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Help with Rooting Christmas Cactus Stems

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Henagar, AL
Posts: 134
Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:02 pm   Post subject: Help with Rooting Christmas Cactus Stems

I have a problem with my christmas cactus rotting off at the old stem, I'm sure that I am not watering correctly but I have not been able to determine how much water to give. The leaves go flat and I assume they need water so that's what they get and usually before the bloom season is finished some of the plant has rotted and sometimes the whole stem. Can someone tell me how to root the stems which are still alive and start new plants?
Thank you for all your help.

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Plants Moderator
Regular Plants Contributor

North Texas, Zone 8a
Posts: 15403
Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:54 pm   

It's the leaves that you can break off, stick in a pot of soil and get a new plant from. Sometimes the leaves will have roots growing from them while they are still attached to the other leaves and you can carefully break those off to plant.

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Regular Plants Contributor

Puget Sound Region of the Pacific NW (Washington State, US)
Posts: 3139
Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:57 pm   Post subject: Christmas Cactus

I have noticed that Christmas cactus can be kind of picky about starting. The time of year seems to affect how easily they start (for me at least). I knock several sections off mine approximately six weeks before it bloomed. The pieces were only 2 or 3 sections in size. Low-and-behold, everyone of the pieces rooted in only two weeks and then they bloomed at Christmas. That was the first time I was ever successful with starting a Christmas cactus.

I gave those starts away after Christmas and several people asked for a plant also. I broke some pieces off maybe a section or two larger. They are taking forever to root (made me think I should keep to fewer sections). I had to put the starts in a large plastic freezer bag to keep them from wilting too much. They are holding their own and are slowly starting to root, but aren't ready to come out of their bag. I am patiently waiting for the sections to "fatten-up".

I tend to let my parent plant dry out before watering. It seems to like that. When I was a kid, my folks had a friend who had the largest Christmas cactus I have ever seen. She kept it up in an unheated attic in the winter and didn't water it. Brought it down after Christmas (took two men to carry it) and sat it in the big bay window. She said that was when she started watering it lightly. It was always covered in blooms at Easter. Good luck.

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Posts: 77
Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:04 pm   

I find the christmas cacti thrives in the bathroom it just loves the steam and that is about the only water mine gets and it is 17 years old now, and I have had lots of plants off it I just break big clumps off and put them in another pot of compost.

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Posts: 2750
Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:55 pm   

I just put my christmas cactus cuttings in purchased soil, and only keep them moist .. That works for me.

I have red, peach, white , and hoping yellow.
Someone has sent me Easter cactus but it is rather young to be blooming.

Love them.. I think they like being crowded, and more on the dry side......Not a lot of watering.

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