My Easter Cactus Stopped Blooming
Well, of course it did. In the rainforest, Easter cacti (Rhipsalidopsis spp.) put all of their energy into a single display of dazzling flowers to attract pollinators like hummingbirds. After that excessive workout your cactus is ready for a break. It might be hard, but do not water or feed your plant for about a month. A little water is fine during that period if the leaves start to shrivel, but if you want lots of flowers next year, lay off on the water. Remove the seedpods at the bases of the shriveled flowers so energy isn't wasted developing fruits that the cactus has no use for.
My Easter Cactus is Falling Apart
Many times, Easter cacti will terrify their owners by falling to pieces at the joints and collapsing, leaving their segments all over the place. Do not panic. This sometimes happens when plants are stressed from overwatering or underwatering and these segments or pads can easily be rooted and grown into new plants! The specimen mounted on my centerpiece started out as only three individual pads from a collapsed plant. I rooted the segments by inserting in potting soil, and in a couple years I had blooms all over again!
How Do I Repot My Easter Cactus?
Even though your Easter cactus was potted by the grower in soggy peat moss, keep in mind that these cacti's roots like room to breathe since they're epiphytes and naturally grow in trees. I've had the most success mounting them like orchids, but any mix suitable for bromeliads and orchids would work. If you're concerned about not watering it enough, simply add some potting mix to retain more moisture.
Can I Take Easter Cactus Cuttings?
Definitely! Rooting Easter cactus stems is incredibly easy and rewarding, even for those new to gardening. I once threw the trimmed stems in the garden and found that they rooted on their own! To root Easter cactus, simply take cuttings one to four segments long, allow the cut ends to dry for a day or two, apply rooting hormone to the cut stems and insert in potting soil, watering regularly until established. Though rooting hormone isn't necessary, I once did an experiment with one container rooted with hormone, and one without. As you would guess, the cuttings with rooting hormone showed new growth much sooner, a few weeks ahead of its neighbor.
How Do I Get Easter Cactus to Rebloom?
To get your Easter cactus to bloom again, give it cooler temperatures in winter and reduce watering after they bloom. Easter cacti can really tolerate temperatures down to freezing (not below freezing) but 50F is usually sufficient. If you would like even more blooms, try trimming off the last segments, just above the joint. This encourages the plant to form multiple new stems that will form next year's flowers, and it also removes those useless fruits that I mentioned earlier. So remember: cooler temps in winter, less water after blooming, and tip prune after blooming.
If you'd like to learn about combining Easter cactus and other houseplants to make beautiful long lasting indoor arrangements, be sure to look at my book Plant by Numbers!
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