Kickstart a Christmas Cactus in 10 Minutes: The Success Formula

Christmas cacti look great and are absolutely easy to care for. Their abundant blooms in pink, white or orange bring a happy mood into the house in the dark season. If you can’t get enough of your Christmas cactus, you can multiply it quickly and easily. Today we’ll teach you how to start a Christmas cactus yourself.

how to start a christmas cactus

Propagating Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is one of the most popular flowering plants in the Christmas season because of its lush green and exotic flowers. The nice thing about it: It is not only easy to care for and frugal, but is also super easy to propagate yourself – with leaf cuttings.

The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) can easily be propagated by leaf cuttings in spring or early summer. To do this, you simply put individual leaf segments in pots with permeable potting soil, where – if you put them in a bright place and water them regularly – they quickly form roots.

Taking Leaf Cuttings for Propagation

The Christmas cactus is an extremely vigorous plant and can quickly grow out of its pot. By cutting back in spring or early summer – i.e. after flowering – you can easily put it in its place. The resulting leaf cuttings can be used to start a new Christmas cactus plant. Alternatively, you can simply remove a few fully grown leaf segments, recognizable by their size and dark green color, from an inconspicuous place from the mother plant for reproduction – the leaves will grow back quickly.

Pro Tip:

Do not cut off the leaf sections, but twist them off. This is gentler on the Christmas cactus and reduces the risk of infection for the plant.

how to start a christmas cactus from leaf cuttings
For cuttings, twist off the outer two or three leaves

How to Start a Christmas Cactus: A Step-by-step Guide

Despite its name, the Christmas cactus is an extremely vigorous and not very complicated plant. Propagating the Schlumbergera is therefore very easy. Prepare a medium-sized plant pot with well-drained potting soil, preferably mixed with a little sand or a drainage made of clay balls on the bottom of the pot. Then twist off a few multi-part leaf sections from the mother plant and simply stick them into the moistened soil, just deep enough that they can stand by themselves.

The leaf cuttings take root after just a few weeks in a bright place but not in full sun. You should remove specimens that are not rooted after about four weeks.

Pro Tip:

Always put several leaf cuttings in a pot so that you will later have a beautiful, dense plant. Don’t let the cuttings dry out, but be careful about watering. Understand that Christmas cacti are sensitive to hard water and only water with stale, boiled water or rainwater.

Besides soil, you can also root Christmas cactus cuttings in water.

how to plant a christmas cactus cutting
If you put several leaf cuttings in a pot, you will later get a nice, dense Christmas cactus

Make two out of one, make three – make many!

The propagation or rejuvenation of an older Christmas cactus by leaf cuttings is quick and easy and requires little effort. It can be carried out once or regularly, as desired. In this way you can make an almost infinite number of small Christmas cacti – a great souvenir for your Christmas visit. Even Schlumbergera that are about to die, for example that have been overwatered and suffer from stem rot, can be renewed in this way. The small cuttings need about a year in a bright, but not too warm location until they have become whole plants again and the first flowers begin. But then they are a great eye-catcher in winter every year.

Care tips for the Christmas cactus

Although the Christmas cactus sometimes has a somewhat dusty image, it can still be found in many apartments. It’s no wonder though – it is a very undemanding plant to care for. The most important thing is: water moderately and always use water with little lime. During the flowering period, the Christmas cactus is happy about a regular portion of liquid fertilizer for cacti.