Transplanting Thanksgiving cactus

How to Propagate Christmas Cactus from Cuttings

July 24, 2014 – 09:22 pm

Still, the Thanksgiving cactus

Other than poinsettias, the Christmas cactus probably comes in second as the most popular gift plant given at Christmas. What's cool about this plant is that it blooms at Christmas time.

There are several different types of this cactus. Some bloom at Easter, others bloom at Thanksgiving. I like the Christmas cactus because my mom always had one growing that belonged to her mother. It was started by a slip given to her by a distant relative. Sadly, after about 50 years, that plant is no longer with us, but we have taken off slips of it and started our own. Therefore, in reality, the plant is still with us. . Now we have another one to take its place, so I can pass it down to my children.

Christmas cactus is easy to propagate. So you can start several little plants and give them away for Christmas or have several pots throughout the house.

Find Healthy Stems

Examine the Christmas cactus for healthy stems. You'll want a stem that has more than four stem segments. When you take a cutting, make sure that the stem has two or three stem segments. Use a knife to cut the segment off at the joint.

Allow a Scab to Form

Lay the cutting down on a tabletop or somewhere where it can remain undisturbed for 24 hours or several days. The cut end has to dry and scab over before you can plant it.

Fill the Pots

Gather enough small 2-inch pots so you have one pot per plant. The last time I propagated my Christmas cactus I used disposable cups. If you use those, remember to punch one or two drainage holes in the bottom, so the excess water can drain away.

Fill the pots or cups with well-drained potting soil. I use the regular potting soil sold in the garden stores to start mine, but you can use cactus mix. You can also mix your own soil by combining equal amounts of compost, perlite, and peatmoss.


Insert the scabbed over end of the Christmas cactus into the soil. You'll want at least half of the first segment to be in the soil. Firm the soil with your fingers to help hold the stem upright.


Water the Christmas cactus stems. You'll want the soil to be evenly moist, but not soggy or the stems will rot.


Place the pots or cups in a tray with sides. If the stems lop over, they can rest on the sides of the tray. Set the plants in a bright window that receives filtered sunlight. If the weather is warm, you can set them outside in a bright location, but not in direct sunlight. I had mine on the covered porch that faces east.

Resist watering the cuttings again until the soil is almost dry. You can mist the soil to moisten it, but if the soil stays too wet, your cuttings will rot.

It takes two to three weeks for the roots to form. You can tell when your cutting has rooted by looking at the top of the stem. If you see new growth at the tip, which often looks red in color, then you'll know that it has rooted.


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Sounds like you will be traveling...

I suggest you have a live flower sent to their home to arrive just before you get there... something like an azalea or a Thanksgiving cactus plant, or a Christmas Cactus plant.
While there, I recommend you be very active in helping prepare meals, serve and clean up after the meals.
Offer to do things like peeling the potatoes, set the table, etc.
Since you are going to be there for 4 days, offer to run the vacuum before guests arrive, etc.
Offer to make quick trips to the grocery store as you see the need.
If there are children in the family, help entertain the children to give their parents a break

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  2. Yellow Thanksgiving Cactus
  3. Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus
  4. Growing Thanksgiving cactus