Why are Christmas cactus dropping buds? There are several reasons for that. In fact, they could drop flower buds due to stress or temperature changes.
We will discuss more in this article.
Why Are Christmas Cactus Dropping Buds
Christmas cactus need to be in darkness for about 12 hours to produce flower buds. As such, if artificial light interrupts that, it could also impact on the developing buds in an unhealthy manner.
Christmas cactus are short day plants where they prefer to have shorter daytimes.
That means, they would prefer to have more darkness constantly for about 12 hours. After that they need to have light to produce flower buds.
So, to understand what factors impact the flower bud’s development, you need to first realize the optimal conditions which would help the Christmas cactus to produce the flower buds.
Literally, if there are drastic changes in the growing conditions, it would directly impact on the flower bud formation.
To elaborate further on these, under watering and low humidity levels could also lead the flowers to drop off the flower buds.
Christmas cactus are endemic plants to Brazil. They would usually tend to occupy areas where there are high humidity levels and frequent rain falls.
Christmas cactus are completely in contrast when we compare them with the rest of other cacti due to this factor. As you may already know many of the cactus species like to have warm and dry conditions along with a little rain fall.
So, if there is low humidity level, there is a high tendency that Christmas cactus tend to drop off their flower buds.
Having said that if you had placed Christmas cactus close to air conditioners, heat drafts, chances are that it would also cause drastic changes in the humidity levels. Further convection currents of heat in winter may also result in the drop off of the flower buds.
In that circumstance, best would be to locate the plant somewhere else where they can perform well. Having said that, we don’t really encourage shifting the plants anywhere once they are carrying the flower buds also.
Further , I encourage you to spray mist on the leaves for about thrice a week. Under watering may also contribute to the flower bud drop of the Christmas cactus.
Once you underwater the plants, it could lead to drought stress and then It would disrupt the flower bud formation.
Further, as aforesaid if they don’t get darkness for 12 hours, it would also affect the flower bud drop. They prefer to have short days so that they can develop flowers well.
In case, if you accidentally turn on the lights at least for a few seconds, it would impact on the flower bud formation of the plants.
In other words, it would disrupt their requirement of having 12 hours of darkness and it would make them drop the flower buds off.
If you find it difficult to keep them in darkness for 12 hours, you may consider having a light excluding cloth cover for your plants for about six weeks’ time so that they can freely develop the flower buds.
If you move the cactus which are carrying the flower buds, it will also affect the flower bud drop off. It is important that they have proper growing conditions to produce flower buds.
So, if you relocate them to somewhere else it would disrupt the natural settings of them. If there is a drastic change in the air flow, it may also lead to flower buds dropping off the plants.
Besides, Christmas cactus used to produce flowers based on a consistent direction of light. So, when you turn it around it would change the direction where they gain the light source too.
Once you move them, they would tend to grow towards a bright sunlight direction and consequently they would tend to drop off their flower buds.
As such you need to keep the plants in the same direction once they are carrying the flower buds and refrain from moving them around. It would avoid any potential stress which could take place and avoid them dropping the flower buds.
Besides these factors, saturated soil also leads the Christmas cactus to drop the flower buds. Christmas cactus used to grow in rainforests, and they are epiphytic.
This literally means they form on other trees, and they would form off the ground. So, they do not prefer to be in Damp or in soggy soil. Hence ensure that you keep their soil moist and well-draining.
Excess moisture could result in root rot and in flower buds drop off as well. So, literally if you provide the plants with abundance in water it would lead to this condition.
Further, pots without drainage holes and using saucers of water would also result in this. They do not prefer to keep their roots in waterlogged conditions. As such,do not expose them to soggy and waterlogged conditions.
Fluctuating temperatures could also result in the flower bud drop off. They are used to grow in cooler temperatures and for shorter days.
Hence, they need to have a temperature range of 60-degree Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) for their optimal growth. So, if you expose them to a different temperature than this, It will also lead them to drop their flower buds.
Should I water my Christmas cactus when it has buds?
You need to water the plants once a week when they are carrying the flower buds. It is important that you maintain a correct balance of watering to make them retain the flower buds.
Once you water them once a week, it would help the soil to be moist. Further it would also help the top layer of the soil to stay dry between two watering sessions as well. That would avoid any under watering or over watering issue which would take place.
How to stop Christmas cactus from dropping buds?
The flower buds will appear in September. So, to maintain their optimal conditions you need to expose them for 12 hours of darkness from September in the evening time.
As aforesaid these are short day plants which want darkness for prolonged times when they produce the flower buds.
So, to stop them dropping flower buds, you need to make sure that you do not disrupt the darkness for these plants.
Besides they need to have cooler temperatures also when they develop the flower buds. A temperature range of 60 degrees Fahrenheit ( 15 degrees Celsius ) would perfectly suit them when they produce flower buds.
Moreover, if you expose them to bright indirect sunlight, it will also stop them dropping off their flower buds. On the other hand, the exposure to shade for extended periods could also result in the flower bud dropping off.
You need to water the Christmas cactus properly too so that they would tend up to drop their flower buds.
Ideally you need them once a week so ensure that their top layer would be dry. I would also recommend you mist them once or twice a week.
Never feed them from late summer once they are carrying the flower buds. Applying fertilizer does not really help them to develop flower buds.
Instead, they would stimulate the new growth of the plants. Ensure that you do not move them here and there as it would also drop their flower buds.
So, to sum up what we discussed above, drought stress , fluctuating temperatures and lapses in watering could result in the flower drop off.
So If you ensure that you do not expose them to these conditions, you will never come across your precious Christmas cactus in dropping their flower buds.