Houseplant: Expert shares ‘important’ tips for caring for a Christmas cacti

David Domoney provides advice on popular houseplants

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The Christmas cactus gained its name due to the time it flowers, which is over the festive period. It is a delicate-looking cactus with bright flowers in small round shapes, which makes them popular houseplants. The Christmas cactus grows on trees or rocks in the wild and is used to high humidity levels, which can be hard to replicate at home.

Experts at Essential Living have shared their top tips on taking care of a Christmas cacti throughout the festive period.

The most important tip they suggested was to make sure the cacti is placed where it can receive the most light.

The gardening experts said: “When caring for your Christmas cactus, one of the most important things to get right is where you position it in your home, to help it thrive. 

“During the day, a Christmas cactus will need plenty of morning sun and bright light. 

“Therefore choose a spot in the morning that faces the sun to take advantage of the low light and take care not to scorch them with direct sunlight during lunchtime.

“When it comes to the evening time, this plant isn’t like most houseplants. 

“Being native to the Brazilian rainforest, it must have complete darkness at night for at least 13 hours. Therefore it is important to not place it in a room that has artificial lighting in the evening time. 

“A blacked out storage is ideal for optimal growth.”

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The plant loves light during the day, but needs total darkness in the evening.

The gardening experts added: “Cacti love humidity, so if your house has dry air, try spraying mist regularly or putting the plant in a dish with water-filled pebbles.

The plant doesn’t like to dry out completely but also cannot be left sat in water because this could lead to root rot.

They added: “The pebbles will keep the plant from becoming soggy and water increases surrounding humidity. 

To help prevent overwatering, owners should mist the houseplant everyday.

They said: “Fortunately, cacti hardly ever need watering, but when the soil feels dry ideally you should drench it with water and let the excess water drain through the plant.”

Christmas cacti can have a few physical problems if it is not watered enough. 

The experts commented: “If a Christmas cactus doesn’t get enough water, its flower buds can drop before they even open, therefore providing a significant amount of water at this early stage is important. 

“Once the plant is in bloom, you can start to water it more often to maintain healthy growth.”

Although this plant loves the heat, avoid placing them next to radiators or fireplaces when on.

Garden experts at Essential Living said: “Always avoid putting your cactus near a hot fireplace or radiator which will suck the moisture from the air. 

“Feeding the plant with good-quality indoor plant fertiliser is also helpful here during its flowering period.”

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