I know the holidays are really here when my two Christmas cacti bloom. I got both of them as cuttings from a friend years ago. The plants have stayed small, probably because I have not encouraged them to expand … but both of them bloom profusely from November through February … and often throw the odd flower all through the year.


The secret to making them bloom is putting them in a bright (not necessarily sunny) window. Water them only when they are dry. And let them do their thing.


The less you mess with them, the happier they are. If you have a window in a room where you don’t use much artificial light, all the better. These lovely cacti are sensitive the natural changes of light through the seasons. These natural changes in light will trigger flowering.

The reason so many people have trouble growing these is that they fuss over them. Cacti are not fond of fussiness.



  1. My Mom went through a cactus phase at one point… and she often put them in places where hands often had to go or where it was easy to bump into them. My poor fingers were glad when that stopped…


    1. These guys don’t have thorns. They look spiky, but they are soft. Unlike some of those real desert cacti from the southwest that look like they want to eat you for lunch, these are just pretty. Last year, I almost bought a rather large barrel cacti from a store that specializes in them, but I just knew that me or Garry would lurch into it some morning before the coffee was working … so I don’t grow the thorny ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a Christmas cactus once and it grew and grew and grew and flowered every year It was a wonderful cactus, repotted in an enormous Pot. Until my blind cat ate a flower and nearly died. I threw the cactus away and have never had one since. It was probably just an unlucky event at the time, but the vet told me that for some unknown reason there is something in those plants that is not good for cats. Now I just take my photos in the flower store, but they are beautiful.


    1. When I was more serious about growing houseplants and had hundreds of them, I had three or four cats and a dog or two. Turns out, a lot of plants which are not healthy for pets. Fortunately, they don’t usually try to eat all of them, just those that for some reason appeal to their … appetite? Sense of aesthetics? The dogs have never shown any interest in the plants and I don’t have many, just the two cacti, (used to be) a dracaena … and now a philodendron. But just so you know, there’s a long list of poisonous or slightly poisonous popular houseplants. They would make US sick too, but we don’t usually try to eat our potted plants🙂


  3. You are so right about not fussing with Christmas Cactus. Mine seem to bloom as they please year round. I did notice a couple have just shot out some buds.
    I included a link to this post in my How to Grow Paperwhites today,


  4. Many years ago when I saw artificial Christmas trees come out, I wondered who would buy such a thing??? Well … lots of people. But there are still Live alternatives. We sell quite a few of those small Norfolk Pines in a pot. They’re small, relatively cheap, easy to care for, and look pretty nice. Not much decorating needed either. We also still sell a LOT of real Christmas trees though, but I can understand that in some countries, climates, etc. a real pine tree is not practical – or accessible. A cactus of some kind might likely be the way to go.
    Early Christmas Cheers to you!


    1. I do wish you had signed in so I knew who i’m talking to. You are up as Anonymous and obviously, I know you … but who ARE you?

      Anyway, we have had terrible luck with the little Norfolk pines. We have spent a ton of money on them and they never survive long enough to plant. Spring comes late to the Northeast corridor, especially here were we tend to have a deep snow cover until the middle of April. We don’t have a porch or even a cool, bright place to keep the little trees, so they die. If you can’t get them into the ground by February or early March at the latest, they are just gone.

      We have a cute little fake tree that looks so real every thinks it IS real. I just can’t deal with the mess a real tree makes anymore. When we were younger, we did the whole nine yards, but with the price of real trees (SS is SO unforgiving) — you can’t get anything nice for under $50 and you’re lucky if you can one for that price — and the two dogs, something that we can keep on a table really makes like a LOT easier.


  5. I have a Christmas cactus that used to belong to my grandmother. It has become rather woody in places but still blooms. I’ve had to cut it back several times.


    1. Usually, mine will bloom more or less continuously from now through February and throw a few flowers the rest of the year too. It’s one of the most reliable blooming indoor plants. The respond to benign neglect. I’m good at neglect 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That is other one of two plants (aside from cacti) that I could count on in Israel. My porch faced west, which means we got that hot, scorching sun from about 11 in the morning to sunset. The only two flowering non-cactus plants that could survive that sun were geraniums and petunias. Everything elses burned up, even some of the cactus. I had to water them a lot in the summer when it was very hot and dry as dust, but otherwise, they bloomed like mad from late spring until December. Since spring came in late January, they were back pretty soon 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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