Growing Holiday Cactus

Also known as the Thanksgiving or Crab Cactus, this easy-to-care for plant is native to rainforests of Brazil, where it grows on rocks or in trees in light shade. It's an easy houseplant and can spend the warmer months of the year outside.

LIGHT: Provide partial shade or bright indirect light. During the winter months, when the sun is not as strong, more sunlight is acceptable. Too much sun can burn the leaves or turn them yellow.

WATERING: Water when the potting mix is dry 1 inch below the surface. Avoid over watering (which will cause the roots to rot) or letting the potting mix dry out completely. Provide less water from fall through spring.

TEMPERATURE: When plants are in active growth (April to September), provide temperatures between 60-80°F. Sudden changes in temperature may cause buds and flowers to fall off.

FERTILIZER: When plants are in active growth (April to September) apply a balanced (20-20-20) houseplant fertilizer monthly, diluted to 1/4-strength.

CONTINUING CARE: During the shorter days (and longer nights) of fall, the Holiday Cactus forms its flower buds. For a period of about 8 weeks, plants should be kept in the dark 13-14 hours a day and given night-time temperatures of 55-65°F and daytime temperatures of 65-70°F.

Plants bloom best when pot-bound. Repot every 3 years or so using a well-drained potting mix designed for houseplants and a container that is about an inch wider than the previous one.

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