Several of you have commented on my Christmas Cactus picture I had posted on facebook and asked me follow-up questions. I have a confession to make; succulents and I are not good friends! I don’t do well with neglecting my plants, so as a result, I sadly usually love my succulents to death. Therefore, this year’s profusion of blooms on my Christmas cactus, a tropical succulent, was a fluke! This plant had not bloomed for 2 years. I had almost dumped it!

In honor of the surprise gaudy, hot pink display, here is what I did. Maybe it’ll work for you as well!

1. Location, location, location is the key. Whether inside or out, place your plant in a light, bright, indirect light setting away from drafts or wind. Please remember that night time porch lights are still considered light and all plants will not survive under continuous light. They need to go to sleep as well.

2. A Christmas plant is a tropical succulent so it does not thrive in temperatures below 50. Bring them in when the temperatures start to dip. 

3. Succulents need well-drained soil, so a combination of 3 parts potting soil to 1 part sand is ideal. They hate their feet to sit in water, so be sure to empty out the saucers after you have watered. 

4. Water sparingly. This is inevitably where I mess up! Limit watering to once a week in the summer when outside and decrease to once every 3 weeks during the winter inside months. An easy test is to stick your finger all the way in the soil till your first knuckle and only water when you still feel dryness. I like to use filtered water or collected rainwater.

5. If your cactus doesn’t bloom for you this Christmas, hang in there because you might be dealing with an Easter cactus instead! Yes, there is such a thing! Keep up your care regiment and it’ll bloom for you during the next calendar holiday. If not, be patient. It might just wait for next year! 

On which plant have you given up?

Let the wilderness and the thirsty land be glad, let the desert rejoice and burst into flower.

Isaiah 35:1

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