In the middle of winter, Christmas Cacti can add a lovely burst of color to your home. They get their name from the blossoms that form as the evenings get longer, and the winds chillier; which commonly occurs around Christmas.
They provide a flash of color when almost every plant is out of season. This distinguishing feature makes them a fascinating plant to have around your house. They do, however, require special conditions to grow in.
A Christmas Cactus naturally grows in a layer of leaves beside a tree. As you might expect, a layer of leaves does not contain much moisture, thus these plants have evolved to obtain most of their water from the air. As a result, they require pots that drain properly. A Christmas Cactus can even die because of a small amount of standing water. This is why we have created this guide to help you choose the best pot for Christmas cactus!
- 1 Choosing The Best Pot For Christmas Cactus
- 2 Repotting a Christmas Cactus
- 3 FAQs
Choosing The Best Pot For Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus, otherwise also known as the Schlumbergera truncata did not evolve in a harsh, desert climate, unlike the majority of its relatives of the Cactus family. Instead, it grows as an underbrush plant on the ground of tropical rainforests, which is vital to remember while growing it as a pot plant.
The most critical step to make your Christmas Cactus look and feel its best is by selecting the proper pot. Here’s all you need to learn about selecting the ideal pot for the Christmas Cactus.
Christmas Cactus can grow poorly if their roots become too wet, so pick a container with at least one draining hole and put a tray under the pot to catch any water that flows out as you water it.
Water your Christmas Cactus whenever the upper one-third of the soil is dry. Add fresh water till the rim of the container, and be careful to drain any water in the plate or dish under the container within 10-15 minutes to avoid waterlogging the root.
Unglazed Ceramic Pots
Although it could be alluring to display your Christmas Cactus in a nicely glazed ceramic container, this is not suggested. Because glazed containers are not porous, the root of the Christmas Cactus plant cannot get any air from the surrounding atmosphere.
Luckily, there are numerous appealing unglazed choices, and many prefer the cactus plant’s natural look over the glazed ones.
Since the Christmas Cactus lives true to its title by blossoming even during the holiday period, it’s frequently placed front and center of other seasonal decorations so everyone can enjoy the blooms.
Selecting a colorful or decorative pot will help you get into the holiday mood and incorporate your Christmas Cactus into your decor. If the pot comes with a tray, it can be utilized as a centerpiece for holiday gatherings.
The semi-trailing growing pattern of Christmas Cactus offers them good choices for hanging containers. But even so, avoid placing plants too close to southern or southwestern windows since they might burn if subjected to excessive direct sunshine.
Christmas Cactus thrives in medium light, so place it in an area with an eastern or northeastern orientation.
If the container is too big, the roots may extend quicker than the leaves can develop. Furthermore, it is quite common to unintentionally add too much water to a big container. On the other hand, a container that is too small may restrict root growth and damage your cactus. A container that reaches around 1/2 inch to 1 inch above your plant’s peak should be about right in terms of breadth.
However, when it comes to depth, utilize your plant’s root system as a reference when selecting a depth for your container. This is especially true for cacti, as there are two types of cactus root systems: taproot and lateral. A taproot is a singular, lengthy root that emerges from the plant’s body. Taproots are common in tall cacti.
The taproot serves two functions:
- Give the cactus some support.
- Obtain deeper groundwater depths.
If your cactus has a taproot, a tall container will provide it with an adequate area to flourish. A planter constructed of a heavier material may be a better alternative to prevent tipping.
Roots that grow laterally are smaller roots that create a complex network that extends outward in every direction from the main plant stem but does not penetrate the soil deeply. Smaller cactus species are anchored in the ground by this root system, and the small root tips extend out in quest of hydration and nutrients.
Cacti with a lateral root system thrive in shallow, broad pots. Round planters may offer more than enough area for growing roots and a secure base.
Repotting a Christmas Cactus
Because Christmas Cactus thrive when their stems are somewhat cramped, planting them in extremely big pots is never a smart idea. Therefore, they must be replaced every two to three years in case their roots become too congested, and they cannot adequately take in the nutrients they need to grow.
Always select a pot that is somewhat larger than the previous pot. This is an excellent time to also replace the potting soil, so clear as much soil from the root as practical and possible without causing any damage.
Replace the old soil with healthier indoor garden soil and a little vermiculite or gravel for enhanced draining, or use succulent-specific potting soil.
Do Christmas cacti like shallow or deep pots?
Christmas Cactus prefer moderately deep pots because this is where it blooms the best. Check that the container has at least one drain hole.
Plant one inch deep in fresh soil, ideally a sand/peat mix. Water carefully until root or new growth appears, then continue to water as usual.
Do Christmas cacti like ceramic pots?
Ceramic pots are well-made and simple to maintain which makes them ideal for Christmas Cacti. Some even have drainage holes to ensure that your plant is never inundated. Richlin Gardens’ set with four Christmas boxes is another wonderful alternative for your pot.
Its smooth ceramic structure gives it a characteristic cactus appearance, and the green paint allows various ferns and flowers to be installed. Because of its huge size, it is suitable for a small indoor herb garden or terrarium. It is also long-lasting enough to be used outdoors.
What size pot is best for a Christmas cactus?
The Christmas cactus dislikes large pots because of its root ball. When you buy a Cactus at a store, it usually comes in a little plastic container roughly the size of the plant’s root ball.
Sellers seek to save money. Therefore they offer the plants in the tiniest pots possible, made of the cheapest material, plastic. Such a pot is unsuitable for the cactus, and you should re-pot it immediately. However, do not use a large pot.
The optimum container should be only 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch bigger in diameter than the plant’s root ball. You’ll be good with half an inch, but that’s all. Deep pots allow for interesting design possibilities at home, but Christmas cactus can’t thrive in them. The soil at the bottom of such a container frequently absorbs too much moisture, causing root rot and subsequent difficulties with the Christmas cactus.
Instead, use a shallow container. Ideally, there should be no more than an inch of space between the roots and the pot’s bottom.
Do Christmas cacti like tight pots?
The root systems of Christmas Cactus bloom optimally when slightly pot-bound and they prefer to thrive in tight spaces.
A Christmas cactus thrives in the limited area of a small pot, where its dense roots can still get moisture and nutrients in the pot’s remaining soil. However, if you do not repot the plant, it will suffer and may not flower. Repotting the cactus should be done after three to four seasons on average.
Letting your Christmas cactus become root-bound is a thin line to walk as the roots emerge from the holes drilled into the pot in quest of nutrients and water at times which is why repotting is recommended.
Do Christmas cacti like to hang?
Christmas cacti are epiphytes that grow on tree branches in rainforests and are native to Brazil. Because their stems dangle down, they are ideal for hanging baskets.
The Christmas cactus is a prolific blooming succulent that blooms for six to eight weeks each winter. It’s also a simple plant to maintain and develop.
When should you repot a Christmas cactus?
Most houseplants should be replanted when they show new growth in the springtime, but Christmas cactus repotting must be done after flowering has ended and the blooms have withered, which ought to be done in the late winter or early spring. Never try to repot a plant that is currently flowering.
Please do not rush to repot the Christmas cactus since it thrives when its roots are a little tight. Frequent repotting might be harmful to the plant.
Repotting Christmas cactus after four to five years is typically sufficient, but you may wait until the flowers appear to be wilting or a few roots sprout through the drainage hole. A plant may often bloom happily in the same container for years.