How to Care for Easter Cactus
Easter Cactus thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. Unlike their desert cousins, Easter Cactus prefers cooler daytime temperatures.
Blooms range from light colors, such as white, pink, peach, and lavender to deep colors, such as orange and red. If properly cared for, you can expect your plant to show flowers from spring to early summer.
How to Care for an Easter Cactus
The Easter Cactus is a fairly simple plant to care for:
- Water sparingly, and allow the soil to dry between watering.
- Prune spent flowers. Not only does this keep your plant looking nice but it may encourage new blooms.
How to Encourage Blooming
Easter Cactus won’t just bloom overnight. You have to start preparing your plant for blooming in the fall.
- Stop feeding your plant.
- Move the plant to a cool location, preferably where the temp will be between just above freezing to no more than 50 degrees F.
- Deprive the plant of light for 12 to 14 hours daily.
- Move the plant to a warmer location, about 60 to 65 degrees, in December, and avoid watering it. Like traditional cacti, the Easter Cactus can store water in its fleshy leaves.
- Expect your Easter Cactus to bloom around February or March.
- Fertilize monthly with a 10-10-10 food with a low nitrogen count, suggests Gardening Know How.
- Avoid overwatering the cactus, as standing water could lead to stem or root rot.
How to Grow From a Cutting
Growing a new Easter Cactus from a cutting is relatively simple and makes a great gift for a family member or friend. Wait until summer when the plant is no longer blooming, and follow the simple instructions below:
- Cut off a stem two to five segments long; be sure to use a clean knife or shears for best results.
- Set aside the cutting for a few days to dry out.
- Insert the segment—cut side down—into a pot filled with well-draining potting mix. GardenGuids.com suggests using a five-inch pot with at least one drainage hole if adding more than one cutting to the pot.
- Moisten the compost, but avoid over watering it.
- Push a few bamboo skewers into the pot, place the pot inside a large plastic bag and seal it. The skewers will keep the bag from collapsing onto the cutting. The sealed bag will keep the growing cactus in a humid environment.
- Place the pot in an area that received bright, indirect light during the day. Open the bag only when you notice extreme condensation. Close the bag when the condensation passes.
- Water the cuttings when you notice the soil surface becoming dry.
- According to Gardening Know How, the Easter Cactus prefers to be pot-bound but should be repotted every other year. Although you should add new soil, you can return the plant to the same pot.
- Easter Cactus prefers some humidity. Place the plant on a saucer of pebbles and water. The indirect humidity through water evaporation will benefit the plant without drowning it.
- Prune the plant annually after full flowering. Ensure that you prune outer leaflets symmetrically to help reduce the overall size and volume of the plant.
Gardening Know How: How to Care fro Easter Cactus Houseplants
Logee’s Growers: Growing Easter Cactus Successfully
Our House Plants: Easter Cactus
Garden Guides: How To Propagate Easter Cactus
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Can I put my Easter Cactus plant outside in the summer?
You sure can! In fact, it's recommended that you expose it to outside conditions sometime between June and August (but in a shady location) to help hardy-up the plant for future growth. Putting the plant outdoors for a bit will likely boost bloom growth as well. Just don't forget to bring it indoors before the weather gets too cool.Helpful 1
I live in South Dakota where it’s dark in winter months and have no good window space. Can I use a light for my Easter Cactus?
Growing cactus with a plant light can be difficult, but not impossible. According to Cactiguide.com, you'll need about 100W per square foot though, and the price of a lighting kit can be quite expensive.Helpful 1
Do Easter Cactus get any diseases?
Like other succulents, Easter cactus suffer mainly from forms of rot, which is easily controlled with proper watering habits.
Water plants early in the day so that the soil had time to dry before temperatures drop too low. Only water when the top portion of soil is dry to the touch, and avoid over-watering.
Can I use moss instead of pebbles for plant moisture?
I don't see why not, just make sure the moss has plenty of moisture to allow natural evaporation into the easter cactus. Setting the plant on pebbles typically allows you to control water levels better (and allows you to see when you need to add more to the tray though).
© 2018 Diane Lockridge