Christmas cacti are very pretty succulents, actually encompassing the entire genus Schlumbergera, with 7 accepted species. They are also called Santa Teresita cactus or Santa Teresa feathers and are related to Easter cacti. The Christmas cactus gets its name because its pretty flowers, which can be pink, fuchsia, red, white, yellow, or orange, appear just at this time of year as it is a winter flowering plant. Thus, it brings a lot of color to any space at a time when most plants are in a vegetative state.
They are very easy to care about plants and, as in the case of many succulents, their multiplication is within reach of anyone. If you want to learn how to multiply a Christmas cactus without the slightest problem, you will know the guide on Christmas cactus propagation.
Steps for Christmas cactus propagation
As with many plants, the reproduction of the Christmas cactus plant can be done in several ways. The most natural is using the seeds of the Christmas cactus, but we would have to wait for the adult plant to give flowers and fruits and then make the seeds germinate.
Succulents are characterized by tending to offer greater ease of reproduction by cuttings. The good thing about this type of multiplication is that we will obtain a plant that will be an exact genetic copy of the original one, so if we cut a strong and healthy Christmas cactus, we have a good chance of getting it to grow just as well. All right. In addition, reproduction by cutting is much faster since it allows us to skip the whole process of germination of the seed and initial growth of the seedling.
Make Christmas cactus cuttings
The multiplication by cuttings of the Christmas cactus requires a mild climate, so, in most climates, the ideal time to carry it out will be during the spring.
If you have your cactus indoors or the summer is not very hot and dry, you can also do it at this time of year, or even during autumn if there is no frost or intense cold in your area. Of course, we must avoid making the cutting during the winter, regardless of the climate or the area, because it will not succeed.
Reproduce the Christmas cactus step by step
Now that you know more about the reproduction of this plant, follow this guide to reproduce a Christmas cactus successfully:
The first step is, of course, to prepare the Christmas cactus cutting. For this, we can use a stem that has been split or cut it ourselves with the greatest possible care. To cut the cutting, you have to prepare the pruning tools. Ideally, use pruning shears or a knife as sharp as possible and sterilize them with alcohol or a specific product.
When selecting the stem to cut, you can note that the Christmas cactus can sometimes produce aerial roots in some of the stem sections that look like leaves. This is because it is an epiphytic plant, which in its natural habitat grows on the trunks of trees, so these roots help it to hold on better. If you cut the cutting there, it will be faster and easier for it to grow well once transplanted without damaging these roots.
Once the stem is cut, you can separate it into several cuttings of about two or three sections since each of these parts is enough for a new Christmas cactus to grow from them. However, you should not plant them after cutting them: to avoid rotting problems, it is necessary to let the cuttings dry in a cool and dry area, in the shade, so that the cut wounds are closed. It is better not to keep the Christmas cactus cuttings in water, as they need to dry.
Later, it will be necessary to prepare the container. You will need a pot with drainage holes, as the Christmas cactus requires plenty of moisture but does not tolerate waterlogging. A small container is sufficient since the roots of this plant do not reach great depth.
You can mix equal parts peat and coconut fiber for the substrate and then add a generous amount of perlite. This will result in a very light substrate, with the ability to retain moisture and great drainage capacity, just what the Christmas cactus needs. If you made the cutting in spring and will place the pot indoors, away from drafts and heaters or air conditioners, you will not need to cover the pot. If your climate is far from 20 ºC by excess or defect, it may be necessary to find a more suitable area with that temperature range until the cutting takes hold.
Finally, prepare some small furrows in the substrate, which is where you should plant the cuttings, in a vertical position and with the roots down and the end pointing up, as is their natural position. Water after planting and try to keep it moist but never waterlogged.