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Please help my Xmas Cactus!!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by rozy221 on November 18, 2004 06:46 AM
I'm very upset with my cactus-I don't know what's going on with it. [dunno] When I bought it, it had a lot of buds on it. I stuck it in a fairly dark, cool room for a couple of weeks and didn't water it, and it was doing pretty good. Then i moved it to a north window on a radiator, and watered about once a week. It started looking like the littlest buds were just drying up, and the bigger buds weren't growing. So I moved it to a very bright, cooler room, and now I keep losing buds! [Eek!] Every day there are more buds lying in the pot! Please help! I was so excited to get this plant. I had 3 flowers so far, and they're so pretty-I'll be really disappointed if it doesn't make it! [Eek!] [wayey]
by Ann1 on November 18, 2004 07:43 AM
Hi Rozy,

It sounds like you may have hurt the plant by having it close to the radiator. Sometimes just moving a plant can hurt it. I would also only water it when the soil feels dry. There are probably many other factors that could have affected it.

I've had several Christmas cacti and had great luck with a few. These were the ones I left in a rarely used room. I don't remember how much light they had--I had a window with a ESE exposure where I kept my houseplants, but also had it hanging at times in a corner where the light was primarily from the south. Watering was usually about once a week, but sometimes it didn't need water.

The first year we were there I was shocked when I went into the room and there was a most beautiful cactus in full bloom. So I quickly brought it into the living room where it could be enjoyed.

Don't give up. You may not get all the blooms this year, but benign neglect for a year or two should help--but keep away from radiators.

by rozy221 on November 18, 2004 03:48 PM
Thank you Ann! I was kinda thinking it might have something to do with the radiator, seeing as the buds seemed to be drying up. This is a tough one though, because i have radiators in front of all my windows, except for where I have it now, but that's in the kids' playroom. I guess I'll take my chances with it in there and see what happens. Thanks for your reply-wish me luck! [wayey]
by Will Creed on November 20, 2004 04:19 AM
Hi Rozy,

I think you have misunderstood or been misinformed about Xmas cacti. There is a period in the fall when they do need cool temps and dark NIGHTS in order to induce them to set buds. However, once the buds are set, keeping them dry and in the dark is sure to cause the buds to drop off. The heat from the radiator merely aggravated the problem.

I have writtten an article on the year-round care of holiday flowering plants (Poinsettia, Xmas cactus, and Amaryllis) that I will e-mail to anyone who e-sends me an e-mail request.

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