How to Get a Christmas Cactus to Rebloom

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I’ve had my Christmas cactus for about 2 and a half years. It was blooming when I bought it but hadn’t bloomed since. Then this winter I managed to get it to bloom.

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I wasn’t trying to get it to bloom when it did. I was trying to get rid of spider mites, read about that here. It didn’t get buds immediately after the spider mite treatment, but it was fairly soon afterward.

Prior to getting the Christmas cactus to rebloom, I had looked up the process online. Every website I found said that I had to give the Christmas cactus 12 to 14 hours of darkness a day for several weeks.

I took this to mean that it needed 12 to 14 hours of complete darkness in order to bloom. I didn’t think I had anywhere in my house that I could leave it where it would get that much darkness, so I gave up hope of it reblooming ever in my house.

Then the spider mites. I treated all my plants to make sure I didn’t have a re-infestation if I missed a plant that had some on it. In order to make sure I didn’t miss any plants, I moved them all downstairs. The process took 3 to 4 weeks, all of which the plants were kept downstairs.

My house is a split level, so my downstairs is only about half underground and has full-size windows. This means the room still gets plenty of light during the day, but not much direct sunlight during the winter.

As it was late November/early December, there was daylight, but limited. To ensure that my plants got enough light, I turned the lights on at about 4 pm and they stayed on until around 9 pm. The lights were also on most mornings for about an hour.

Another thing that I found was needed was cool temperatures, like 60°F, and that just isn’t happening in my house on a consistent basis. My downstairs does stay cooler than my upstairs and it averages between 62 and 67°F. That’s a little warmer than what I had found but pretty close.

So, between the daylight and the lights being on, the Christmas cactus received about 13 hours of light and 11 hours of darkness. It’s a little less than others say but close.

I also didn’t water the Christmas cactus at all during this time, except for the weekly showers too for the spider mite treatment. The research I found said to limit my watering, but it didn’t seem to matter. Though I only showered the plant once a week, it was still mostly wet at the next showering.

The research I did had made it seem like I couldn’t get the Christmas cactus to rebloom, but this experience showed me that I can. It’s definitely not as hard as I thought, but not as easy as some other plants.

Things needed to get a Christmas cactus to rebloom:

  • About 12 hours of darkness. Complete darkness isn’t necessary the whole time, but at least 10 to 11 hours of complete darkness.
  • Cooler room temperatures. Somewhere between 60 and 65°F, but occasional increases to 68°F is ok.
  • Water a little less than normal may help but doesn’t seem to be necessary.

I hope these tips help you get your Christmas cactus to rebloom for you. They are so pretty when they flower, and I look forward to getting it to rebloom next year. Have you gotten a Christmas cactus to rebloom?

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