Asked on Jan 05, 2015

My 30ish-year-old Christmas cactus is blooming now

by Louise
For years it's bloomed at Thanksgiving. I have no idea why it's after New Years this year. It spends the warm months on my deck and comes in when the temps start to dip. This year we had an early cold spell so I brought it inside earlier than usual. Could that be why the blooms were delayed?
christmas cactus blooming, flowers, gardening
  23 answers
  • Linda Linda on Jan 05, 2015
    My grandma always had one and that thing bloomed and bloomed and bloomed. I asked her how she did it and she said she talked to it and sometimes even threatened it if it didn't bloom and grow. I was beautiful! So this year I bought my first Christmas Cacti and asked my garden angle for some help with it. We'll see what happens. Congrats on yours blooming. Maybe you talked it and forgot.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 05, 2015
    Christmas cactus get their clues to bloom from both temperature and the length of daylight (they need short days to bloom), so if either of those things changed this year, that could certainly affect bloom time. I'd say it's a pretty nice way to welcome the new year.

  • Clemensnl Clemensnl on Jan 05, 2015
    You can force it when you want by putting it in 16 hrs of darkness everyday for about 6 weeks before you want to display it. When you bring it out during the day, make it be in the sun and bright room. Water and fertilize as usual. It still needs to be warm, so don't put it in the garage. I put mine in our half bath from 4 pm to 8 am so my family has to use a bathroom on another floor during that time for a few weeks, but it's worth it!

  • Louise Louise on Jan 05, 2015
    One more question. A friend saw the photo of the plant and asked if these are very slow growers since in all these yrs, it hasn't become a large plant.

  • MaryAnn A MaryAnn A on Jan 05, 2015
    MIne usually blooms between TG and Christmas but is blooming now too. Here in north central Florida it has been very warm (80 yesterday) and I attribute the late blooming to that.

    • Louise Louise on Jan 05, 2015
      @MaryAnn A Did you REALLY have to mention 80 degrees? 😊 Our temp is 40ish and on Wednesday, the high might be 32 with 14 as the low. 😒 And this is the sunny South? Hmmm.

  • Bette Devlin Bette Devlin on Jan 06, 2015
    @No search results.Louise, May be actually a Thanksgiving Cactus, instead of a Christmas Cactus:: This genus contains the popular house plants known by a variety of names including Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus, which are Schlumbergera cultivars, and flower in white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple. (The Easter Cactus or Whitsun Cactus, which may also be called a Holiday Cactus and has vivid scarlet flowers in the most commonly grown form, is now placed in the genus Hatiora.) The cultivars of Schlumbergera fall into two main groups:The Truncata Group contains all cultivars with features derived mainly from the species S. truncata: stem segments with pointed teeth; flowers held more or less horizontally, usually above the horizontal, whose upper side is differently shaped from the lower side (zygomorphic); and pollen which is yellow. They generally flower earlier than members of the Buckleyi Group and although common names are not applied consistently may be distinguished as Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus or Claw Cactus.The Buckleyi Group contains all cultivars with at least some features clearly showing inheritance from S. russelliana: stem segments with rounded, more symmetrical teeth; more or less symmetrical (regular) flowers which hang down, below the horizontal; and pollen which is pink. They generally flower later than members of the Truncata Group and are more likely to be called Christmas Cactus.

    • Louise Louise on Jan 06, 2015
      @Bette Devlin Or, a New Years cactus since it bloomed a few days ago. 😊

  • Cathy Maddox Silva Cathy Maddox Silva on Jan 06, 2015
    I nicknamed my cactus the Smartplant.

  • Louise Campbell Louise Campbell on Jan 06, 2015
    My cactus flowers twice a year around christmas and alround Easter I guess because have the dark and cold weather. This morning at 7.15 am it is still dark and at 4 pm too and very cold.

    • Louise Louise on Jan 06, 2015
      @Louise Campbell Two times a year!!! That would be great since the blooms are soooo pretty.

  • Tammie ellerbee Tammie ellerbee on Jan 06, 2015
    My mother-in-law received one 39 years ago when her husband died! She still has the original plant and we all have babies from it!

    • Cynthia Cynthia on Jan 06, 2015
      @Tammie ellerbee I have my grandmother's and so do a lot of family members. She would be 114 years old this month~ it's a treasure!

  • Francine Nault Francine Nault on Jan 06, 2015
    I remember mine one year having so many buds on it and all of a sudden they started falling down from the plant and I found out that I had moved my plant to clean around it and apparently they don't like to be moved. It was all in bloom just prior to Christmas this year.

    • Bobbie Whitten Bobbie Whitten on Jan 07, 2015
      @Francine Nault Once the blooms start to form you can only water it a little at a time. To much water can make the blooms fall off.

  • Connie Miks Connie Miks on Jan 06, 2015
    I got one Last month. When to you feed it ?

    • See 1 previous
    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 07, 2015
      @Connie Miks You can fertilize with a half-strength solution of fertilizer from the time the plant starts putting on new growth in late winter or early spring. Stop fertilizing in late summer to encourage bud set.

  • Mari Dots Mari Dots on Jan 06, 2015
    I've also had my cactus for many years, going on 15 now. It is very slow growing but the leaves break off and I just can't bring myself to throw them away, I try to root them all. Not always successful tho. One year mine bloomed starting at Thanksgiving and continued all the way thru Easter. This year it hasn't bloomed

  • Pat G Pat G on Jan 06, 2015
    Yes, the length of the night/dark is the key, as some others have said. Newer strains bloom with less darkness, and if I leave mine out on the porch where it is darker, too long, they bloom earlier, like for Halloween even. My older strain ( been in family for nearly 100 yeas) needs more dark to trigger it to bloom, and hasn't bloomed yet this year, but usually blooms for Christmas. They are so pretty!

    • See 1 previous
    • Pat G Pat G on Jan 08, 2015
      @Louise Mine blooming right now. Well worth the effort! Best wishes with yours.

  • Sandi Masse Sandi Masse on Jan 06, 2015
    I wouldn't care when it bloomed, it's beautiful! A lot of people that have these and they never bloom. Just enjoy it.

  • Mk sykes Mk sykes on Jan 06, 2015
    how much rest would one give the cmas cactus after it blooms before one starts the 16 hours of total darkness?

  • Annie Singleton Annie Singleton on Jan 06, 2015
    i left my cactus outside in the cold, forgot it , will it come back if i bring it back inside and also my spider plant

    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 07, 2015
      @Annie Singleton That depends on how cold it was outside. If it was below freezing, there is little chance of recovery.

  • Teo Teo on Jan 06, 2015
    La Noiii ai spunem-NU MA DERANJA-in ideea ca nu trebuie mutata din loc,fiindca ii cad bobocii, sau florile .

  • Teo Teo on Jan 06, 2015
    Ajutor răspunde la această întrebare ...

  • Bobbie Whitten Bobbie Whitten on Jan 07, 2015
    Mine is very old and huge. It's the coral color and has bloomed beautifully all these years. I always stuck it under a magnolia tree around the first of Oct. This year the squirrels absolutely tried to destroy it. I thought it was gone but didn't want to bother it to see if it would bloom. Half of it bloomed, so I guess I will pull the rest out after blooming is over. It's been repotted only twice over the years so I guess this was a good thing.

  • Ruby Wise Ruby Wise on Jan 07, 2015

  • Deanna Hookway Deanna Hookway on Jan 07, 2015
    zygo cactus, which is what yours is, need cold snaps to force blooms. The extra darkness usually indicates winter is coming, therefore, cold. Zygo's can take temps down into the 40's. I leave mine outside as long as possible before bringing in and it sets many, many buds. I usually have to bring it in around the first of November, and by Thanksgiving, it is blooming. You can force the issue in other ways, such as a cold garage or basement.

  • Ellen Fuller Ellen Fuller on Jan 07, 2015
    Mine is not blooming at all, what should I do? What would I re-pot it in(dirt). I water it when it's really dry and it hangs from the ceiling in the living room. help.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bobbie Whitten Bobbie Whitten on Jan 09, 2015
      @Ellen Fuller if you move it to a relatively dark spot in October and don't water as much it usually does the trick.

  • Barbara Travis-Henne Barbara Travis-Henne on Jan 11, 2015
    I never move my plant it stays in the same place right in front of my south living room window and has been here for 15-20 years it's to big to put anywhere else it has defused sunlight thru a sheer curtain and roof overhang. I have always water it a few cups of water once every two weeks but in November I don't water it at all and this forces it to bloom in December and looks beautiful for Christmas. Be sure you know which cactus you have there are several different kinds. This will depend on the blooming time. I was told you can tell which cactus you have by the leaf points and size. Mine looks a lot like the cactus pictured but looks nothing like Ruby Wise picture Ruby's leafs are long and mine are short like Louise.