Do Christmas Cactus flower more than once a year? My Christmas Cactus is blooming again in February, and I explain how it happened here.
Christmas Cactus are extremely popular when November and December roll around. I happen to like them even when they’re not in bloom and think they make fine houseplants. But wait, did you know that they can repeat flower? Mine started re-blooming in February, so yes, Christmas Cactus do flower more than once a year.
Let’s get a bit technical for those of you who geek out on all things plant like me. The Christmas Cactus that you see here and in the video is actually a Thanksgiving (or Crab) Cactus. It was labeled as a CC when I bought it and that’s how it’s commonly sold in the trade. Nowadays you may see them labeled as Holiday Cactus. Regardless of which one you have, they can re-bloom more than once a year.
My Christmas (Thanksgiving, Holiday) Cactus in bloom again:
I’ve gotten a few comments on reader’s Christmas Cacti flowering more than once a year and questions as to whether this was “normal” or not. Some people’s flower again and some don’t. What causes them to bloom again? I’ll share with you the conditions mine has been in and what I’ve done.
Here’s how my Thanksgiving Cactus looked last November. This winter repeat bloom is much sparser.
First off, I haven’t purposefully done anything to cause the re-blooming. I’ve found that some plants, like Hoyas, flower when they darn well please. The conditions I’ve had it growing in have most likely caused it. My cactus was sitting on my kitchen counter when it was in bloom for our viewing pleasure.
It stopped blooming in early December and I left it in that spot when I went to San Francisco to do a Christmas decorating job. When I got home in mid-month, I moved it into an east-facing window in my office. Because I live in the Arizona desert, it won’t be growing in that spot much past May – too hot!
There’s copious amounts of sun here in Tucson so the Christmas Cactus got ample light during the day. I’m out of my office by 4 so it received at least 12 hours of total darkness each night. Another factor: I turn my heat down to 65 at night, and because it was on the window sill, the plant stayed cool.
There are redbuds popping their heads out of the leaf sections so I’ll have flowers for at least another month.
So that’s what I think did it – the combo of the almost equal amounts of light/dark and the cooler evening temperatures. I haven’t fed the plant at all but will nourish it my usual blend of worm compost and compost when I repot it after the blooming is finished. I back off on the watering frequency when my Christmas Cactus isn’t in bloom and water it about once a week when it is. They’re epiphytic cacti native to the rainforests and therefore require more water than desert cacti.
As you can see, the bloom at this time isn’t nearly as big as it was around Thanksgiving. The flowering is much more sporadic but lovely nonetheless. There are quite a few buds barely poking their heads out of many leaf sections so it should have flowers on it for at least another month or so. By the way, each flower seems to last 4-5 days. I gently twist them off when the bloom is starting to look bad.
Does your Thanksgiving or Christmas Cactus bloom more than once a year? Please fill us in – inquiring horticultural minds want to know!
More on Christmas Cactus:
You can find more houseplant info in my simple and easy to digest houseplant care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive
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