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Christmas Cactus

(December 2011)

QuestionEight years ago my daughter gave me a Christmas cactus. Each summer, I move it outside to filtered sunlight and it has done great. This August it started dropping leaves. Sections about five leaves in length will fall off. I dip them in rooting hormone and they are rooting, which is confusing. I re-potted it in September and moved it indoors in October when the temperature dropped and it had set flower buds. It has bloomed beautifully but the leaves continue to drop. There is no sign of insects that would be cutting the leaves. Do you have any idea what is wrong with it?


AnswerChristmas or Thanksgiving cactus plants don't tolerate stress well. If they get too dry or too wet they can drop leaves. Major changes in conditions will also cause them to drop leaves and or flower buds. The intense heat this summer also took its toll. Since the plant did bloom and didn't drop all the flower buds, you are probably in good shape. Keep it in a sunny room with cool temperatures. Water about every two weeks and get it through the winter. Then next spring, move it outdoors and hopefully it will rebound.


(September 2010)

QuestionCan you tell me how to revive a Christmas cactus that has been neglected and shriveled up? I have tried soaking it in water, but nothing seems to help.


Answert may be time to buy a new cactus. Even cactus can get so dry that they can't come back. If it is totally dried up, toss it and buy a new one.


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