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Should You Keep Your Christmas Cactus In The Dark

Should You Keep Your Christmas Cactus In The Dark

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Christmas cactuses seem to have taken a wild turn. Everyone’s into them these days! They’re easy to care for and bring a lot of different colors to your holiday decor.

But there’s one question I’ve heard many times: How much light does this cactus require? Or rather, should you keep it in the dark?

And the answer is…

Do Christmas Cactuses Like Darkness?

… yes and no! These plants do their best blooming in indirect sunlight. They’re not real cactuses, which means they don’t like full sun and direct light.

Yet, that doesn’t mean you should keep them in the dark all year long. Keep your festive cactus in bright indirect sunlight throughout the day and it will flower in time for holidays.

The good news is that these plants can tolerate lower light levels, although constant darkness will reduce blooming.

Keeping A Christmas Cactus In The Dark To Promote Budding

If you want to make your Christmas cactus flower, you have to encourage dormancy. These plants usually bloom from November onwards. That means reducing the light, water, and temperature after they finish flowering.

Lack of dormancy is one of the main causes of reduced Christmas cactus flowering. Keeping this plant in the dark can help you a great deal. Here’s how to do it:

• Move your Christmas cactus to a darker location around September (or a couple of months before its blooming season).

• Keep it in the dark overnight to encourage budding. Or cover your plant with an opaque cloth every night and remove it the following day. Christmas cactuses need approximately 12 hours of darkness a day to start blooming.

• Reduce the temperature to encourage dormancy.

• Reduce watering! Irrigate your Christmas cactus only after the top part of the substrate is dry.

• Move your plant to a warm, bright location once you notice buds appearing.

When Do Christmas Cactuses Flower?

As the name suggests, Christmas cactuses produce blossoms around Christmas. Of course, their entire flowering season is a lot longer than a couple of days.

Christmas cactuses start flowering in November and finish their blooming cycle around January. 

It may take up to 12 weeks for the buds to develop into real flowers, so make sure to time the dormancy and darkness period accordingly.

P.S. Christmas cactuses can drop buds, so make sure not to expose them to sudden temperature changes and inadequate watering.