Christmas Cactus, unlike traditional cactus plants, does not require high temperatures to thrive. This is more of a holiday plant, with bright blooms that make it a pleasant sight in the dead of winter. Botanically known as Schlumbergera x buckleyi, it is also sometimes recognized as the Thanksgiving cactus.
Growing Christmas cactus is a simple and rewarding process. You can propagate this plant for your personal collection and share it with your loved ones during the holiday season. This plant can be propagated both in soil and in water. This post will discuss how to propagate Christmas cactus in water using some simple steps. The steps below can help you propagate your Christmas cactus easily and successfully.
However, let us begin our journey by learning the fundamentals of this plant.
Christmas Cactus: The Basics
Christmas cactus is a tropical plant native to Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. Like any other holiday cactus plant, Christmas cactus can be propagated indoors during any time of year. However, as summer approaches, you should transplant or relocate it outside. Your Christmas cactus will thrive and live for decades if properly cared for.
However, before we start propagating it, let’s go over the fundamentals of the plant. This would allow us to learn more about this holiday plant and better accommodate its growing requirements.
Also Read:- 21 Types of Cactus Plants With Pictures
|Common Name||Christmas Cactus|
|Botanical Name||Schlumbergera x buckleyi|
|Growing Zones||10–12 (USDA)|
|Soil Needs||Moist, well-drained, loamypH- 5.0 to 7.0|
|Blooming Time||Late fall, early winter|
|Flower Colors||Common- pink, red, magenta, white, or purpleUncommon- cream, salmon, peach, orange|
|Mature Size||6–12 in. tall12–24 in. wide|
Propagating Christmas Cactus in Water
This section is the crux of this post. Although Christmas cactus can also be propagated in the soil, growing it in water would offer a different experience. Also, this is one of the fastest ways to propagate Christmas cactus. So, let’s take the “hydro route” to grow this holiday plant. But first, let’s gather the items required for hydro propagation of the Christmas cactus.
Items Required to Propagate Christmas Cactus in Water
- Small knife or scalpel
- Vase or jar with filled water
- Cutting of a healthy Christmas cactus
Propagate Christmas Cactus in Water: Step by Step Guidance
- Choose a mature Christmas cactus with a healthy stem.
- Clean the knife or scalpel and make a short, Y-shaped cut from the tip of the stem.
- Make sure to cut a stem with at least two or three joined segments.
Note: Wait 2-3 days to let the cutting heal before submerging it in the water.
- Fill the jar with at least a two-inch layer of marbles or pebbles.
- Fill a jar, vase, or another rooting vessel with water to cover the stones.
- Put the cut portion of the stem in water until the bottom tip is immersed in water.
- Place the jar or vase in a well-lit area that gets indirect sunlight.
Note: You can keep the jar near a windowsill that received partial sunlight.
- Do not disturb the immersed stem until new roots of at least 1-2 inches in length appear.
- If the nodes are no longer submerged, re-water the entire arrangement.
- When you see long roots after 6-8 weeks, transplant your Christmas cactus into a pot filled with well-drained potting mix.
- Keep the soil moist and only water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry.
- Maintain the plant in a humid environment.
- Maintain a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
- After blooming, fertilize as needed until the fall.
When the summer months arrive, you can move your Christmas cactus outside. First, however, take precautions to reduce transplant shock.
Note: It should be noted that transplanting Christmas cactus from water to soil can be a delicate process. As a result, exercise extreme caution when propagating and transplanting the plant.
Pro Tip: Leave the stem dry after it has been cut. Keep it out of direct sunlight and allow it to dry until the leaf becomes thinner. This will allow you to form a good callus, which is essential for the plant’s successful water propagation. However, ensure that the plant is submerged before the leaves wrinkle.
Other Propagation Methods
Other than the hydro propagation method, one can also adopt two other methods-
- Propagating Upright in Soil
- Propagating Flat
1. Propagating Upright in Soil
It is best to propagate in the soil if you have an intact larger stem cutting. This propagation method is also very simple and does not require any transplantation. As a result, your newly grown plant will be less susceptible to shock.
Allow the stem to dry for 1-2 days after cutting it. Keep it out of direct sunlight and inspect the stem for wrinkles. After the initial waiting period, you can plant the new cutting in fresh potting soil. It is preferable to use cactus and succulent-friendly soil. Place the cut side deep into the soil, covering the bottom pad. Wait 2-3 weeks for the roots to form after lightly watering the plant.
2. Propagating Flat
This is another method of soil propagation, but it is best suited for small stem cuttings. If the bottom pad of the stem cutting is broken, this method is also appropriate.
The initial preparation after cutting the stem is similar to what we discussed previously. The only difference is that instead of planting the stem in the soil, place it horizontally on top of it. Again, make sure to use a cactus and succulent soil mix with this method.
One critical point to look for in this method is direct and proper contact between the soil and the point where the two cactus pads meet. The new roots would sprout from here. Wait 2-3 weeks after placing the stem in the soil for the roots to emerge.
Note: Do not overwater the stem and keep it dry to avoid rotting—wet only the soil, not the cutting.
Also Read:- How to Propagate Prayer Plant and Care for Them?
The Right Time to Propagate Christmas Cactus
It is relatively simple to propagate the Christmas cactus. However, knowing the proper season for propagation would result in a successful propagation method. And the best time to propagate this holiday plant is in late spring, when the cactus has emerged from its winter hibernation and has finished blooming completely.
How Long Does it Take to Propagate Christmas Cactus?
When propagating the Christmas cactus, patience is required. Roots do not grow overnight.
The approximate time for the stem to root in water is 6-8 weeks. When you notice roots forming, it’s time to transplant your newly-rooted cuttings into soil. This is possibly the most difficult part. We’d also like to point out that your first propagation attempt may be unsuccessful. The entire procedure is trial and error. But perseverance should lead to success, so be patient.
Here are some important facts and queries to understand propagating Christmas Cactus.
- Can Christmas cactus be propagated in soil?
Ans. Yes, you can propagate your Christmas cactus in soil by planting the cut stem directly into the soil and laying the stem horizontally on top of the soil. For more information, see the sections above where we mentioned other methods of propagating Christmas cactus.
- Can I propagate Christmas cactus from a broken piece?
Ans. Yes, a Christmas cactus can easily be propagated from a broken or cut stem
- Can I propagate Christmas Cactus from seeds?
Ans. It’s a fun way to grow Christmas cactus from seeds. To ensure the successful propagation of this plant, dry the collected leaves and immediately sow them.
- Is it convenient to root Christmas cactus?
Ans. It is very simple to root a Christmas cactus if you follow all of the propagation instructions. Read the post above to learn more about the various methods for rooting and propagating this holiday cactus
- Is Christmas cactus toxic?
Ans. Christmas cacti are non-toxic to pets, according to the ASPCA. This plant is also safe for humans.
This brings us to the end of this article. If the above 14 steps are followed, you will be able to propagate a Christmas cactus plant successfully. It is not difficult, but keep in mind that the roots that grow through water propagation are very delicate. As a result, the newly rooted plant may experience transplant shock if proper precautions are not taken. As a result, patience and perseverance are essential when using the hydro-propagating method for the Christmas cactus.