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How to Make a Christmas Cactus Bloom

A Christmas cactus is a gift that gives pink, white or red flowers blooms around the holiday season. But don't let the name cactus fool you. Though the Christmas cactus is a tropical plant, it requires cooler temperatures to persuade its flowers to bloom [source: Lerner]. Read the tips listed below to learn how to make your Christmas cactus bloom.

  • Light Exposure The Christmas cactus requires specific light exposure in order to bloom during the winter months. A fickle plant, the cactus requires 13 or more uninterrupted hours of darkness each day starting from the end of September or the beginning of October. After that, it should take approximately six weeks for you start to see buds [source: Smith].
  • Location During the fall, when you're prepping the plant to bloom, make sure you place the cactus in a cool room with a temperature that is consistently around 50-60 degrees F (10-15 degrees Celsius). Also, ensure the plant isn't placed next to a window or door that opens to a cool draft, or near heating ducts or vents [source: Smith, Lerner].
  • Watering As you prepare the cactus to bloom, only water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry. If the leaves turn brown, you're watering the plant too frequently.
  • Humidity Christmas cacti require humidity to bloom. Try leaving a glass of water next to the cactus [source: Smith].
  • Maintenance During the summer months, you can maintain the cactus's leaves to ensure it blooms again in the winter. The plant can be moved outside to a shady area. If the leaves start turning red, your plant is receiving too much direct sunlight [source: Lerner].