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How to Propagate a Christmas Cactus In 5 Easy Steps

Many of us will receive a Christmas cactus as a gift during the holidays or want to give one as a gift. It’s easy (and free) to grow new plants from this gorgeous blooming plant by learning how to propagate a Christmas cactus. It’s easier than you think!

Christmas cacti look beautiful nestled atop your coffee table, and they’re a ton of fun to decorate during the holiday season.

Christmas cacti have other benefits too!

You can turn one Christmas cactus into many plants by propagating your own. Then, you can grow them for your enjoyment and that of your friends and family.

(They make perfect gifts! And – you won’t believe how long they last.)

How to Propagate a Christmas Cactus

Turning one Christmas cactus into many is not difficult because they are easy to propagate. You can plant a Christmas cactus from cuttings! Here are the basic steps as to how to propagate a Christmas cactus cutting. We’ll go into detail below!

  1. Take a healthy, small cutting with clean, sharp pruners or scissors. Cut at the intersection between leaves. Aim to have at least 3 such intersections per cutting.
  2. Prepare a small pot (a 4″ pot is perfect) with well-draining soil, or soil designed for cacti and succulents.
  3. Make a small hole in the soil, and plant the cutting about 1″ deep. You can also lay the cutting on top of the potting soil, or root it in water first.
  4. Look after your cutting by watering it appropriately and selecting a good position – we’ll include the full details below!

Either method will allow you to reproduce new plants! In my experience – starting them during the spring season yields the best results. 

I think the warm temperature of the spring gives your cuttings plenty of stress-free time to mature. But – they’re easy to grow, regardless, and you can begin any time of year.

Here are the five steps for propagating – and cloning your Christmas cactus:

Propagating a Christmas Cactus Step-by-Step

1. Start With a Healthy Christmas Cactus Cutting

stunning schlumbergera christmas cactus
Contrary to popular belief – your Christmas cactus didn’t come from the desert! They love cool temperatures and humid conditions. Anything in the upper-fifty to mid-sixty degrees (F) range fits them fine.

You can’t make a successful Christmas cacti clone from an unhealthy parent. So, the health of the parent is everything.

The healthier the cutting you use to propagate a new plant, the better!

Observe your Christmas cacti plant before cutting. Pay attention to the stem segments.

Notice the flat stem segments of the plant. Make sure that each cutting contains at least three stem segments!

Also – try taking at least a few cacti cuttings per season. That way – you have better chances of successful growth!

When you remove the cutting from the parent plant – the cutting may go into shock. You just separated the baby from their parent! Who wouldn’t go into shock?! 

But, if it’s healthy, it’s more likely to grow and flourish if you take care of it.

A healthy Christmas cactus cutting will be shiny green and free of blemishes.

You can easily remove a two to three-inch cacti section by gently twisting the lowest pad. 

The tree section should snap away freely from the parent plant and leave no torn edges. (You can also use a sharp pair of scissors.)

Now, what are you going to do next? You need to let your baby Christmas cactus heal!

2. Let Your Christmas Cactus Cuttings Heal

Here’s a step that’s easy to forget when making Christmas cactus from cuttings – especially if you don’t have much experience with cacti!

Once you have your cuttings, please place them in the dark for 24 to 48 hours. This measure helps the cutting callus and heal.

The healing process doesn’t take long – and in my experience, it helps reduce rotting, shock, stress, and the decay of your cacti.

After 24 to 48 hours, it’s time to transplant your cuttings.

Read More – 15 Breathtaking Christmas Fairy Garden Ideas!

3. Transplant Your Rooting Christmas Cacti Cutting

baby schlumbergera christmas cactus in pots
If you have a room in your home that gets ample indirect sunlight – your baby Christmas cactus cuttings will love you! They don’t appreciate too much direct sunlight – especially in the middle of the long hot summer.

Your Christmas cacti are easy to root. We recommend a mixture of peat, soil, and sand.

Whatever pot you use to grow Christmas cactus cuttings should have a drain hole and a layer of gravel in the bottom.

Also – think ahead.

After your Christmas cactus begins to root – we can move it to a more permanent spot. There, they can develop, stretch, and fill out! For now, four or five cuttings will fill a six-inch pot nicely.

Lightly water the cuttings two to three times per week. Watering multiple times per week helps them form roots in three to four weeks.

Look at the tips of the Christmas cacti for new growth!

Before long, we can transplant your baby Cacti into more permanent housing.

4. Planting Christmas Cactus Cuttings in Soil

beautiful christmas cacti flora
Christmas cacti plants only bloom when the days get shorter – and as the days get cooler! They’re famous for blooming around the holidays. They’re timely (and beautiful) miracle plants!

After a few weeks – your Christmas cactus cutting will start rooting! Now that you have a cutting that’s well-rested and ready – you can plant it in a clean pot with soil for succulent cacti.

But – choose wisely! Potting soil helps to retain moisture. And, used alone is not the best medium to use for propagating or growing Christmas cactus.

A good soil mix for your Christmas cactus is:

  • Two parts of potting soil.
  • One part perlite.
  • One-part coarse sand.

Or, buy a good quality cacti and succulent mix online.

For added measure, line the bottom of the pot with half an inch or so of coarse gravel as an added aid to drainage.

5. Ongoing Care – and Repotting

warm looking schlumbergera christmas cactus
Your Christmas cacti get thirstier than other cactus plants! Don’t forget to give your cacti plenty of water. Every few days – touch the soil. If it feels too dry, water deeply and let the pot’s drainage work.

Never stop caring for your Christmas cactus! Keep an eye on the soil conditions – and don’t let it get too dry.

They love humidity – so you can spray your Christmas cactus with a spray bottle if your home doesn’t have much interior moisture. (If you have your pellet stove blasting at full strength during the winter – your air might be dryer than you think!)

One more tip that you need to know!

As the years pass by, keep an eye on your Christmas cacti’s roots if you can! It’s true that Christmas cacti don’t mind tight growing conditions – they have a reputation for loving rootbound pots.

But if you notice the roots developing beyond the pot’s boundaries – you may wish to transplant your cacti into a pot that’s a few inches larger.

We recommend a succulent potting mix for the best results!

We also wrote an epic guide that shows how to repot your cacti without stress!

Find the article below.

Read More – Cactus Re-Potting Guide – How and When to Re-Pot Your Cacti!

Christmas Cacti Propagation FAQs

Christmas cacti are one of the most beautiful succulents you can have over the holidays – and they’re tremendously easy to clone!

But – we also know that it’s easy to get overwhelmed when caring for your Schlumbergera. So, we put together a list of the most common questions about taking Christmas cactus from cuttings.

We hope these questions help you! 

Read More – Powering Outdoor Christmas Lights Without a Power Outlet!

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11/30/2022 09:35 am GMT

Christmas Cacti Propagation Made Easy – and Fun!

We hope that our Christmas cactus cloning guide brought you joy this holiday season!

We know that the best way to learn how to propagate a Christmas cactus is to start now!

We’re also here if you run into trouble.

Don’t hesitate to inquire!

Also – if you have experience cutting and cloning Christmas cactus or other succulents, please share your tips!

We love to hear from you – and hope to have your feedback.

We wish you luck – and Merry Christmas!

Read More – 17 Easy Christmas Gifts That Are Super Easy to DIY and Make Yourself!

Author

  • Elle

    Jack of all trades, master of some. Wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.

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