The Easter cactus blooms once a year in April with brilliant red flowers that emerge from the plant's leaf tips and open each day only to close every evening. Some varieties of the Easter cactus can produce up to 60 flowers during a season. The Easter cactus is considered by some to be difficult to grow. In spite of this, having an Easter cactus in your home is rewarding. Practice good Easter cactus care, and the healthy plant will reward you with spectacular blossoms each spring.
Confirm that your Easter cactus is planted in the proper type of soil. If it was purchased from a nursery or grower, it most likely is. The soil should be loose and fairly coarse in texture. Your Easter cactus should not be potted in regular purpose potting soil or garden soil. If you need to repot your Easter cactus in proper soil, use a general purpose, cactus-mix potting soil.
Lay small gravel as the top inch of soil when potting an Easter cactus. This will help reduce the chances of the plant developing stem rot.
Place the Easter cactus' pot on a drainage tray filled with gravel or small pebbles to assure that the potting soil is never soggy. This also helps keep the humidity level around your cactus elevated.
Locate your Easter cactus in a spot where it will receive bright, indirect sunlight. A south, east or west window is fine. Temperatures in this location should range between 10.0 and 23.8 degrees C. According to Dalhousie University, between the last frost of spring and the first frost of fall, you can set your Easter cactus outside in a spot that receives light shade. If you do this, you will automatically provide the plant with the proper day length and temperature fluctuations required for the plant to set flower buds, eliminating the need to try to replicate these conditions inside the home.
If you don't wish to place your Easter cactus outside for the summer, be prepared to keep it in an area where it will get cool night temperatures and have a sunlight and darkness cycle that is the same as it would receive if left outside, perhaps in a breezeway or screened porch. Otherwise, you may find that the plant doesn't develop flower buds.
Fertilise your Easter cactus once a month between spring and fall with a general purpose, water-soluble fertiliser, according to package directions.
If you water your Easter cactus with tap water, test the water first with a pH strip. If the water is neutral or slightly acidic, your cactus will enjoy it. If the water is alkaline, add a teaspoon of vinegar to each gallon of tap water to neutralise it, as recommended by Dalhousie University.
Tips and warnings
- If you water your Easter cactus with tap water, test the water first with a pH strip. If the water is neutral or slightly acidic, your cactus will enjoy it. If the water is alkaline, add a teaspoon of vinegar to each gallon of tap water to neutralise it, as recommended by Dalhousie University.