When to propagate Christmas cactus? The best time to propagate the Christmas cactus would be about 1-2 months right after it completes flowering. Never conduct propagation during fall as they would be blooming.
If you are an enthusiastic succulent grower who wishes to educate yourself on how to conduct the Christmas cactus propagation well, it would be worth reading this article.
Christmas cactus is endemic to Brazil. They go by the scientific name called Schlumbergera.
Christmas cactus blossom flowers in shades of red, pink or in white. Those blooms would be bell shaped and they would produce flowers during November to December.
What is special about these plants is that they would grow to their best potential in a humid environment.
Can you propagate Christmas cactus ?
You can conduct Christmas cactus by using their cuttings and through division.
Can you propagate Christmas cactus by cuttings?
Yes, You can. First you need to wait until the right time to conduct the propagation so that you will have a better chance of succeeding with it.
I recommend propagating them at the start of the growth season. This literally means you need to conduct the propagation in late spring once it finishes its dormancy.
Next you can collect the stem cuttings. However, when you obtain these cuttings, make sure they have at least two to five stem segments.
So, to obtain these cuttings you can either use a pair of scissors. If not, you may even do it manually too.
You simply have to twist it off. I recommend choosing more than one stem cutting to have more successful results too.
Once you take the cuttings leave them in a warm dry place so that they can heal. Next you can place those stem cuttings in a warm dry place where they can develop callousness.
However, never leave them under direct sunlight though. Once you allow them to be callous, it will reduce the potential of any occurrence of any probable rot.
Now you can root your cuttings either in water or in soil. If you are using soil as the growth medium, you can use a mix of coarse sand, perlite or even peat.
Furthermore, you need to be mindful to use a pot which has ample drainage too. Further you need to water the soil before you place the cuttings as well. Not only that but also, you need to ensure that excess water is drained away from the pot too.
When planting the cuttings, you need to make sure that you are planting only a quarter of their length in the substrate.
Once you finish planting them, pack the soil around the stem carefully too. Next, water them lightly. Keep looking after the cuttings for about six to eight weeks.
Next you can place the specimen in a brightly lit place. However, they need to get indirect sunlight here and not direct sunlight.
After that, you can transplant the cuttings and repot them in a small pot which has drainage holes. Keep taking care of the plants properly.
Ensure that you are growing them in a brightly lit high humid area. If their soil is dry, you can water them.
If there are low humidity levels, you can spray the leaves to mist them. The ideal temperature should be somewhere around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.
In terms of fertilizing, a houseplant fertilizer would be effective for them. You can apply it for about twice or thrice a year.
However, suspend fertilizing them right after you repotted them as they need some time to settle in the new growth mediums.
Propagate Christmas cactus by division
You can propagate the Christmas cactus by division if it has become pot bound. Simply you need to cut through its roots whilst using a sharp and disinfected knife.
You need to simply divide the plant into two or four pieces. Those cuttings could vary in the sizes. After that you can replant them in a well-draining cactus soil mix. Late spring to early summer would be the ideal seasons to conduct division.
Do they produce seeds?
Christmas cactus produce seeds. They usually come up in the blueberry like fruit. You may use the seeds for the propagation as well. You could spot them carrying the fruits for one full year and you can pick them at any time you wish.
Can you root the Christmas cactus in water?
You can conduct Christmas cactus propagation in water.
It is a fast way of propagating the Christmas cactus. In fact, Christmas cactus would root about three to four weeks before the soil propagation.
To propagate them, you need to obtain the stem cuttings as explained in the above soil propagation method. Once you obtain the stem cutting, you need to fill a glass jar with some water.
Next apply a layer of pebbles or small stones in the bottom of the bottle. Ensure that water covers the pebbles and the stones in the bottle.
After that you can add the cuttings and make sure only the cutting tips are in contact with water. You should check the water level and refill it as essential.
Once you spot them developing roots, you need to gently transfer them to the soil. However, if you ensure that your cuttings have developed a callous properly, it will give guaranteed results of the water propagation.
So, to do that, you need to make sure that you allow the cuttings to dry but not too dry. When they develop callus, you rely on the fact that it would not start to rot.
You may leave the cuttings to be in water for several weeks until the developed roots become at least one or two inches in length.
However, make sure that you change the water every few days whilst the cuttings are in water. That will also ensure that there will be less potential for rot.
When they are ready to be potted, you need to transfer them to soil smoothly. Once you transform them to soil, you need to look after them well.
How to treat after propagation
Sunlight requirement of the Christmas cactus
Christmas cactus can thrive well in areas where there will be bright indirect sunlight. Never leave them exposed to direct sunlight right after you propagate them.
However, if you wish to bring them outdoors, you need to slowly accustom them to full sunlight. Do not ever expose them to harsh sunlight during intense summertime. If you accidently do so, it will result in the scorches in the plants.
Watering requirement of the Christmas cactus
You need to start watering them lightly after you propagate them. Never allow their soil to become bone dry between two watering sessions.
Frequency wise, you can water them just once every two weeks during their active growing season . On the other hand, you need to refrain from watering them during winter as they will be dormant during winter.
Having said that if you spot them, they have become entirely dry, you can water them about once a month. Do not ever supply them water in abundance as then your precious Christmas cactus may suffer from rot.
Temperature and Humidity requirements of the Christmas cactus
Christmas cactus opt to have temperatures around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit ( 16-21 degrees Celsius) during their growth.
In terms of the right humidity levels, they would prefer to have high humidity levels. if you place the pot on a surface of a water filled pebbles and stones layer it would enhance the humidity levels around the plants.
Fertilizer requirement of Christmas cactus
Best is to suspend feeding them for about two to three weeks after you propagate them. A houseplant fertilizer would suit them the best.
However , ensure that you stick to the instructions on the labels of the fertilizers so that you will not over supply them. Never over feed them as it would create harmful effects on the plants.
Pot requirement of Christmas cactus
Christmas cactus opt to grow in pots which have at least one or two draining holes. If you end up growing them in a poor draining pot, it will contribute to soggy and waterlogged conditions in the soil mix.
Christmas cactus are such a versatile set of plants. So, propagating them would be such a rewarding activity. You can propagate them and share this with your friends as well.
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