Christmas

How to make a Christmas cactus bloom – so it lasts all year round

Why a Christmas cactus isn't just for the holiday season...

Christmas cactus
(Image credit: Getty Images)

How do you make a Christmas cactus bloom again? If you love the pretty, colorful flowers of the Christmas cactus when it blooms from November to January, but want to make the most of it at other times of the year, don't despair – all you have to do is learn how to make a Christmas cactus bloom again and again to appreciate this succulent even after your Christmas decor ideas come down.

Once you've learnt how to grow a Christmas cactus, there are some easy tips and tricks you can take from the experts to 'force' the plant to bloom again.

We've rounded up top tips on watering, lighting and the perfect temperature below so you can enjoy your Christmas cactus all year round.

When does the Christmas Cactus usually bloom? 

Christmas cactus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This Christmas cactus is a winter-bloomer and comes into flower from November through January. 

How many times a year will a Christmas cactus bloom? 

The Christmas cactus will bloom typically once, however, you can prompt your plant into flowering again in spring with the correct conditions

How to make a Christmas cactus bloom

Keira Kay, Bloom & Wild plant expert, explains how to make a Christmas cactus bloom: 'For a second flowering, you will need to reduce the amount of light it's subject to each day, ensuring it’s in the dark 12-14hrs, and stored in a cool room, with a temperature around 50-54ºF (10-12ºC). 

'You would also need to cut back on watering, being careful to only water the top inch, and only watering again when it's dry to the touch, this change in conditions will force the plant into a dormancy period – which is vital for new spring flowers.'

Rachel Martin, of Patch Plants, adds: 'Christmas cactus likes quite a cool temperature and will produce more flowers if kept below about 68ºF (20°C), so keep her well clear of radiators.'

How long will it take a Christmas cactus to bloom again?

'It’ll take six to eight weeks for buds to appear, and a further eight to 12 to come into full bloom,' says that Keira Kay. 'Each flower should last from five to seven days, whereas the flowering period of the plant itself can last for three to six weeks.'

Why does my Christmas cactus bloom but not bud?

The reasons that cause Christmas cactuses to bloom but not bud include: rooms that are too hot, too cold or drafty; overwatering; and too many buds. 

If a Christmas cactus is sitting in wet soil, it may begin to suffer root rot. Ideally, you can allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again – and ensure the pot's drainage is good. Otherwise you may want to consider repotting the Christmas cactus to a more suitable container. 

As for room temperature, second budding requires a cooler room than first budding – 50-54ºF (10-12ºC) for second budding; between 60-70ºF (15-21ºC) for the first budding. 

And if the plant is too full, consider pruning it – remove older stems at the base. 

Ruth Doherty

Ruth Doherty is an interiors writer who has worked for Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home magazines among many others.