Growing a Christmas cactus using the Hydroponics method
The Christmas cactus, or Schlumbergera to give it its scientific name, is a tropical cactus which in recent years has become a popular alternative to the traditional festive Poinsettia.
They are known as a Christmas cactus because they bloom from late November to late january, just in time for the holidays.
Commonly found on the Brazillian coast, they typically grow naturally in jungle-type woodlands and attach themselves to trees.
Christmas cactus care
Christmas cactus like a bright spot, but not in direct sunlight as this may cause the leaves to burn. It will adapt to low light conditions, but it will produce blooms more readily if exposed to brighter light.
It also prefers temperatures between 60 and 70 ̊ C, and they need a humid environment.
Repotting with the Hydroponics method
The Christmas cactus is well-adapted to the tropical climate so it can root well in water without any problems. The best time for repotting a Christmas cactus plant is after blooming, and always start with a healthy plant.
Growing this plant using the hyroponic method doesn’t require a system with a pump, just follow these easy steps:
- Carefully remove the plant from its grow pot.
- Soak the roots overnight in water to loosen the soil and minimise root damage.
- Carefully remove all the soil from the roots. This helps to prevent potential problems such as parasite and fungus growth.
- Fill the bottom of a culture pot with clay pebbles.
- Position the cactus on top of the pebbles and carefully spread the roots evenly around the space. Be careful not to cover the spines of the cactus.
- Hold the plant in position and add pebbles around the roots. Ensure you have enough pebbles in place to keep the plant stable.
- Pack down the pebbles to avoid air gaps.
- Put the culture pot into an outer pot.
- Mix a nutrient solution with water to a level recommended by the manufacturer. Fill the pot with enough of the mix to cover the roots of the plant, but make sure it doesn’t cover the stem or the plant will risk stem rot issues.
Care after repotting
Remove your cactus every two or three weeks and wash the roots. Wash the stem to remove dust, and be sure to change the nutrient solution every two months.
Even by growing a Christmas cactus hydroponically, always consider repotting it if its roots fill the inner container. This may occur once every two to three years.
A Christmas cactus plant should thrive in a hydroponic system as it should make it stronger and more durable than if it was grown in soil.
Once the Christmas cactus has grown into a healthy, mature plant, you can keep rooting the cuttings, they make great gifts for family and friends!