Helping Christmas Cactus to bloom longer?

WhtRos(USDA z5a IL)November 20, 2007

I have the common Christmas Cactus that are on sale everywhere right now. I put it outside in the summer and bring it inside when the temps drop in the fall. It blooms beautifully!! I just love it. I've heard of people keeping their CC blooming most of the winter. Do any of you know how to keep it blooming longer than 3 or 4 weeks?

Thanx, Barbara.

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Mentha(9 CA)

If you keep them on the cool side they will bloom longer than while in a heated house. I usually don't heat my house until after the first of the year and my schlums, when they bloom love it. Unfortunately, this year none are blooming.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 12:30PM
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Whit, stop watering your Christmas Cactus...and withdraw it from as much sun as you are giving it.
Both, will slow down the C.C. from blooming as much.

By reducing the amount of water, the plant will not put out as much....the blooms will be not able to take in as much.
If you can give it more cooling temperature, that too will slow it down. ....Hence the reason why it doesn't bloom outside at the approach of lower temperatures....but begins in earnest when you bring it indoors.

Not just Christmas Cactus can act this way....many ..most, I'd say, react the same way.

But, some growers wish their plants to give all their beauty it can in one big flush.
Now having given all they can at this time, most will re-bloom later....round about Easter.

Its only when the plant is actively growing is it given lots of water and fed fertilizer.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 3:51PM
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Jeannie, I've tried exactly as you described and still my CC flowers are opening..Living in IL, the temps are usually quite cold this time of year, but it's been near/in the 60', I set them back outside..There's not much sun to's been black day and night, the last 5 days. When I bring inside, they're placed in an unheated room, on the floor, several feet from the windows..
The last few yrs, I noticed after the first flush of flowers fade, a second and even third flush come late as March..
It seems like plants we buy as Christmas Cactus, bloom more around Thankgiving, but can continue blooming well into December and longer.
I agree keeping soil on the dry side and cool temps will keep flowers going though...Toni

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 6:18PM
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coey(WA z8)

Now, of course, I can't find it but I read that the plants we see these days in the store are actually Thanksgiving cacti. One way to tell is that T-giving cacti have points on the 'leaves' and Christmas cacti 'leaves' are more rounded. Then there's the Easter cacti....and if I could find the darn link I could tell you about that one too. I think its flower points up.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 7:39PM
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saucer(10 SF Bay Area)

Coey, now that you mention it I suspect that my CC is also a T-giving cactus. It was given to me, already in bud some 2-3 weeks ago. It's blooming right now and looks great. I have it outside my front door in a bright, filtered light. I am kind of worried though, because it had been watered right before I got it and the soil is still very moist. Even now, when I put my moisture meter into the soil the needle goes off the scale. I'm not sure how to get it to dry out a bit, short of putting it in direct sun. That's probably not a good idea either, since half the leaves on the plant are red from already getting too much sun in it's previous owner's home.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 11:37PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

Wait until it's done blooming then get it out of that peat. Most schlums are packaged in straight peat and if it is staying moist all this time, that is what it's in. DO NOT let it dry until it's transplanted. since peat will crust and dry on the roots and suffocate them. Also be very careful to water them from below. Some pathogens live in the soil and if splashed on the stems will kill them in short order.

Good luck with the peat soil.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 1:27AM
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is this the link you were refering to coey?

Here is a link that might be useful: recognition and culture of the holiday cacti

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 8:52AM
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saucer(10 SF Bay Area)

Thanks for the tips Mentha! I'm not sure how much peat is actually in the soil, but it does sound like a re-potting is in order after blooming.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 1:15PM
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I've seen that picture, and others, a number of times and for the life of me, can't distinguish the differene between Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus..Easter cactus are simple ID'ing though..Toni

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 1:48PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

A true CC loks more like an EC in stem structure, but has a flower like a TC. Truely, unless you have a species plant, and not a hybrid, you've got a mutt. Schlum hybrids are a mix of 3 or 4 species, and not a true species in of itself. The claws on the stems will tell you it's a TC cactus though and it blooms about Thanksgiving time, true CC are not usually offered for sale because they bloom later than a TC and do not show flowers until after peak sales time. So more than likely everyone has a TC and not CC.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 2:30PM
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