Christmas cactus is an aesthetically beautiful cactus blooming during winters. It feels peace just by witnessing it blooming in the dormant period when most plants are resting.
They bloom only when they have matured but with some conditions in check. If your Christmas cactus is not blooming, you must have missed its ideal requirements. Let’s find out why.
Christmas cactus will not bloom if the light, temperature, and watering needs are not met. Aging could also be a reason for the Christmas cactus not blooming. Provide your Christmas cactus with a temperature between 50°F-55°F and enough bright indirect light for the plant to bloom.
You need to ensure the ideal temperature and light for your Christmas cactus to allow it to form buds and later bloom. Proper nutrition and watering are also needed to expedite blooming.
You can fix the problem if you know what is going wrong. Be consistent with the required conditions till the blooming ends.
We will cover all the solutions and reasons why your Christmas cactus is not blooming and how to get it to bloom again.
6 reasons why your Christmas cactus is not blooming
Christmas cactus bloom during winters that emerge from tendrils creeping over the plant. The flowers grow at the leaf’s end, lasting 2-8 weeks. The plant looks more charming and magical when it blooms.
Some factors could stop your Christmas cactus from blooming, which you need to figure out to get your plant to bloom again.
Usually, you must have heard all plants require light to grow and bloom. But for Christmas cacti, you need to provide them with darkness for at least 12 hours in early October.
The Christmas cactus will never be able to set buds if they do not receive 12 hours of darkness cycle in October for about six weeks. The plant may be receiving too much light and messing with the darkness.
Direct light is never advised for your Christmas cactus; light all day in winter will hinder blooming. Due to too much light, the buds do not form in the beginning, and the plant suffers.
We can fix this if we know what our Christmas cactus need:
- Keep your Christmas cactus in darkness for 12 hours straight, starting in October. You can cover the plant with a cloth in the evening till morning.
- Keep the plant in a place where its dark cycle will not be disturbed, not even for some time. It will interrupt the cycle and affect blooming.
- You can provide them with indirect bright light during the day, but from evening till morning, darkness is required.
- This rule is applicable only during the holiday season as you want the plant to bloom. Please don’t take it as a rule to grow the plant throughout the year.
Also read: How Much Light Does My Christmas Cactus Need?
Christmas cacti are light feeders and will thrive in little feeding. If you over-fertilize, the plant may get stressed. Due to stress, all its functions are interrupted, and roots may burn too.
If you overfertilize your Christmas cactus during the growing season, the plant will suffer from problems like curling, drooping, yellowing, leaf drop, and stunted growth.
This also affects the plant’s blooming; if you continue to fertilize the Christmas cactus in winters, the chances of blooming are very low.
Do the following to fix this issue:
- Flush the soil with a strong stream of water to rinse salt buildup in the soil.
- Fertilize the Christmas cactus only during the growing season in 2 months gap from April to September.
- Use a balanced fertilizer to feed your Christmas cactus in half the recommended strength.
- Avoid fertilizing during winters and resume only from April after a month of blooming ends.
Also read: Do Christmas Cactus Need Fertilizer?
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Temperature shift is not good for the health of the Christmas cactus and affects its blooming too.
If you keep Christmas cactus at a high temperature in October and in the winters, the plant will never be able to bloom.
If you keep the plant at freezing temperature levels, the plant will go in shock and may even stop growing.
They need proper temperature levels to bloom, and temperature shifts affect blooming and disturb the plant’s functioning to stay in good health.
Since temperature is the key to making your Christmas cactus bloom, follow the steps below:
- When October begins, keep the plant in cooler temperatures, around 50°F-55°F
- A cooler temperature is required t allow the plant to start blooming.
- Don’t expose the plant to freezing and higher temperature levels. Protect them from cold and hot drafts.
Also read: How To Care For Christmas Cactus Plant?
Watering too much will hinder the blooming of the Christmas cactus. If you over-water your Christmas cactus, it will lead to root rot and attract bugs.
Due to overwatering, the plant becomes weak and cannot set buds that will hinder the plant’s blooming. As winter approaches, hold on to your love for watering your plant and water sparingly.
Overwatering at any time of the year is bad for the plant. The plant cannot breathe and become weak; a weak plant cannot bloom.
To keep watering right for your plant to bloom, do the following:
- Water Christmas cactus only when the soil is dry throughout the year.
- From October, limit your watering and water only to the top layer of the soil. Water the plant only when the soil is dry to touch.
- This helps the plant enter the dormancy period, and dormancy is vital for your Christmas cactus to bloom.
- As flowering starts, water the plant thoroughly when the soil is dry.
Also read: How Often To Water Christmas Cactus?
Christmas cactus needs good air circulation to stay healthy and bloom. If the plant is kept in poor air circulation, in groups, or in compact areas, the plant may attract pests. It may also stay moist for long, leading to root rot and diseases.
Due to bad circulation around the plant, it may not be able to bloom or support blooming. To help your Christmas cactus bloom, you need to keep the plant in good air circulation.
Do not group them with other plants. It not only blocks airflow but also supports humid conditions. Keeping them in the proper light and good airflow is crucial for good health and bloom.
Aging could be the reason for your Christmas cactus not blooming. This factor is something you cannot do anything about. All you can do is take good care of your Christmas cactus till they survive.
Also, the Christmas cactus has been known to bloom for decades. So if you are not taking proper care or not providing them with excellent care to bloom, then you can re-think. You may see your Christmas cactus blooming again by providing them with the right care.
Also read: How To Save A Dying Christmas Cactus?
Natural conditions of blooming
Under natural conditions, Christmas cactus bloom during winters. They form buds during October and flower in December. Blooming lasts for 4 – 8 weeks.
They need 1 hour of darkness and a temperature of around 50°F to bloom. The plant may not bloom if these conditions are not provided.
As you provide the plant with ideal conditions, you will see your Christmas cactus blooming fascinatingly. Be consistent to make sure the bloom lasts for weeks.
Useful Tips To Make Your Christmas Cactus Bloom
You might find blooming Christmas cactus even during summer. The secret is creating ideal conditions for the plant required to bloom.
Your Christmas cactus will bloom even during the non-blooming season. All you need to do to flower your Christmas cactus, irrespective of the season, is the following:
Keep your Christmas cactus at a temperature of around 50°F for a consistent period.
Keep the plant in 16 hours of darkness straight without interruption for 8 days. If you interrupt for even some time, then it cannot bloom.
Avoid keeping the plant in cold drafts, hot drafts, or any other heating systems. Keep the plant in ideal humidity and water when the soil is dry.
If provided with appropriate conditions, Christmas cactus blooms twice a year, producing majestic white flowers that can draw anyone’s attention. They usually bloom during the early winter season. Once bloomed, the flower lasts for 2-8 weeks, after which it eventually starts to turn brown and wilt.
Other reasons for your Christmas cactus not blooming
Fertilizing can inhibit blooming in your plant when they are not fertilized for a prolonged period, and the soil mix lacks nutrients as the nutrients have flushed out with watering. The plant lacks nutrients and the energy to form buds and bloom.
It may also happen if you repot your Christmas cactus frequently, as repotting stresses the plant. Repotting should be done only in a 4-5 years gap and not before that.
If you had to repot due to any emergency, take proper care of the plant after repotting. Repot in fresh soil mix and use a correct sized pot with the proper drainage system. It will help the plant recover from stress rapidly and prepare it to bloom.
Never repot when Christmas cactus is actively flowering. Repot in the early spring to encourage new growth.
Christmas cactus is famously known for blooming in winters. They are often a holiday gift to brighten your space and life.
If your Christmas cactus is not blooming during winters, then it may not be getting proper conditions. It would be best if you kept them in temperature levels around 50°F and 12 -6 hours of darkness without interruption to form buds.
Water the plant to keep the soil moist and not soggy. Providing 6 hours of light is also required to generate energy to grow flowers. Fertilize during the growing season to allow the plant to flower in winters.
Examine the plant closely to understand the problem and treat it accordingly. If you take proper care of this plant, you will notice it growing and blooming for decades.
Reference: NC State University, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County, Researchgate, Texas A&M University, Chicago Botanic Garden.