Christmas cacti are sold almost everywhere during the holiday season, making them a very popular houseplant. These succulents are long-lived and grow at a steady, moderate pace. Here's how to propagate the Christmas cactus to have more plants of your own or to give away.
If they are happy and blooming with happy flowers, chances are you will be asked to share the love. Propagating Christmas cacti from cuttings is as easy as a simple twist. Getting a new plant is child's play!
Other Useful Christmas Cactus Guides:How to grow Christmas cacti,Frequently asked questions about caring for Christmas cacti,How to Transplant Natal Cacti,How to get your Christmas cactus to bloom again,What Causes Christmas Cactus Leaves to Turn Orange?,Does a Christmas cactus bloom more than once a year?
How to propagate Christmas cacti
Monitoring:The Christmas cactus I'm promoting here and in the video is actually a Thanksgiving (or crab) cactus. It was marked CC when I bought it, and that's how it's usually sold in stores.
These days you see them referred to as holiday cacti. Regardless of which ones you have, spread them aroundepiphytic cactialso inclOyster cactus.
Schlumbergera truncata: Thanksgiving Cactus, False Christmas Cactus, or Crab Cactus
Schlumbergera bridgesii: Natal-Cactus
when to spread
I get the best results by propagating a Christmas cactus 1-2 months after the flowering period has ended. I do this in late spring into summer.
You want to avoid propagating yours in the fall while the plant is flowering and of course during the flowering period. After all, you don't want to miss out on any of these beautiful flowers!
Christmas cacti do not have an extensive root system. If you're not taking a lot of seedlings, a 4-inch pot is fine for your stem seedlings.
The method that has always been foolproof and easiest for me is to put cuttings in the potting soil. So I will illustrate it here. I know many people have had success rooting cuttings in water as well.
Dividing your Christmas cactus is another option if it's big enough. It's quite easy to craft, but be careful because these sticks break easily!
The last method I know of is through seeds. I've never propagated a CC this way, but it takes longer.
Steps to propagate Christmas cacti from cuttings
Gather your materials.
I take cuttings with 2 to 6 leaf segments (also called stem segments). You can also sow a single segment.
Capture the segments that make you stand out. You should also hold the segment attached to the mother plant you are taking it from. Twist the segments together (works well either way) and they should immediately come loose.
Make sure you get the entire thread so it can root successfully.
Allow the twisted ends of the seedlings to heal at the base (by exposing them to air, just like a wound) for a few hours to two days. I plant the seedlings after a day or two.
Christmas cactus leaves are slightly fleshy because they retain water. As with other succulents, curing the seedlings (out of direct sunlight) before planting will help prevent any threat of rot.
Be sure to plant the healed end that was attached to the nut into the mix.
Moisten the mixture well. The cuts are usually pretty soft, so I dig notches about 1/2 to 1″ deep. How deep depends on how long your cuts are. i use onemini spatula(one of my favorite tools for propagation) but a spoon or chopstick would work just as well.
Place your cuttings in the mix just enough to stand up. If you wish, you can plant them nearby. You may have to fiddle with them a bit to keep them upright.
Fill around the cuttings with the mixture. I dab the mixture lightly around the cuts so they stand up and don't fall out.
That's it - simple as can be!
Video instructions for propagating Christmas cacti:
Solo de Cactos de Natal
Fill a pot with drainage holes (doesn't need to be deep) with potting soil. It's a good idea to use a light, well-aerated mix to allow those thin roots to develop easily.
The succulent and cactus mix is also good for propagating your stem cuttings. I used a blend of local cacti and succulents in the video above, which is a combination of shredded coconut and large chunks of pumice.
now i'm doing mineMake your own mix of succulents and cacti🇧🇷 I use it to propagate and repot succulents and cacti indoors and outdoors.
Here are some of our houseplant guides that you might find useful: Instructions for watering indoor plants,Beginner's Guide to Repotting Plants,3 ways to successfully fertilize indoor plants,How to clean indoor plants,Care instructions for indoor plants in winter,How to increase humidity for indoor plants.
Where to place your seedlings
Place them in a place with bright light but out of direct sunlight. Make sure it's not too hot or too cold. I put mine in the laundry room which gets good indirect light from the skylight.
How to water cuttings
You don't want to keep them too wet or let them dry out. I prefer to spray the mixture until the top of the soil (about 1 inch) is wet. Spray again when almost dry.
As the cuttings form new roots, you can water them deeper. A small watering can or ajuicy watering can soit would work too.
When do roots appear?
Of course, once the cuttings are in the soil mix, you cannot see any rooting effect. I made a cut once around the 3 week mark and a small root showed up.
If you transplant your seedlings, they should be ready after 3 months. Smaller cuttings can last at least a year in a 4 inch pot in which they were propagated. Since the roots are so thin, I recommend the latter.
Are you looking for more information? We've got you covered with this postCaring for Christmas cacti.
Christmas Cactus Propagation Lessons
Christmas cacti and Thanksgiving cacti are propagated in other ways besides pot cuttings. Division of mother plant, seeds (this takes a long time for me!) and cuttings in water.
Make sure your Christmas cactus cuttings are in an area with indirect sunlight while they heal. A warm spot is fine as long as the cuttings aren't exposed to direct sun.
Christmas cacti do not have an extensive root system. A small pot or even one6 packworks for propagation.
Do not compost or fertilize your seedlings while they are rooting. You still don't need it.
Many cuttings will benefit from being covered with plastic to create a greenhouse effect. This is not necessary with a Holiday Cactus.
Christmas cacti prefer to grow a little cramped in their pots. The seedlings can stay in their pot or seed tray for at least a year, so you don't have to rush to transplant.
Christmas cactusThey are very easy to propagate from cuttings, so give it a try. And with a simple tap or 2, you're on your way!
Note: This post was originally published on11/18/2018. It was updated on 12/11/2022 with new images and more information.