Are Christmas cactus acid loving plants? Yes, Christmas cactus love the acid soil mix between the pH range of 5.5-6.0.
Many people tend to grow the Christmas cactus indoors due to the magnificent looks they have. With that being said, if you live in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, you can grow them outdoors year along.
Christmas cactus is a flowering cactus. When they are in full blossom, many people compare them to lobster claws.
Besides these, Christmas cactus from leaves which are danglingly segmented. They would usually be about one foot in height.
When these cacti grow in the wild, they usually grow in crevices filled with decaying leaves. Hence when you grow them as potted plants, you need to choose acidic soil.
Are cactus acid loving plants ?
Generally, the cacti prefer to grow in acidic soil mix as they are categorized as acid loving plants.
In other words, cacti would prefer to grow in soil mix where there will be a pH. scale of 5 and 7. Having said that, there are certain cacti which have their own desirable range of pH scales.
However, many cacti prefer to grow in soil mixes where there will be a pH. scale of 5-6.5 which literally means they would prefer to grow in acidic soil mixes.
As such if you purchase a cacti freshly , you need to first educate yourself on what kind of pH. scale your plant requires and depending on that you can grow them in an appropriate soil mix accordingly.
Does Christmas cactus like acidic soil ?
Christmas cactus prefer to grow in acidic soil mix. Literally the growing mediums pH.
measure reflects on the plant’s acidity and on the alkalinity. If there are plants which desire to grow in pH. scales of 7.0 means they would prefer to grow in low acidic soil mixes.
So, if we take Christmas cactus into consideration, they will prefer to have a pH. scale between 5.5-6.2 so that they can grow vigorously and come up with beautiful flowers.
You may simply go ahead with the commercially available succulents or the cactus soil to grow the Christmas cactus as they’re acidic.
Having said that you may also make a soil mix on your own by amending 4 parts of African violet potting mix into two parts of pumice and perlite.
Acidic violet mix has acidic boosting peat moss included as they enhance the draining of the soil mix.
Do Christmas cactus need special soil ?
Christmas cactus require a soil medium which requires excellent drainage and a good aeration as well.
When we think of the naturally grown Christmas cactus in the wild, they would usually grow on soil where they consist of decaying leaves and on plant debris.
Chances are that they may also grow as epipHytes on tree trunks. You need to refrain from choosing poor draining potting soil as they would retain a lot of moisture and it would be unhealthy for the plant’s roots.
Consequently, it will make the plants struggle to live and flower poorly too. Not only that but also, it would result in rot as well.
If you are interested in making a soil mix, you can make one on your own too. To start off, you may first arrange a sterile compost or garden loam and then mix it in balanced amounts of perlite and with milled peat.
These two elements are crucial in enhancing the draining of the soil mix. On the other hand, compost and loam will provide nutrients and sufficient moisture for the plant roots.
Ensure that you use sterilized ingredients as they would make the plants less susceptible for diseases and for pest invasions.
In addition to the above, you may also go ahead with a standard commercially made cactus soil mix as there will be only slight amendments in the pH scale.
Moreover, you should select a soil mix which has a balanced pH. scale. When I say a balanced pH. scale, it could have a fairly neutral pH. of between 6.0-7.0. This literally means it is not too acidic or too alkaline.
You can also grow them in a soil mix which has 60-80 percent of soil mix and 20-40 percent of perlite.
If there is no perlite available, you can mix three parts of potting soil to two parts of perlite and then apply it on the Christmas cactus.
What is a good fertilizer for Christmas cactus ?
I recommend using a 20-10-20 or a 20-20-20 fertilizer which is half diluted for the Christmas cactus. A light fertilizing would be beneficial for the healthy growth of the Christmas cactus.
Besides, it would be useful for the vigorous flowering of the plants as well. Ideally you need to feed them once a month during their active growing season.
Christmas cactus require additional magnesium levels as well. As such, it would be better if you could choose a fertilizer which has magnesium sulfate included.
All you need to do is to combine one gallon of water into one teaspoon of magnesium sulfate and then apply them to their soil once a month. However, do not apply them adjacently with the regular fertilizers.
Additional Christmas cactus care
In addition to aforesaid, you need to use a soil mix which has a fast drainage to grow the Christmas cactus. Besides, your selected pot needs to have at least one draining hole too.
Consider repotting the plants during spring as then their foliage and roots would be actively growing. Ensure that you allow the soil to wither between two watering sessions.
Can you use Miracle Grow on Christmas cactus?
You can use Miracle grow for the Christmas cactus. To briefly explain on how to apply it during repotting,
You need to first choose a pot which is slightly wider than the plant size. Next you can fill the planter with 1/3 of Miracle gro cactus potting mix.
It will provide a better draining as well as some food for the Christmas cactus to thrive well. You should place the plant in the container whilst ensuring the plant’s root ball is slightly below the container top.
Next fill around the root ball while leaving only ¾ inch with empty space. Next you can water them lightly and allow them to flourish.