You can find Christmas Cactus sold practically everywhere during the holiday season making them a very popular blooming houseplant. These succulents are long-lasting (if properly cared for of course) and grow along at a steady, moderate pace. Once they’re happy and burgeoning forth, you’ll most likely be asked to share the love. To propagate Christmas Cactus by stem cuttings with 1 easy twist, and plant them too. It’s a snap!
The Christmas Cactus that you seeing me propagating 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, you propagate these epiphytic cacti in the same manner.
How to propagate Christmas Cactus by stem cuttings:
When to propagate Christmas Cactus:
The best time to propagate a Christmas Cactus is 1-2 months after it’s finished blooming. You want to avoid propagating it in fall while setting bloom & of course during the flowering period. You don’t want to miss a single one of those beautiful blooms after all!
How to propagate Christmas Cactus:
The method that’s always been foolproof for me is by stem cuttings in the mix.
I take cuttings that are 2 – 6 leaf segments (a segment is the whole rectangular joint) long.
Hold on to the segments you are taking off. You should also hold onto the segment attached to the mother plant that you’re taking them off of. Twist off the segments (either way, works fine), and they should snap right off. Make sure you get the part at the base where it attached for it to root successfully.
Let your cuttings heal over (dry off) at the base for a few hours up to 2 days. I usually plant them after 1 day.
The cuttings all planted up. They tend to dry out fast in this light mix so keep your eye on them.
Fill a pot (it doesn’t have to be deep) with a light mix. A combination of 1/2 coco coir & 1/2 perlite would be fine. In case you don’t know, coco coir is an environmentally friendly alternative to peat moss. I used a locally produced cactus & succulent mix which is a combo of coco coir chips & large pieces of pumice.
Wet the mix thoroughly & then dig indents about 1/2 – 1″ deep. How deep depends on how long your cuttings are. I use a mini-trowel (1 of my fav tools for propagating) to do this but a spoon or chopstick would work fine too.
Stick your cuttings into the mix just deep enough to get them to stand up. You can plant them close if you’d like. You may have to fiddle with them a bit so they stay upright. I lightly pack the mix down around the cuttings to help with that.
A Thanksgiving Cactus with salmon flowers. This one’s so pretty I want more!
Where to put your cuttings:
Place them in a spot with bright light but no direct sun. Make sure it’s not too warm to too cool. I put mine in the laundry room which gets nice overhead light from the skylight.
How to water the cuttings:
You don’t want to keep them too wet or let them dry out. I prefer to spray the mix until the top 1″ or so is moist. Spray again when almost dry. As the cuttings root in, you can water them deeper. A small watering can or a succulent watering bottle like this would work do the trick too.
For you fans of white flowers at the holidays; peaceful & beautiful.
Good to know:
Christmas & Thanksgiving Cacti also root by division, seed (this takes way too long for me!) & supposedly by cuttings in water. I’ve never done the later. How about you? Has it worked?
Be sure to keep your cuttings out of direct sun while they’re healing over.
Don’t compost or fertilize your cuttings while they’re rooting. They don’t need it yet.
Many cuttings benefit by covering them with plastic to create a greenhouse effect. This isn’t necessary with a Holiday Cactus.
Christmas Cactus are very easy to propagate by stem cuttings so be sure to give it a go. And with an easy twist or 2, you’ll be on your way!