dark. During this flowering period, you will want to decrease watering and let the soil dry out a little between. After a few "seasons" of this, (you can make your own "seasons" last a few weeks each or a few months alternating between long days, and short days) then it will begin to set flowers.
They are also sensitive to direct sunlight. This is especially true when they are accustomed to dim light. You will have to expose them to more and more light slowly, until they are able to handle SOME direct light. Still, they will not tolerate direct sun outside at all.
This article will help you to care for these plants:https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/cacti-succulents/christmas-cactus/advice-for-christmas-cactus-care.htm
Thank you so very much for your helpful response. I appreciate it.