How to Propagate Christmas Cactus?

Coming home to a lovely sight of blooming Christmas Cactus is unbeatable. And you can have as many Christmas cactuses as you want (for free!) which is great news.

All you have to do is propagate at the appropriate time every time.

Sounds difficult?

Just keep reading this post and you’ll be opening your specialized Christmas cactus store soon!

If you want.

Or you can keep them all to yourself!

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But perhaps you’re hesitant to propagate your Christmas cactus since you don’t know how to do it without causing damage to the mother plant. The truth is that propagating isn’t tough at all. In this post, you will learn everything about how to propagate Christmas Cactus.

This is because, if properly planted, Christmas cactus grows roots quickly, and you don’t need to be an expert to lose some stems from your plant to grow new ones! Let’s get started.

How to propagate a Christmas Cactus (and how NOT to)

In nature, Christmas Cactus survive by attaching themselves to trees.

This means they enjoy humid climate and can thrive even when separated from their natural habitat and planted in a suitable location.

As a result, understanding the physical structure of a Christmas cactus and all that it needs to thrive is very important when propagating it. But how to propagate Christmas cactuses the right way?

The only way to propagate Christmas cactuses is through the cutting of stems for fresh rooting.

The stacked segments of Christmas cactus are made up of flat but thick leaves.

As a result, there are a number of stem layers to consider when cutting off stems for fresh rooting in order for your plant to produce new roots.

When to Propagate Christmas Cactuses?

However, before you get our hands dirty, it’s critical to understand when it’s the best time to propagate Christmas cactuses.

This cactus derives its name from the fact that it blooms around the Christmas season. When it stops blooming in the spring, this plant goes dormant.

A month or two after the blooming season is the ideal time to repot your cactus, and a month or two after that is the best time to propagate it.

🌱 Important: Aside from the fact that this phase prepares the fresh stem to establish root in preparation for the next blooming period, cutting stems from a Christmas cactus when they’re blooming is dangerous and can be detrimental to the plant. Avoid the urge to be a rebel and wait. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya!

🌱 It’s also not a good idea to propagate your plant when it’s about to blossom in the fall. If propagated during these times, your Christmas cactus may experience stunted growth and may fail to bloom at the appropriate time.

Cutting Stem Segments off your Christmas Cactus – Step by Step + crucial tips

The next step is to choose the proper number of segments after waiting for the right moment to propagate.

In most cases, two to six segments are sufficient to start a new plant.

Make a Y-shaped cut at the place where you’re ripping the segments off in the future. This is frequently done in the hopes that when the new root is planted, it would grow faster between the formed cuts.

This isn’t so important, as you may simply pinch off the parts. The main goal here is to remove two to six segments from your resting cactus plant.

🌱 One thing most people might not know is: You should also avoid planting the parts right after they’ve been cut. When you plant freshly cut pieces of a Christmas cactus, you are exposing them to decay rather than allowing them to root properly.

Air-dry the segments for one or two days to ensure optimal roots. This time is required for the segments to recover or dry out at the point where they were cut before they are replanted.

You don’t need to wait 48 hours before planting or rooting the segments, since the time it takes for them to dry might vary depending on the weather and climate where you live.

At this point, you’ll need to pay close attention and observe them, because you don’t want your segments to wither before you plant. So don’t be an irresponsible mom or dad and try not to get distracted on Youtube or Tiktok for too long. Watch your babies!

As a result, after you observe that your cut segments have dried sufficiently, which could take anywhere from a few hours to two days depending, you can go ahead and root them.

Yay!

Rooting the Segments of Xmas Cactus – Two methods

Choosing the proper pot is the first step in rooting the dried-out portions. Water circulation and the pot’s drainage system are only two of the many important factors to consider when choosing the perfect pot.

When it comes to rooting new segments or repotting your Christmas cactus, clay pots are great.

You should be aware that even young segments will require repotting after a while, usually after a year when they have accumulated enough congested, or crowded, roots, so start with a tiny pot with an inner depth of around two inches.

First method

🌱 A simpler manner to root fresh segments is by filling a tiny glass jar with stones, most likely granite, and then filling the container with water.

🌱 Fill the jar only halfway with water, just enough to submerge a few stones. The segments should then be placed in the jar, but not directly into the water; instead, they should rest on the unsubmerged stones while having a tiny contact with the water.

🌱 Allow the jar to sit in a shady area of your home for a few days to see how quickly it evaporates.

In a few days, you’ll find a perfectly crowded new root, ready to be temporarily potted in a decent soil mix.

But instead of waiting for the humidity from the water and stone to produce new roots, you can plant the dried off segments directly into a light mix, which is a faster way.

This method requires the use of the proper first pot. Half of the coco coir and half of the perlite should be used in the light mix, which should be enough to fill the little pot.

After that, bury your piece at least an inch deep in the light mix, starting at the cut point.

Second method

🌱 The water and stone method, on the other hand, allows ideally tendered root to form beneath your segment, which is healthy enough to ensure perfect Christmas cactus development.

🌱 After detecting a grouped root, you can pot it into a soil mix. You can use either the cactus mix potting soil or standard potting soil mixed with half the perlite.

🌱 While filling the container with soil, make sure to raise the gathered root at least a half-inch above the bottom. This will keep the gathered root well cushioned on a soil mix, as well as appropriately covered.

Storing a Newly Potted Segment

Now that your baby is all comfy in its new pot, it needs care. How to care for a newly potted Christmas cactus successfully?

For starters, Christmas cactuses prefer locations with enough cover yet just enough light. As a result, you should completely avoid placing newly planted segments directly in the sun or outside.

The leaves will be burned and the segments will dry out if exposed to direct sunlight.

And that’s plant cruelty.

Because they should be kept in little pots, humid places such as your kitchen cabinets would be the right spot for them.

If you have adequate light and humidity in your laundry room, you can also put them there. Just make sure the newly potted Christmas cactuses segments have enough natural light and humidity in all you do.

🌡 To be more precise, temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 and 21 degrees Celsius) are ideal for fragile Christmas cactus. Feeling like a professional gardener yet?

💡 If you are unsure where this temperature range exists in your home and also if you live in an excessively hot area, here’s an idea: you can acquire a tray and cover it with stones.

💡 Place the pot on the pebbles after adding enough water to the tray.

The goal is to maintain humidity, not drown the baby plants, therefore, don’t let the pot sink into the water.

Watering and Fertilizing Christmas Cactus The Right Way

When you’re rooting new segments of a Christmas cactus, you’ll need humidity and light. Never completely submerge the plant in water. If your new xmas cactus is in a pot with good drainage, you can spritz it once a day or as often as necessary to keep it damp but NOT saturated.

In the event of a watering error that causes rot, a decent pot with proper drainage will assist balance the water saturation level. You can also get a spray bottle to help you keep track of how much water you’re giving your plant.

You can also use a very moderate houseplant fertilizer in addition to watering. But remember that fertilizers should not be used as regularly as watering.

You should only fertilize once a week, at most.

🌼 You should also keep watering and fertilizing often during the summer and spring to keep humidity moderate and speed up growth.

❄️When it comes to winter, though, you should keep your plant drier, since it will retain more moisture naturally. If you must water your Christmas cactus during winter, do it sparingly, perhaps once every five weeks, if at all, after checking how moist the soil is.

Conclusion

There is nothing more satisfying than watching a well-cared-for Christmas cactus bloom and being like: “I did this, yeeeeahh!”

While it is nice to purchase these plants from a nursery and then repot them, it is even better when they produce more lovely plants that you can share with others.

Photo: Polly.

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