The Christmas cactus is also known as schlumbergera. It came to be called Christmas because it always bloomed at the festive season. According to folk customs, this plant was acquired to banish all evil from the house and bring joy, harmony and good cheer to the family. It has had its botanical name of schlumberger since 1858 after the former scientist and cactus collector Frederic Schlumberger. Come with us to find out why the plant is not thriving and not flowering.
The most common reasons why the Christmas cactus doesn’t bloom
Here are a few possible reasons for a Christmas cactus not blooming:
- It doesn’t get enough natural light: look for a sort of happy medium when placing a Christmas cactus. The plant is likely to thrive in partial shade. Exposing it to direct sun will not do it any good.
- Not enough nutrients: you should fertilize the Christmas cactus according to what time of year you are in. If you don’t fertilize the plant at all, it can have a negative effect on your plant not blooming.
- Watering is not done properly: the Christmas cactus needs to be watered occasionally, but enough. It is better to use water that has been standing for a while, and the absolute best is rainwater, which will also provide the flower with the necessary minerals and trace elements.
- You have not transplanted the plant for a long time: the Christmas cactus may not bloom even if you have not transplanted it into a larger pot for more than five years.
- You are handling the Christmas cactus too much: the plant does not like to be moved from place to place. It needs a permanent habitat. And when it starts to bloom, you’d better not even turn it over.
What are some other possibilities that cause the Christmas cactus to grow poorly?
You should also make sure that you choose the correct pot size when repotting your Christmas cactus. Choose a larger one to allow the plant to root well. You’ll know the cactus has a problem soon enough. It won’t develop as it should. Its appearance will be very stunted. These processes can be caused by pests and root system disorders.
What else to look for when growing a Christmas cactus?
When planting a Christmas cactus, also keep in mind that it should be placed more on the north side of the apartment, where it will thrive best. Then, during the winter months, feel free to place the plant where the environment is darker. This will speed up the formation of buds which herald early flowering. And since the cactus is more likely to come from a cooler, more humid climate (in the Brazilian forests), keep the temperature in the room where you grow it around 12 to 16 degrees Celsius. Water regularly, especially in the summer months. Cut back on liquids from September to October. Keep it to a minimum in autumn.
Christmas cactus transplanting in practice
Here’s some advice on how best to repot a Christmas cactus:
- Choose a pot that has a drainage (drain) hole in the bottom. This will prevent moisture from accumulating at the cactus roots.
- Then place either fine pebbles, gravel or crushed charcoal in the bottom.
- In the next stage, layer the pot with a substrate mixed with peat, river sand and charcoal.
- Remove the Christmas cactus from the old pot and clean the roots well from the soil. Also remove any damaged parts of the roots by breaking them off.
- Wash the root system with warm water and dry well.
- Now you can transplant the flower into a new pot. Bury the roots well with soil.
- It is best not to water the cactus for the first five days after transplanting.
Fertilizing the Christmas cactus
In the autumn months, fertilise the Christmas cactus mainly with nitrogen fertiliser. This type of fertilizer is suitable for young plants. It stimulates their growth and flowering. When you see the first flowers, replace the nitrogen mixture with another one. If you don’t know how to choose a fertiliser, ask a gardener for advice.