Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rooting Christmas Cactus cuttings

Christmas Cactus cuttings, rooting, growingChristmas cactus plants are popular plants during the holidays, they come in a variety of colors and are pretty easy plants to take care of and get to bloom. On my other blog I posted a entry on how to make your Christmas Cactus flower. Once you've managed to make your Christmas cactus flower you may want to move on to taking cuttings from your Christmas Cactus and rooting your Christmas cactus cuttings.

Christmas cacti, or Holiday cacti as they're becoming known, are succulent plants and when you cut or break off a stem you may notice a little bit of liquid or a clear gel leaking from the wound. This is normal, just let your cutting sit out for a day or two so that the end of the cutting begins to dry out. Once your cutting is prepared you can begin the propagation process simply by inserting the cutting into houseplant soil. I use regular houseplant potting soil that I sometimes amend with one third Perlite. Make sure you've inserted at least one segment of your Christmas cactus below the soil level. Keep your cutting in a bright and warm area away from direct sunlight and keep the potting soil moist but not soggy. If you want you can mist your cutting daily to help keep it moist. The cuttings that you took from your succulent plant will wilt and probably even shrivel but you shouldn't be alarmed.

A good sign that your cutting has started to root is the appearance of new growth at the tips of the older leaves. The new growth is smaller and thinner than the older leaves and sometimes a little reddish in color. Once the new leaves have started to grow on your cuttings you'll know that the cutting has started to produce roots below the soil. Once the new leaves start to grow you can begin watering the rooted cutting like normal and exposing it to brighter light.

You may also notice sometimes that leaves from your succulent plants fall or are broken off by accident or even on purpose. When that happens to one of your plants take the opportunity to propagate them and create new plants. Sometimes propagating succulents by leaf cuttings doesn't even require soil. See that entry and the links in the entry and notice how those succulents had started to grow roots without even being in soil.


Dawn said...

Perfect timing! My sister just asked me how to root a Christmas Cactus and I didn't have the answer. You're a genius. Thank you! :-)

Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

who many different breeds of christmas cactus?

MrBrownThumb said...


There is only one Christmas cactus others may be Thanks Giving or Easter cactus.

HippieAtHeart said...

Ok so I am super new at this christmas cactus buisness and on a whim nipped a leaf off my grandma's christmas cactus. I rooted it...or tried to. I know there are roots but it has been six months and there has been no signs of new growth at all any suggestions of what I could do to help the plant along? I keep it nicely watered but if I water it too much the soil starts to mold. I've read that they can't be in direct sunlight or they die but I'm not sure if it is getting enough.

MrBrownThumb said...


I saw just keep doing what you're doing and the plant will catch up. Sometimes plants are stubborn and will not grow for as good as we are to them.

Anonymous said...

my "holiday cactus" is falling apart.. the stems are just falling off?.. Why? is it something I am doing wrong? .. i have had it for 2 yrs.. it bloomed beautiful at christmas time ... now just falling apart???

J said...

Anonymous I just had the same problem and I noticed mine was pot bound so I've just repotted it, unfortunately 2 of it's largest arms fell off in the process so I came here to see the correct way to deal with them, because they have tons of leaves on them. I managed to grow a baby from the adult plant, it grew new roots very easily when left in water, but since then I've had nil luck with doing the same with other leaves that have fallen off, hence why I've come here for tips.

MrBrownThumb said...


Thanks for chiming in and offering your tips with your Christmas Cactus.

Anonymous said...


I can't thank you enough. I found you last winter. I looked you back up this fall for advice and tips.

My two Thanksgiving cactus have never been happier. One was a sad little plant when I too saved it from the shelf at Walmart.

Anyway I took them both out to the screened in porch this spring which faces east. They thrived. I followed your advice and left them out there until it was getting chilly.

This morning my chocolate lab Bella was looking very sad. She was sitting in front of the new bow window. And then I saw it. She had knocked one large V shaped arm with buds off my favorite cactus which is loaded with blossoms and buds. It blooms yellow with a pink blush.

Instead of plopping it back in the dirt I'm following your advice and starting a new plant for my friend who adores this lady (my plant, not me) lol

I also had no clue where my nasturtium seeds were until I read your seed collecting blog.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

From across the lake at the southern tip in Indiana


Anonymous said...

i grow them for a hobby. The number one mistake is watering them too much. Practically all my loses have been to root rot. Medium watering only when they are dry!!

Anonymous said...

My Christmas cactus lost an arm so I plopped it into a glass of water andit now has an enormous root system. I did not cut it down before putting it into the glass. Should I do that now before planting it or leave it alone? And should I first put it into a small pot and then transfer to the larger pot? I want to fill in the emply space it left in the original pot as it looks blank in the back.

Michelle @ TheBarOf said...

OMG That is truly amazing, You are much more of a cacti grower then I.
I can keep the exotics alive and thriving, and can successfully nurse them back from health of any abuse heaped on by a friend, but for some reason the simple cacti just eludes me.

Stumped said...

Hi, I have a Christmas cactus that my mom gave me about 6 years ago,,,it bloomed at Easter and at Christmas,,without fail,,until a this last year it did not bloom at all,,,it started to shrivel up and looked like it was going to die,,so I repotted it and it just got worse,,like the bottoms in the dirt were rotting and they just fell out. I just took them out of the pot and snipped off the rotten ends(there were no roots) and now what ???what would be the best thing to do to restart them? Do I stick the ends in water to start roots or plant them? please let me know,,as my mom has since passed away an I want to save this plant if I can.Thank you

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