Christmas cactus looks very droopy, help

Discussion in 'Houseplants' started by redgardencat, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. redgardencat

    redgardencat New Seed

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    looks very droopy, what should the root system look like? there isnt much there yet the top is woody. whts wrong ? dosent seem to matter how much or little i water it, or much bright light /sun it gets. please help.


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  2. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    A picture would help but are you referring to the way the stems arch over the edge of the pot when you say they are droopy? If so, that's the way they are, they don't stand up straight. And the older/larger the plant is the more they arch over.
    Older plants will develop a woody 'trunk', that's normal.

    If you want them to stand up more than arch over the edges of the pot, you can break off sections and re-pot them to make more plants. But if it's an older plant I don't know that would be beneficial to the health of the plant.

    Don't water until the soil on top is dry but don't wait until the soil is pulling away from the pot...that's too dry. Make sure the pot has good drainage, sitting is a pot of wet soil will rot them.
     
  3. Coppice

    Coppice In Flower

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    Red, christmas cactus likes a bit of neglect, its watering can go for long enough to soil to get pretty dry.

    All that said it will need re-potting every year into fresh very fast draining soil.

    A little osmocoat pellets (mixed in with fresh soil) or a twice monthly feeding in the summer months of a dilute soluble fertilizer is also a good thing. 1/4 to 1/2 strength.

    Here in Ohio mine will live only out of doors May till October.

    It needs the sun.

    Christmas cactus as it ages will make a woody trunk.

    Please do not use loess based potting soil, it admits too little air to roots and holds too much water.
     
  4. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    The leaves should be firm to the touch, not soft. My christmas cactus is 33 years old has been repotted many times, had a lot of pinching back and oodles of blooms. A few weeks ago it had two blooms, I guess two branches were late to the party as the others bloomed in December/January. I water sparingly letting the top one inch to dry out. I fertilize in November and April. it is slightly potbound. Right now it is "resting" waiting for spring and a trip outside on the enclosed screen deck where it will spend the summer. It seems to enjoy life judging by its age.

    Jerry
     
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  5. redgardencat

    redgardencat New Seed

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    what does the roots look like? there are very few hair like roots.
     
  6. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    Redgardencat,

    In its native environment a holiday cactus(there are actually three types) grows as an epiphyte deriving nutrients from the tropical rain, organic material and filtered sunlight. As a houseplant, soil is a substitute for the tree crotches or fallen logs. Indirect lighting and the periodic addition of fertilizer make up the balance of its needs. The rootball can vary in size depending on watering, container size, and fertilization. Over time in a healthy plant the roots should extend into new potting media as multitude of visible white hairs. If the soil is too compact or drainage is poor the plant will suffer root rot causing the stems to be limp.

    Jerry
     
  7. redgardencat

    redgardencat New Seed

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    Thank you so much. that is what i needed to know i will repot today with better drainage. thank you again.
     
  8. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    I have hear that they also like to be somewhat rootbound -- is this true? I have one that has been the same size (small) for a couple of years, never blooms or branches out. It has lived in different parts of my house, not difference.... I've often wondered what else it needs. It's in a pot that may be too large for it. Could that be the problem?
     
  9. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    They do bloom better, more often and more blooms, when their roots are crowded. And the increased number of hours in the dark are required for them to set buds too.
    When repotting the new pot should not be more than 2 inches larger than the old pot
     

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