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Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Posted by mlzellers PA (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 12:31

My mom gave me a cutting of a christmas cactus last year that has been in our family for close to 40 years. The cactus is do great! To great actually. As you can see from the picture most of the growth is on only one side of the plant. I would like to trim it down so its more even and less lopsided. Can I cut off most of the growth on the right side so there are more or less the same number if segments both sides of the "Y" Im afraid that over time its going to be so heavy on that one side that it wont sit in the pot with out risk of tipping.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

May I ask you what kind of potting medium that is? I don't think that I have ever seen anything quite like that.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

It is just potting soil I bought from walmart.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

I strongly recommend that you re-pot into a mix like "Orchid Mix" with bark, perlite, and only a small fraction of potting mix.

You can trim, and the plant will branch at the cut.

I would re-pot so that the plant is more upright.

Josh


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Ok Ill do that. That plant is actually up right. Just a crappy picture.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Well Josh & I may disagree on this, but I'd also put it in a smaller pot, especially if you're going to grow it indoors only (I can't tell). I believe will grow more slowly indoors than outdoors.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

It is indoors 99% of the time. When I repot it should I wash all the soil off the roots? or leave some soil on the roots?


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

I wouldn't wash it, or use water on it, but do this dry; it's best to remove all the old mix.

When dry, one can just use one's fingers to crumble off all the old mix from the roots. I've even used a fork-like tool to comb off all the old mix.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

You could use the pieces you remove to make it more even by sticking them in the soil on the slim side.

These are cuttings sharing a pot with Dracaena.

Thanksgiving cactus works the same way.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Karen, I don't disagree ;-)
If using a water-retentive peaty soil, then a smaller pot is better. But if one is using a fast-draining potting mix, then this size container is fine. Get the old soil off the roots by crumbling or rinsing. I would rinse, since it's Summertime, and you'll be watering the plant into the new mix when you re-pot anyhow.

I do see that the plant is upright, however I suggest changing the angle so that the drooping foliage is pointing up into the air and then weeping back down. The branch on the left side would be horizontal to the surface of the mix.

Josh


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

I've never rinsed a plant's roots in my entire career and have transplanted thousands of plants...big and small, young and old. Just sayin. ;-) Oh, and I expect 100% success, too.

I'll bet that the potting mix is that awful black sedge peat stuff...can't remember the name.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Purple, I often find that because TC cactus tend to be plumper they root easier than CC


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Mlzs, I'm curious about your plant going outside 1% of the time. Don't think I've heard anyone say that about a plant before.

TG, Interesting. I'm fortunate to have the new CC cuttings to play with, but very recently, this summer. Looked at so many pics over the years tho, they felt like old friends right away. Look forward to observing them as well!


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Purple. I take my plants out a few times in the early spring. The only reason I do it so to clean up there areas from all the winter dust that collects.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

When I had a bunch of indoor plants, I only took them outside to partake in a quickie group shower once in a blue moon. I'd gather them with all of the permanent outdoor bonsai and let them all catch up with each other for a little while. Then back inside they'd go!

I always love your unexpected combinations, purple. Everything looks great.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Thanks, Rhizo! I've developed a distinct lack of tolerance for being able to see the soil surface of potted plants. Man, that's wasted space! It started with sitting the little pots in the big ones... (the gateway drug action,) and sure enough, progressed to the harder stuff, doing it all the time, just wanting more.

LOL, letting the plants catch up... "Hey, you've really grown!"

And thanks for satisfying my curiosity, Mlz. Sounds perfectly reasonable!

My fav part of taking plants out in the spring (mine go outside/inside seasonally) is the first rain, those clean, shiny leaves again.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Rhizo,
these moisture-loving jungle cacti are the perfect candidates for a rinsing ;-)

Josh


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Miz,
Like purple I recommend that you start cuttings from the trimming that you do. Once rooted you can put them back in with the mother plant and get a full look sooner. BTW, cuttings on eBay often sell for a ridiculously high price. To me anyway, but CC are not easy to locate and are in high demand.

I started some cuttings last winter - well, tried. It was a bad time of the year to start cuttings so I lost quite a few. Started some this past spring using the exact same method and they all took. I put all the cuttings in one pot in a bark mix. When the good weather set in, I moved it outside in bright shade to some sun. It gets good water and fertilizer, but I'm still amazed at how healthy it looks. I wanted to get it "poised" for blooms this winter. With the new growth I'm planning on those flowers.

Gail

This post was edited by monet_g on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 9:33


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Gail! I'm so glad the cuttings took! My plants are taking off in this weather. I have to say that I won't start cuttings in the winter again. When you experience how easy it is in the warm weather, you never go back!


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Hi Laura,
Yes, it was your cuttings. Thank you again.

And just when I shared how well my plant was doing, I see that some critter came along and broke off some branches. Ah well, I just stuck them back in the pot. I imagine they'll root just fine with this heat, humidity and, hopefully, some rain.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Glad to hear it! I'll have to send you a pic of the zig zag cactus. It's growing like crazy in this heat and humidity.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

This Thread reminded me to even out my Christmas Cactus 'bonsai,' which has outgrown its windowsill position. Here's the before (sorry for the sun-glare):


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

And the after:


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Josh, excellent B'n'A pics! Where's the pic of whatever you did with the cuttings? How do you like the curly hose?


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Thanks for all the great advice everyone. Im gonna get some orchid mix and a different pot. I am gonna try and start every cutting I have. Maybe by christmas they will be big enough to give out as gifts!!!


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Purple, I put the cuttings indoors to callous over.
I might do a rooting tutorial with the best cuttings.

These curly hoses suck. Just had a new one blow out yesterday.
I like them in theory...but not in practice.


Josh


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

And a follow-up on the cuttings...


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Nice, but kind of looks like salad. My garden shoes look like that - dirty! I knew there was something I liked about you. Looks like a real mister too.


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Nice little corner there Josh. It DOES look like salad, maybe the bowl & how they're lying across it. Funny Purple.

Handsome Hoya over there on the left side, may I pls. ask which? Would that be H. obovata (an old favorite)?


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Hehe, a salad! Yeah, I do have them presented as such ;-)

That corner is where I keep my big Christmas Cactus during the Winter. Right now, there isn't as much direct sun, so my cuttings won't burn.

Karen, you're right...it's a rooted cutting of H. obovata. A great plant. This cutting has flowered three times already and has more peduncles forming. I had the plant outdoors, but two leaves burned...so it's back inside.

Josh


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RE: Evening out a Christmas Cactus

Peat? It looks like garden soil. Rich, black dirt.

Miz, are you sure the bag said house plant soil?

I'm making dinner so don't have time to read all the posts here.

Miz, do you rotate plants. 1/4 turn every week, especially when sun is bright, is sufficient. W/o rotating, leaves tend to grow on the sunniest side..

Sorry, If I repeated a post. Toni


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