Tips on How to Get a Christmas Cactus to Flower

How do I get my Christmas Cactus to flower?

Hi Tim,

Bright pink flowers on Christmas cactus

Christmas Cactus
Zygo Cactus Schlumbergera Bridgesii

A Christmas Cactus is a”thermo-photoperiodic” plant, that means it needs the right amount of light and darkness and the right temperature in order to bloom. Starting about 8-10 weeks before Christmas, a Christmas Cactus needs 12 hours a day of light and 12 hours a day of total darkness.

The correct temperature is important if you want a Christmas Cactus to produce flowers. To set flower buds, the plant needs cool temperatures of 60°-65°F (15.6°- 18.3°C) during the day and even cooler temperatures of 45°-55°F (7.2°-12.8°C) at night. Once buds have developed, a Christmas Cactus likes warm temperatures of 70°-75°F (21.1°-23.9°C) during the day and about 10° cooler at night. Cool temperatures between 65°-70°F (18.3°-21.1°) help Christmas Cactus flowers last longer.

Once buds have developed you can move your Christmas Cactus to a warm spot away from drafts; provide bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. but no direct sun. Cold drafts will cause the buds to drop off. It’s not necessary to feed a Christmas Cactus after October.

Christmas Cactus produce more flowers when they are kept root-bound in smaller containers with drip holes in the bottom.