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Help! Why Won’t My Christmas Cactus Bloom?

Ask The Expert:

“I have had this Christmas cactus for 15 years, it’s bloomed once. What am I doing wrong?” – Elizabeth

Christmas CactusFlower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Elizabeth,

While you may think that temperature is a factor in blooming, daylight length is actually the key. Christmas cacti are triggered to bloom during short days. This can be achieved by placing the plant in a dark bedroom or by covering the plant for 15 or more hours a day. It may take up to a month to trigger the plant to produce bloom buds, but once the buds appear the plant can be returned to its usual viewing location. Remember to avoid extreme temperatures that would hinder bud release.

Click for more information on the Christmas Cactus.

Comments

  1. Shirley Olson says:

    I have a Christmas cactus that has never bloomed. it is at least 15 years old. what is the problem?

  2. Shirley,

    It’s not an uncommon problem. Christmas cacti are shy bloomers and need near ideal conditions before they’ll grace you with their beautiful blooms. They need a cool, dry place to rest in early spring. And once a bud appears, do not move the plant at all or it may interrupt the process. It has also been said that coffee or tea dregs will help it bloom, just make sure there is no cream, milk or sugar involved.

    Thanks,

    Ed

  3. Shirley Olson says:

    Thanks Ed for your suggestions. I have tried everything…….this time of the year when it should be budding out there are very fine hairs coming from the plant where the blooms should be. what is going on? Does anyone have an answer? I have a friend that has the most beautiful Christmas cactus I have ever seen and puts the plant outdoors in the summer and brings it in before frost. The plant has a bloom at each end………WOW

  4. My new Christmas cactus will bud out but not open to a bloom. The tiny little buds just fall off.
    WHAT IS WRONG?

  5. Jamie Woods says:

    If you have just recently acquired your Christmas cactus, this alone could be part of the issue with it not blooming. They are very picky plants and do not like changes to their environment. That being said, they do not require long periods of light, so you might try placing it in a dark room for up to 15 hours a day for the next month. This can potentially help force blooming. You will also want to get it on a strict watering schedule and avoid major temperature changes.

  6. Lynne Little says:

    My Christmas cactus has bloomed every year for the past 15 years but not this year. I had it outside in shade over the summer and we had a tremendous amount of rain for the season. Could that be why it didn’t bloom this year?

  7. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Lynne,
    That could very well be one of the factors.

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