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How to Propagate Christmas Cactus

Spring is the perfect time to propagate your Christmas Cactus. Learn just how easy it is to propagate Christmas Cactus by following these easy steps!

Hello, Ideas for the Home readers! I’m Pam from The Birch Cottage, and I’m back again this month sharing another easy gardening idea on how to propagate Christmas cactus.

How To Propagate A Christmas Cactus

The Christmas Cactus

Did you know that spring is the perfect time to propagate your Christmas Cactus? It is! Actually, the perfect time to propagate your Christmas Cactus plant is a couple of months after it’s finished blooming.

What Is a Christmas Cactus?

Did you also know that the Christmas Cactus (sometimes called the Thanksgiving Cactus or Holiday Cactus) really isn’t a cactus at all? It’s really a type of succulent. But, it’s not an ordinary succulent that you find growing in sandy soil in hot climates.

The Christmas Cactus is a relative native to the rainforest of Brazil. And it originally grew in the moss near the tops of the trees in the rainforests of Brazil. As you could imagine, it thrives in humid conditions.

Did you also know that the Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus and Spring Cactus are really three different plants? But, they’re all from the same plant family.

What is “propagate”?

Like most succulents, Christmas Cactus are really easy to propagate. What exactly do I mean by “propagate”? Glad you asked!

Propagating is simply a way to make new plants from an existing plant. There are many different methods for propagating plants. Fortunately, Christmas Cactus happen to be one of the easiest plants to propagate.

You know, I’ve had my Christmas Cactus for a number of years now. I think it would be great to make little pots of Christmas Cactus to gift to our kids. There’s just something nostalgic about the idea of each of our kids having a plant that originated with the Christmas Cactus they’ve seen growing in my kitchen bay window for years.

So, let’s take a look at just how to propagate a Christmas Cactus. When you see how easy this is, you’ll be gifting family and friends Christmas Cactus plants for years to come!

How to propagate a christmas cactus

How To Propagate Christmas Cactus

There are just a few things, besides a Christmas Cactus, of course, that you’ll need to get started with propagating your Christmas Cactus:

What you need: 

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Supplies Needed: 

pot of Christmas cactus, jar with pebbles, water and cuttings, Christmas Cactus cuttings

Then when you’re ready to plant your cuttings, you’ll also need:

Instructions:

1. Select cuttings.

Take cuttings that are 2-6 leaf segments or leaves. These segments can be cut or twisted off. To twist off the segments, hold onto the plant segment and then twist the section you want to remove. Again, be sure to select a segment that is 2-6 leaves long. You’ll want one to four cuttings for each pot you plan to grow.

Christmas cactus cuttings

2. Let Heal.

Once you have cut or removed your cuttings by twisting them off the mother plant, you want to simply lay them some place out of sunlight to let the cutting heal over for a day or two.

3 cuttings from a christmas cactus that have healed

3. Root in water.

Fill an empty glass jar with about two inches of pebbles or stones. Add enough water that it covers the stones. Then place the cuttings in the jar, with just the very bottom of them touching the water. You’ll still have quite a bit of the cutting in the jar, but only the bottom portion should be in the water.

small glass jar with pebbles, water and Christmas Cactus Cuttings

4. and wait.

Place the jar with the cuttings in a window so that it gets indirect sunlight. You should see roots growing in about 1-3 weeks. In the meantime, keep an eye on the water level in the jar and add more water as needed.  You want to be sure to keep the cutting watered.

5. Ready to Transplant.

I like to wait until the roots are maybe ¼ – ½” long before planting. Once you have roots, select a small flower pot (Christmas Cactus like to be crowded). Fill the bottom of the pot with pebbles for drainage and then fill with a potting soil mix for succulents. Plant each cutting about 1” deep in soil and water.

Christmas cactus cuttings in white flower pot

6. How To Care for a Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus like bright but indirect light. And keep in mind that they are a tropical cactus and not a desert cactus. When watering the plant, thoroughly water it. Check the soil to see that the top inch is dry before watering again. And, be sure to mist the leaves from time to time as well as watering the soil.

A Christmas Cactus in full bloom in a flower pot

7. fertilize.

Although fertilizing is really a part of the ongoing care of your Christmas Cactus, I wanted to mention that you really need to wait until your transplant is 2-3 weeks old before fertilizing. Then, simply use any houseplant fertilizer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also, they should only be fertilized two to three times a year. But, DON’T fertilizer after mid-October. You can resume fertilizing the plant after it has finished blooming.

MORE INFORMATION ON CARING FOR CHRISTMAS CACTUS

Christmas cactus plant with blooms

There’s a lot more you can do with your Christmas Cactus like forcing it to bloom or making it wait to bloom. And you’ll probably want to repot your Christmas Cactus every 2-3 years, just to give it a little more room to grow. 

Here are some sources for great information on caring for your Christmas Cactus:

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What’s Next? 

If you enjoyed this tutorial on How to Propagate Christmas Cactus, be sure and check out these other ideas on The Birch Cottage blog:

Garden Themed Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Gardener’s Sugar Scrub

Gardener's Sugar Hand Scrub Labels by The Birch Cottage

Jalapeno Jelly Recipe

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