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Recently Plantly introduced our garden friends to the Thanksgiving cactus and how to care for it.
The other holiday cacti, similar to the Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cacti, are the Easter cactus that takes the spotlight in our article today.
While the care for the Easter cactus is the same as the other holiday cacti, we still want to take special care by dedicating this article to it.
More About The Easter Cacti
The fancy-schmancy botanical name for the Easter cactus is Rhipsalideae gaertneri. Yet, the tropical cactus is commonly sold as spring cactus as well.
The epiphytic cacti is a cheery Easter cactus with a blooming period around spring to bring color into the home with its star-shaped blooms.
The holiday cacti are a joy to have around Easter and are native to the Brazilian rainforests with white, red, or purple flowers.
It is a long-lived yet easy-growing plant for beginners and experienced indoor plant lovers. So, you will see your cactus blooming in early spring from March to May, depending on the conditions of your home when growing.
The spring cactus belongs to the Cactaceae family, similar to the desert cacti.
Easter Cactus Care
While the Easter cactus belongs to the same family as the desert cacti, the needs differ as it flourishes in cooler temperatures and cannot handle direct sunlight.
Epiphytic cactus prefers humidity and does not grow in soil in its natural habitat. But that does not mean you cannot grow your spring cactus in soil.
So to ensure that your Easter cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, and Christmas cactus thrive, it helps to provide each with their needed care.
Here is a detailed guide on taking care of this holiday cacti.
Soil Mix Suitable for Easter Cactus
When you provide a very porous mix, spring cacti grow well. Porous means the soil needs enough airflow to the roots and is rich in organic compost. So a very chunky local mix of peat moss, coco coir, orchid bark, and perlite is ideal for helping your Easter cactus to bloom.
Another helpful gardening tip is to amend the soil using other organic fertilizers and compost to provide nutrients to the roots. The reason is that the tropical cactus in its natural rainforest habitat grow on trees and other structures to survive.
Easter Cactus Sunlight Needs
When looking at the care for Easter cactus lighting needs, it helps to consider quite a few factors. First, the spring cactus lives in the canopies of trees in the rainforest and grows in dappled light.
So, you can grow them on a covered side patio with northern exposure to receive bright indirect light but not direct sunlight. Or, as a houseplant, you can grow your holiday cacti standing on a buffet about ten feet away in an east-facing window to receive gentle light.
If you decide to grow your epiphytic cactus as an outdoor plant, provide it with bright natural light with some shade.
Your spring cactus does not like the roots constantly moist and need to let the soil dry between watering to prevent root rot.
Hence, you can water well and allow the excess water to drain through the drainage holes. Then, when you notice the saucer filled with water, empty it to keep the roots from getting wet feet.
During late fall to early winter, cut back on the watering as it helps encourage flowering. Once your spring cactus flowers, you can water more as the soil must not go completely dry during the blooming period.
Temperature & humidity Needs
Compared to other cacti plants, your Easter cacti prefer the temperature to be a bit cooler. The truth is that your spring cactus needs temperate climates to bloom. Your succulent will also bloom at nighttime temperatures between 55° to 60° F.
Another thing is that while the Easter cacti love humid environments, they will do well in the home. Still, if the air is dry, we recommend providing your Easter cactus with added moisture using a pebble tray or humidifier.
Fertilizing of Easter Cactus
Like the Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus, the spring cactus is a high-maintenance feeder. You can provide your plant with a regular feed two months after it finishes blooming.
A balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer like a 10-10-10 given once a month is ideal until the next blooming phase.
You can then amend the soil using compost or organic fertilizers yearly.
Repotting and Pruning
One thing the Easter cactus loves is being pot-bound. So, you only need to repot your plant every two years, providing it with fresh soil. If you find the pot still has enough room for the roots to grow, plant your cactus back in the same pot.
The best container for the Easter cactus is clay pots. The clay structure helps with the aeration and gives added drainage. The best time to transplant your cactus is in spring or right after the blooming cycle completes.
There is no need to prune your houseplant, but it does help with reblooming. The best time to trim your Easter cactus is after it flowers during spring and still actively growing. We recommend focusing on the top leaf pad above the stem at the joint.
You can use your fingers or a sterilized garden scissor to give an even break. The pruning also helps encourage new growth to grow into a bushy plant.
Propagating Easter Cactus
As with other plants, you can propagate your Easter cacti through seeds and leaf cuttings. Still, harvesting the seeds is challenging as you need to pollinate your plant. The popular method is with the cuttings and done two months after it blooms.
Give one of the leaves a twist at the terminal leaf sections without breaking the base.
Next, stick the bottom section of the leaf into a small cup or a pot with potting mix with half of the leaf in the dirt.
Give the leaf cuttings a misting and place a plastic bag over them to retain moisture.
Keep misting until you notice roots forming and repot resuming with watering.
Holiday Cactus Varieties
As mentioned, the Easter cactus belongs to a group of holiday cacti that are all epiphytic cacti that has similar care needs. So, check them out to add to your tropical cacti collection.
The fancy botanical name for Thanksgiving cacti is Schlumbergera truncate, and the blooming period is from mid-November to December. Yet, you may find the cactus blooming through to January.
The claw-shaped pointed, hooked leaves that look like pincers from a crab distinguish the Thanksgiving cactus from the Easter cacti. For this reason, many gardeners refer to it as the crab cactus.
The succulent is native to Brazil, growing in the natural rainforest habitats of tree canopies. The plant can grow up to three inches long, displaying a satin flower that attracts hummingbirds.
This Christmas, cacti also goes by the botanical name Schlumbergera bridgesii, another long-lived plant. The cactus is easy to root, and all you need is a pinch of the Y-shaped branches to stick in some cactus mix to root in no time.
The Christmas cactus will develop hanging flowers in magenta color and blooms in late November to early February. The plant displays a flattened stem that is smooth with scalloped edges.
The cactus looks great in a hanging basket as the branches hang down compared to the Thanksgiving cacti growing upwards.
Easter Cactus Diseases and Pests
Never let anyone tell you your indoor plant does not get any disease or pests. You may find common insects like scale, fungus gnats, spider mites, and mealybugs feasting on it as on other plants.
The other concern is root rot from overwatering or using the incorrect soil mix. While it is an easy-going plant, you may also spot the following problems:
Yes, your poor cactus looks like it will fall apart at any moment. The leading cause is stress from over or underwatering. The best is to keep an eye on the soil spring cacti grow.
If you feel it is too dry, provide your plant with water, and if it is too wet, we recommend moving your plant to direct light for the soil to dry.
Alternatively, you can take the fallen pads and root them in fresh potting mix.
Your Plant Looks Wilted
Wilting is another sign of stress resulting from over, underwatering, or too much direct sunlight.
If you notice yellow leaves, your plant needs repotting. While the Easter cactus loves being slightly pot-bound, it can be that the soil is not draining the water well. When you transplant your cactus, you can check the roots to remove the dead and damaged ones.
Where Can I Buy an Easter Cactus Plant?
The good news is that the Easter cactus is not a rare plant. You can find the plant sold at a local garden center. Still, there is no need to rush out the door as Plantly has the holiday cacti collection.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!