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The Beautiful Christmas Cactus:An Ornamental Plant

The Beautiful Christmas Cactus:An Ornamental Plant

The Christmas cactus, native to Brazil, is cultivated in parks and flower gardens around the world and is commonly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics. It is an ornamental plant, often grafted onto a measuring stick or another rootstock to obtain a lush plant.

Morphological Characteristics

Cactaceae, epiphytic succulent plants, shrubby, with pendant stems, many branches without spines, old stems lignified, young stems flattened; bright green or slightly purple, truncate at the top, flowers solitary at the top of the branch, symmetrical on both sides; calyx separated at the top; corolla in several whorls, numerous stamens, berries pear-shaped.

Main Varieties

The common hybrids of Christmas cactus are the white Christmas white, Dorset, Gina, and Snowflake; the yellow varieties are Christmas Flame, Golden Fantasy, and Cambridge; the orange ones are Ante and Freddo; the purple varieties are Madoka; the pink varieties are Camilla, Disto and Eva.

The regular varieties are the round-toothed Christmas cactus with lavender stems and red flowers, the beautiful Christmas cactus with white flower buds and pink when it opens, the red-flowered Christmas cactus with red flower buds, and the Russell, Barclay, Blunt, Christmas cactus.

Growth Habits

Christmas cactus likes a cool, warm environment, tolerates drought, is afraid of the summer heat, and is more shade tolerant. Growing temperature 20-25 ℃, the dormant temperature of about 15 ℃.

Like loose, rich in organic matter, well-drained, and breathable substrate. Christmas cactus is a short-day plant. It can bloom in 2-3 months with 8-10 hours of sunlight per day, and the flowering period can be adjusted by controlling the light.

Propagation Methods


Rootstock: First select a good rootstock. The rootstock is good for cactus, especially for cattle tongue palm, because it is high, in good shape, strong trunk, strong support, can make the grafted Christmas cactus down free-hanging, conducive to ornamental. So you can choose a year in advance to grow strong, no harm, neat, and beautiful cattle tongue palm pieces 1-2 sections for cuttings, one per pot.

Grafting: The appropriate time for grafting the Christmas cactus is from late March to mid-June and from mid-September to mid-October. Grafting should be selected on sunny mornings, so when the rootstock and spike contain more juice, interface healing, while choosing the next section straight fat not old not the young metamorphosis of the stem 2-3 sections for the spike, grafting when the choice of a sharp knife (shaving knife can be).

First, the base of the scion is a section of both sides of the oblique cut into duckbill-shaped. Cutting length of 1.5-2.5 cm, try to cut into a knife to facilitate survival, and then cut a knife at the top of the rootstock longitudinally, the width and depth of the knife than the spike cutting surface a little larger, the spike will be cut into the rootstock cut quickly, the spike inserted into the rootstock cut, due to sticky slippery liquid more, the spike easy to swim, so to be fixed by hand for half a minute, and then the cactus and thorns prepared in advance across the rootstock spike, so that the Strings together, can also be used to clamp wooden clothespins, to be fixed. Finally, put the jointed pot in a cool, ventilated place away from the weather (note that watering can not get on the interface), about 20-30 days can be expected to survive.


Choose a healthy Christmas cactus with 3-7 nodes, usually 1.5 nodes to be inserted in the potting soil. Good plants will flower in the second year, and the next one in the third year, and the number of flowers will increase every year.

Cultivation Techniques


Fertilizer is not enough, but too much fertilizer can kill the plant. The Christmas cactus should not be fertilized with chemical fertilizers, but with a thin liquid fertilizer composted by yourself, with a moderate increase in water and fertilizer from autumn to flowering.

In the summer, the air is dry and the ventilation is poor, which affects the growth of the plant. During this period, choose a shaded place with ventilation and light, and do not move easily.

You should be waterless and avoid rain to avoid rotten roots. You can spray water to the plant and the ground near the plant to increase the air humidity and lower the temperature.

Keep the potting soil moist during the growing season and avoid over-drying or over-wetting. When the air is dry, spraying foliar water, especially during the budding period, is good for more budding.


The appropriate temperature for the Christmas cactus is around 25°C. Over 30°C, it enters a semi-dormant state.

In winter, the room temperature should be around 15°C, below 10°C. Sudden temperature changes and temperature differences can lead to flower and bud drops.

During the flowering period, the temperature should be 10-15°C. Move the plant to a place with diffused light to prolong the ornamental period.

Change of Pot

Christmas cactus is generally changed once every other year from March to April, the potting soil should be loose and fertile with good permeability and slightly acidic soil, the bottom of the pot first lay a layer of fine sand, to facilitate water infiltration, combined with the change of the pot to thin out the weak and overgrown branches, and moderate shortening, to facilitate the emergence of young and strong new branches, flowering flourishing.

Support Frame

Christmas cactus should be planted according to the size of the plant reasonable support frame, especially after five or six years of life, the crown increases, the pressure increases, should be replaced in time to prevent the support frame rot caused by plant collapse.

If the crown is too thick, not conducive to ventilation and light, more unfavorable to breeding buds, flowering, but also affect the aesthetic, can be shaped with the crown, the crown will be thinned into a double layer, with double bracket support, the formation of high and low see the layer, flowering branches scattered uniform form, not only to improve ventilation and light conditions but also beautiful and chic shape, flowering is also more.


In the spring, after the flowers are gone, shorten the 3-4 stems under the residual flowers, and thin out some of the old stems and overly dense stems to facilitate ventilation and home maintenance; in the cultivation of Christmas cactus, sometimes 4-5 new branches grow from the top of a node, which should be removed 1-2 in time.

For 3-5 years old plants, 3-4 thick lead wires can be used as pillars, inserted into the soil along the wall of the pot, tied into 2-3 layers of circular supports, and tied the nodes on the ring to avoid overlapping and disorganization of the nodes, and to remove some uneven nodes so that the plant is umbrella-shaped, which is beneficial to photosynthesis and ornamental display.

Pest and Disease Control

Christmas cactus is often affected by anthracnose, rots, and leaf blight, especially in high temperatures and humidity. Serious plants should be pulled out and burned. At the beginning of the disease, spray with 50% carbendazim wettable powder 500 times every 10-15 days, 3 times.

If the damage is serious, the surface of the leafy stem is covered with white shells, which makes the plant grow weak and the damaged part is yellowish-white, if the damaged plant is light, it can be scraped off with bamboo slices, and in serious cases, it can be killed by spraying with 25% thiophanate-methyl emulsifier 800 times. In case of red spider damage, spray 1000-1500 times of oxymatrine solution to prevent and control.

Main Values

Christmas cactus nodes are often too long and pendulous, so they are often made into hanging orchids for decoration. The Christmas cactus blooms on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and the changing shape of the plant makes it suitable for window sills, entrance doors, and exhibition halls. However, because of the way they are kept, some Christmas cacti are regulated to bloom in October. In countries such as Japan, Germany, and the United States, Christmas cacti have been produced on a large scale and have become one of the main potted flowers for indoor use in winter.

Plant Culture

The Christmas cactus is called the Christmas cactus because the nodes are connected like the claws of a crab. It is also known as the “Christmas cactus” in the Christian West because it blooms on Christmas Day.

The language of the Christmas cactus is Good luck, good luck, good luck.

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