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Christmas Cactus

Tips to help you keep your Christmas Cactus looking it's best.

Nashville, Ark. – A Christmas cactus would make a great gift for the gardener in your family. These plants produce flowers on the end of long arching stems. If you decide that this is what your gardener needs, you should send some tips along with it to help keep the plant looking it’s best.

Temperature for growing your cactus

Most blooming Christmas cacti will keep their blossoms longer in cooler temperatures. If you plan on keeping a Christmas cactus outdoors, it will tolerate night temperatures down in the 40s, but if the temperatures begin to dip any lower, it will need to be brought inside. While inside, the cactus needs a space with temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees.

Watering your cactus

Most problems with Christmas cacti come from watering. Christmas cactus is a succulent and can store some water in its leaves. You should water this plant thoroughly but let the soil dry between waterings. Discard any excess water afterward to prevent it from wicking back into the pot. Christmas cacti do not tolerate a wet root environment which is an open invitation to root rot. The length of time between watering varies depending on air temperature, amount of light, rate of growth, and relative humidity.

After the blossoms fade

After the holidays and the blossoms fade, the Christmas cactus isn’t much to look at, but with little extra care, it will be back to full bloom next year. Keep these plants in a sunny location indoors. They can be moved outside during the summer, but they should be kept in a shady or semi-shady location. The leaves can burn from too much direct sunlight. When the time comes to bring them back inside in the fall, slowly adjust them to the indoors by gradually increasing the number of hours they spend inside each day.

Pruning your cactus

If you want to prune your cactus you should do so after blooming. This will encourage the plant to branch out. To prune it, remove a few sections of each stem by pinching them off or cutting them off with a sharp knife. You can propagate new plants with these sections by rooting them in moist vermiculite.

For more information, you can contact the Howard County Extension office at 870-845-7517 or find helpful fact sheets on our website at  The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

By Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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