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Christmas cactus

Q. How can I get my Christmas cactus to bloom again this year?

A. Christmas cactus is a member of the forest cactus group and has very specific requirements for blooming. This plant prefers to spend the summer outside in a shady location. Around mid-September, move it inside so that it can enter its pre-flowering period. The critical factors for good blooming are a sunny windowsill, night temperatures between 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and very little water. When flower buds become visible, water normally and increase room temperature to 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not move the cactus once the buds appear. Flowering should continue through January, when the plant will enter its resting period and again prefer cool temperatures and dry soil. During April and May, keep it in bright, indirect light at room temperature and water only when dry.