Growing and propagating Christmas Cactus can be greatly rewarding, especially when you gift them to others during the holiday season (remember to get the best soil for Christmas cactus as well while you’re at it).
Christmas Cactus can be propagated and rooted in soil or in water. We prefer propagating Christmas Cactus in water because we just love seeing roots grow through the clear sides of our containers. Propagating is a great way of sharing this amazing plant with others.
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Tools You Need for Propagating Christmas Cactus in Water
- Sharp scalpel (alternative: small knife)
- Small jar, vase or other container that holds water
Subsequently, to care for your newly propagated and rooted Christmas cactus, you will need:
- Planting pot
- Potting mix
- Sand or compost
Propagating Christmas Cactus
Before you propagate, make sure to take cuttings from a healthy Christmas Cactus with healthy looking stems. Simply use a sharp scalpel (or small knife) to take a short, Y-shaped cutting from the stem tip consisting of at least 2 or 3 joined segments. Taking a Y-shaped cutting is best, but not imperative. As long as the cutting has at least 2 segments, it will root.
Since we will be rooting the cutting in water, there is no need to leave the cutting to dry.
Rooting Christmas Cactus in Water
Fill the jar, vase or any small container which can be used as a rooting vessel with water.
The best way to root a Christmas cactus in water is to place the cutting into the water (cut end downwards) until two nodes are submerged.
Place the jar, vase, or container in bright, indirect sunlight (indoors or outdoors) and leave the cutting for a few days to develop roots. When roots have developed, continue waiting for about 6 to 8 weeks until the roots grow as long as the cutting, all the time keeping a close watch on the water level. Add more water as necessary, making sure the two nodes remain submerged at all times.
Planting the Christmas Cactus
Once they are fully rooted, plant the cuttings into a pot filled with your choice of potting mix, preferably mixed with a little sand or compost. We love and use the Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix. Water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry. Also, increase humidity around the plant. The Christmas cactus may be watered more frequently, fertilized and given additional light at this time.
Ensure that the air temperature remains no cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. Fertilize the plant from after blooming until fall (we feed ours with Miracle-Gro® Succulent Plant Food).
Propagating Christmas Cactus in Water: Step-by-Step Guide
In summary, here are the steps to propagate Christmas Cactus in water.
- Choose a healthy Christmas Cactus with healthy looking stems
- Use a sharp scalpel (or small knife) to take a short, Y-shaped cutting from the stem tip consisting of at least 2 or 3 joined segments
- Fill a jar, vase or any small container which can be used as rooting vessel with water
- Place the cutting into the water (cut end downwards) until two nodes are submerged
- Place the jar, vase, or container in bright, indirect sunlight
- Wait for about 6 to 8 weeks until the roots grow as long as the cutting
- Add more water as necessary, making sure the two nodes remain submerged at all times
- Once fully rooted, plant the cuttings into a pot filled with potting mix
- Water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry
- Increase humidity around the plant
- Ensure air temperature remains no cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 60 and 65 degrees overnight
- Fertilize frequently
And that’s it. It’s pretty easy to propagate Christmas Cactus in water and can be done at any time of the year, although it will be faster during the active growing phase.
How long does it take for Christmas cactus to root in water?
You’ll need to have some patience, as it can take about two to three weeks for Christmas cactus cuttings to root in water. You want a successful rooting and that will take time.
You can speed up the process by placing your Christmas cactus cuttings in a sunny window. In fact, a south-facing window is best.