By Pam Albo
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
The Christmas Cactus is a colorful houseplant with tubular flowers in pink or lilac that blooms indoors in the winter. It’s popular during holiday time and makes a great gift, too. Unlike regular cacti, however, this is not a plant from a dry, hot, desert location. Instead, it is a succulent native to tropical rainforests where they grow on tree branches and soak up the high humidity.
Plants should be kept in bright, indirect light such as an east-facing window. They prefer a more humid environment which makes a bright kitchen or bathroom the ideal spot.
Water every 2-3 weeks but only when the top 1/3 of the soil feels dry to the touch. The Christmas Cactus prefers soaking until water runs through the pot’s drainage holes.
The Christmas cactus prefers humid conditions and homes are often dry. You can raise the humidity by placing the pot on top of a container filled with pebbles. Pour water over the pebbles until it rises above the bottom of the top layer of pebbles. The water will evaporate, increasing the humidity around the cactus.