Christmas cacti: ‘Failure to bloom’ among the most common problems – how to fix

Gardeners' World: How to care for houseplants

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Christmas cacti, also known as schlumbergera, 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 that 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 common problem with cacti is down to their blooming.

The gardening experts commented: “The most common problems with cacti are failure to bloom or a very short blooming period with not many flowers produced. 

“This is caused by temperatures not being cool enough or the plant not receiving enough darkness at night.”

With temperatures not being hot or cold enough, it can also cause cacti to shrivel up by their stems.

The experts said: “Other problems can include shrivelling of the stems which can be caused by the plant being too hot and sunny climates. 

“Scorching can also cause problems that discolour and damage the stems. 

“However, it is often due to root deterioration caused by over or under-watering.”

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Rot root can also cause problems that discolour and damage the stems. 

These problems can lead to “flower bud dropping”.

Gardening experts at Essential Living said: “Flower bud dropping is usually caused by fluctuating temperatures, being too hot by day and too cold by night. 

“However, overwatering can also cause flower buds to drop. Late-flowering can occur when the temperature has remained too high in autumn.”

Over-potting can also be a problem with cacti, as they don’t like a lot of room.

The gardening experts said: “Poor growth generally can be a sign of over-potting when the pot is too large for the plant, as they do like to be snug in a pot. 

The experts have provided a few tips to see if the pot is too big for the plant.

They said: “To check, remove the pot to analyse root development. 

“If there is little or no sign of new growth, then carefully put it into a smaller pot. 

“This should help encourage new root growth and recovery.”

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