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Ultimate Guide: Christmas Cactus Fertilizer

Especially if you’d like to see your Christmas cactus bloom, you might buy some fertilizer to help it with blooming. I like Christmas cactus fertilizer as well to promote faster growth of the plant and to promote a greener, happier and healthier plant. However, while you can boost growth with fertilizer, you do need to keep a few things in mind for the best results. 

How Often Should I Fertilize My Christmas Cactus

You should fertilize your Christmas cactus once a month throughout the growing season from April to September. During this time, you may need to repot your cactus as it grows too big for the pot. Most of the time, you should repot the cactus in the spring season after blooming except in emergencies where the pot is hindering the growth of the cactus. 

Expert Tip: Don’t fertilize the plant immediately after the blooming season. Christmas cactus require a rest period after blooming from four to six weeks to ensure that it blooms next year. Don’t repot it during this time either.  

You also should avoid fertilizing them during the season when they enter into their blossoming period (after September). You do it this way because it will give you the best flowering, which can happen anywhere from November to early January. 

The reason that you fertilize the Christmas cactus from April to September is that it promotes growth and helps your Christmas cactus store energy for the blooming season. Whenever a plant produces flowers, it requires a great deal of sunlight and nutrients to produce from the energy.  Be aware that you need to buy high-quality fertilizer that will feed the cactus during this time. 

Don’t over fertilize the Christmas cactus. Excess fertilizer can damage critical proteins that the plant needs to protect itself from pests and diseases. When you over fertilize a Christmas cactus, it will burn the sensitive roots of the plant and make it decay. Christmas cactus are also not heavy feeders, so you shouldn’t use too much. 

What is the Best Fertilizer for the Christmas Cactus?

To fertilize your Christmas cactus, you need to look for a balanced or high-phosphorus fertilizer. In general, this fertilizer helps most cacti species to bloom, including the Christmas cactus. 

I would recommend the Grow Co Succulents & Cactus Plant Food. It releases nutrients slowly to the Christmas cactus, and you can use it as an alternative to a liquid fertilizer. You can use it for other plants as well so that if you only have one or two Christmas cactus, you can still get the most from the fertilizer by using it with other plants. 

Nutrients from Fertilizer and How It Interacts with the Christmas Cactus

In general, you need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for the Christmas cactus. Each of the nutrients will play a different role in the growth of your cactus. For example, nitrogen promotes plant growth, gives it the necessary protein and helps it to produce chlorophyll and nucleic acid. 

You want a fertilizer with phosphorus because this helps with cellular growth, plays a role in energy transfer and helps the plant to resist diseases. Finally, you have potassium, which plays a role in boosting immunity, promoting the growth of roots and helps the leaf to produce starch and sugar. Provided you use the right amount, you will help your Christmas cactus to grow faster and produce more beautiful blooms. 

X Tips to Fertilize Your Christmas Cactus

Tip #1 Choose the Right Fertilizer: You need to pick a high-quality fertilizer, or it won’t create the desired effect of growth and better blooming. The right balance of nutrients will give you the best results. 

Tip #2 Use a Balanced Fertilizer:  A balanced fertilizer consists of a 20-20-20 ratio of three major components: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The numbers represent the percentage of each nutrient in the mix. 10-10-10 means less concentration than the 20-20-20 mixture. These three main components that make up a balanced fertilizer play an essential role in your Christmas cactus’ health.

  • Nitrogen helps produce new stems, leaves and flowers. It stimulates the plant’s growth and development.
  • Potassium supports plant processes such as photosynthesis, water transport and helps fight diseases.

You can use a fertilizer with a higher concentration of any of these nutrients to provide your Christmas cactus an extra boost. For instance, use a fertilizer with higher phosphorus concentration to encourage more blooms from your Christmas cactus. However, too much fertilizer harms plants. Make sure to follow the labels in fertilizer to avoid over-fertilizing. 

Tip #3 Fertilize During the Growing Season: The growing months of Christmas cactus fall from April to September. These months make the best time to fertilize our Christmas cactus because it helps our plant increase growth, produce better blooms and enables an overall healthier Christmas cactus. 

  • Increase Growth – fertilizer allows the development of new stems, leaves and flowers.
  • Better Blooms  – fertilizer boosts the production of larger flowers and abundant blooms.
  • Healthier Christmas Cactus – applying fertilizer allows plants to withstand pests and disease so it stays healthy.

Also, take note that your Christmas cactus in its growing season requires bright but indirect sunlight, regular watering and temperature ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Tip #4 Dilute the Fertilizer: Fertilizers contain concentrated nutrients that our plants need to grow. Too much fertilizer harms it otherwise. We dilute the fertilizer to prevent this problem. When we dilute fertilizer, we just add water to reduce the concentration of nutrients. Christmas cactus roots only absorb a certain amount of nutrients at a time. Diluting the fertilizer first allows the roots to absorb the nutrients without causing harm. 

Fertilizers come with labels with instructions on the amount of fertilizer to dilute. As an example, let’s say you will dilute a 20-20-20 fertilizer. You need to mix it with water in a ratio of 1:10 to 1:20. Meaning, if you have 1 tablespoon of fertilizer, you need to mix it with 10 to 20 tablespoons of water. By following this diluting ratio, we can avoid the following over-fertilizing risks:

  • Root burn: This problem occurs when roots get exposed to too much fertilizer and the Christmas cactus starts to die.
  • Leaf burn: When the leaves start to turn yellow or brown, it shows signs of over-fertilizing.
  • Nutrient lockout: Plants, such as the Christmas cactus, become unable to absorb nutrients because the soil gets too soaked with fertilizer. 

Tip #5 Thoroughly water the Christmas cactus after applying fertilizer: Watering thoroughly after applying fertilizer allows further dissolution and helps reach the roots. Water distributes the dissolved fertilizer throughout the soil so the roots effectively absorb them. This practice also helps further dissolve fertilizer particles that weren’t dissolved prior. 

By thoroughly watering the Christmas cactus after using fertilizer, it prevents fertilizer burn. Fertilizers not diluted properly harm your plants and turn them yellow or brown until it dies.  

Tip #6 Do not apply fertilizer during winter: Christmas cactus goes dormant from December to February. Don’t give your plant fertilizer during these months. It results in growth that is not in line with the natural cycle of the plant.

Applying fertilizer also promotes root damage and the growth of molds. Christmas cactus prefers a cool and dry place when it goes dormant. Using fertilizer creates a moist environment that encourages the growth of molds. 


Christmas cactus beautify our homes and add a touch of holiday cheer. However, they can be tricky to care for, especially when it comes to applying fertilizer. In general, you don’t need to fertilize your Christmas cactus very often. A balanced fertilizer specifically designed for cacti can be used once a month during the summer and spring months. Always follow the instructions on the label. 

By following the simple tips discussed above, you can ensure that your Christmas cactus gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and bloom beautifully.

Frequently Asked Question

What Is the Best DIY Fertilizer for Christmas Cactus? 

Coffee grounds make excellent DIY fertilizers because they contain key minerals ideal for plant growth such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and magnesium. Coffee grounds also help absorb soil contaminants like heavy metals and attract worms that are great for your garden. 

Simply sprinkle some coffee grounds around the base of your Christmas cactus or you can mix it into the potting soil when you repot your plant. 

Are Eggshells Good for Christmas Cactus?

Eggshells can provide a decent amount of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium that are essential for Christmas cactus growth. However, it can’t provide as many nutrients as commercial fertilizers. You can powderize the eggshells and sprinkle them around the base of your Christmas cactus. 

Eggshells take a while to break down in the soil so you may need to reapply the powder regularly.

How Can I Make My Christmas Cactus Grow Faster?

You can make your Christmas cactus grow faster by applying nutrients to its soil and repotting it into a pot 2 inches bigger than its diameter to promote root growth. Nutrients may be provided through fertilizers mainly rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Also, make sure that the potting soil contains a generous amount of organic matter and drains properly. 

Why Is My Christmas Cactus Turning Purple?

Christmas cactus is a popular indoor plant because of its vibrant colors. However, seeing the purple discoloration on its leaves and stem brings concern about your plant’s well-being. 

Why is my Christmas cactus turning purple? A Christmas cactus turns purple as a response to environmental stress, such as too much light, to protect itself from the sun’s rays. Other factors such as nutrient deficiency, sudden temperature drops or overwatering also lead to the plant’s discoloration. 

If you’d like to know an in-depth discussion about why a Christmas cactus turns purple and ways to help it turn back to its normal color, keep reading.

What Is a Normal Color for a Christmas Cactus?

A deep, vibrant green indicates that your Christmas cactus is normal. A healthy Christmas cactus possesses plump green leaves and bears abundant flowers. Here are additional indicators of a healthy Christmas cactus:

  • Green-colored stems. Yellowish or pale green stems exhibit signs of nutrient and sunlight deficiency. If the stem turns dark green or purple, it indicates getting too much sunlight. 
  • Glossy green leaves. Purplish shade on leaves means the plant was exposed to too much light. Colors such as yellow, orange or brown on leaves signal a problem.
  • Bright-colored flowers. Flowers make a good indicator of your Christmas cactus health. A healthy Christmas cactus produces vibrant and uniform blooms. If the flowers look faded, it might be a sign that your plant doesn’t get enough light. Aside from the colors, the flower should also:
  1. Produce abundant flowers. If the Christmas cactus grows a noticeably small amount of flowers, it might be a sign of deficiencies in light, nutrients or water.
  2. The size and shape of the flowers are ideal. The flowers of a healthy Christmas cactus look large and well-formed. Small or distortedly-shaped flowers mean your plant doesn’t get enough light and nutrients.
  3. Long-lasting lifespan of flowers. The average lifespan of the Christmas cactus flowers ranges between four to six weeks. However, if the flowers last for several days only, your plant lacks enough water or nutrients.

Importance of Understanding the Causes of Color Change in Christmas Cactus

Knowing and understanding the changes in the color of your Christmas cactus plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy plant, providing optimal care, timing blooms and increasing propagation and cultivation measures. In the following section, we will discuss the essential factors in understanding why your Christmas cactus changes color.

Related article: Best Pot for Christmas Cactus 

To Detect Potential Problem

When your Christmas cactus turns yellow, brown or purple, it indicates problems such as overwatering, nutrient deficiency or root rot. Color change also signals your plant experienced environmental stress or acquired diseases. By understanding why your Christmas cactus alters its color, we can identify and address the problem correctly.

To Provide Optimal Care

Factors such as the amount of water and sunlight, temperature and fertilizer affect the color of your Christmas cactus. Knowing these factors allow Christmas cactus owners, like us, to provide the right amount of care for your plants. For example, adjusting the amount of light exposure promotes more vibrant-colored stems, leaves and flowers. Also, supplying the right amount of nutrient levels and water guarantees healthy leaves and flowers. 

Successful Cultivation and Propagation

Knowledge of the color change of Christmas cactus allows plant breeders and enthusiasts to successfully propagate this plant using different techniques like grafting to preserve and propagate specific color traits. They can also use the knowledge about changes in color to develop new varieties, or cultivars, with desired colors. Some examples of Christmas cactus cultivars are the Christmas Fantasy and the Christmas Flame.

Related article: Most Common Christmas Cactus Problems [+How to Solve Them]

Reasons for Purple Coloration in Christmas Cactus

Anthocyanins are color pigments responsible for the purple color of your Christmas cactus. Environmental stress factors produce these pigments on plants as their response. In the case of your Christmas cactus, anthocyanins absorb the excess sunlight to prevent damage to your plant’s cells. In other words, the Christmas cactus changes color to purple to protect itself from too much light absorption. 

Aside from excessive light protection, here are the other reasons why your Christmas cactus turns purple.

Temperature Stress

Temperature changes induce the production of anthocyanins in the Christmas cactus. The cold temperature causes the accumulation of anthocyanins to prevent cold-induced damage. The ideal temperature for your Christmas cactus should range between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposing your plant to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause permanent damage. 

Related article: How to Grow a Bigger Christmas Cactus

Nutrient Deficiencies

The purple discoloration signals a lack of nutrients – specifically magnesium and phosphorus. Phosphorous deficiency increases the development of anthocyanin levels which turns foliage to purple discoloration. It also impedes root growth. For the worst symptom, your plant becomes pale due to extreme deficiency. 

On the other hand, a deficiency in magnesium turns the leaf edges purple. Magnesium is a component of chlorophyll – a green pigment in plants. When your Christmas cactus lacks magnesium, it inhibits the production of chlorophyll. To compensate for the lack of chlorophyll, your plant produces anthocyanins, which are purple pigments. 

Although anthocyanins play an unnecessary part in your plant’s growth, they help protect leaves from any damage caused by too much sunlight exposure. 

An ideal amount of phosphorus and magnesium for Christmas cactus is shown in the table below. 

NutrientRecommended Amount
Phosphorous200-300 ppm
Magnesium50-100 ppm

Christmas cactus requires a balanced amount of phosphorus and magnesium. Phosphorus helps your plant bloom and magnesium plays an important role in photosynthesis. We can supply these important nutrients to your Christmas cactus by using fertilizer. The ideal fertilizer ratio contains 20% nitrogen, 20% phosphorous and 20% potassium. 

You can provide magnesium to your plant by using Epsom salts – a natural source of magnesium. You can easily mix this with your fertilizer. The ratio of Epsom salt to give is 1 teaspoon per gallon of water.

Other Underlying Issues

Environmental stresses such as pests, improper potting soil and overwatering or underwatering cause purple discoloration in your Christmas cactus. 

  • Overwatering – Overwatering leads to root rot. Root rot stops the plant’s absorption of water and nutrients. This problem stresses your Christmas cactus which leads your plant to produce anthocyanins – the purple pigments in your plant.
  • Underwatering – Insufficient water supply causes stress to your Christmas cactus. It attempts to produce anthocyanins to protect itself from stress. This causes your plant leaves to turn purple. 
  • Pests – Pests such as mealybugs, scale insects and aphids don’t directly cause the purple discoloration to your Christmas cactus. However, when they feed on the sap of your plant, it weakens your Christmas cactus. It stresses them and causes the production of anthocyanins. 
  • Improper Potting Soil – Using soil not appropriate for your Christmas cactus causes purple discoloration. Improper potting soil brings forth several problems such as poor drainage, nutrient deficiency and too high or too low soil pH. As mentioned, these problems cause stress that leads to the production of anthocyanins in your plant. 

Natural Color Variation

Some Christmas cactus variations naturally exhibit purple color in their leaves and stem. Examples of these variations include the Purple Passion Christmas cactus, Schwarzenberg Christmas cactus and Limelight Christmas cactus. Purple leaves and stems are perfectly normal for these variations and don’t indicate problems. This means that observing the growth and overall health of your Christmas cactus helps determine if this is the case. 

Will a Purple Christmas Cactus Turn Green Again?

Yes, the Christmas cactus can go back to its normal color. Here are the following steps on how to address the purple discoloration: 

  • Provide adequate light. The cactus needs 8 hours of indirect light per day. The ideal location to put the Christmas cactus is by the window except the south. If we place the plant in a south-facing window, use blinds or sheer curtains to filter the light.
  • Fertilize using a balanced fertilizer. The ideal fertilizer formula for this plant is 20-20-20 – 20% nitrogen, 20% phosphorous and 20% potassium. It helps solve the nutrient imbalances causing purple discoloration in the Christmas cactus. 
  • Ensure proper watering. Soak the soil and let it completely dry before watering. Consistency is the key here. If you follow consistent and appropriate practices in watering, it restores your plant’s health and color. 
  • Maintain stable temperatures. We must keep the Christmas cactus in a stable temperature that ranges between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposing this plant to fluctuating temperatures causes it stress, which may turn it purple again.

If the following conditions above are met and still the plant doesn’t return to its normal color, the presence of genetic factors or underlying issues may affect its ability to return to its normal color. You may want to consult a horticulturist for further assistance. 

Related article: Ultimate Guide: Types of Christmas Cactus 


Aside from its normal color variation, environmental stresses cause the purple discoloration in the Christmas cactus. These stresses include temperature stress, nutrient deficiency and underlying issues such as overwatering, underwatering, pests or improper potting soil. We can help address these issues by consistently providing the appropriate care such as addressing the right amount of light, water and nutrients. By doing these things, you can help your plant return back to its normal color. 

How to Grow a Bigger Christmas Cactus

Christmas cacti are a popular choice for indoor plants because they are relatively small and easy to care for. However, they can grow larger in ideal environmental conditions. A Christmas cactus can reach a maximum of 12 inches in height and 24 inches in width. Several factors determine the size of a Christmas cactus. If you want to keep it small, provide your plant with indirect sunlight, well-drained soil and a pot of just the right size. You have to provide more light and a larger pot if you’re looking for a larger Christmas cactus. 

How to grow a bigger Christmas cactus? Choose a pot that is two to three inches larger than the current pot to give its roots enough room to grow. Also, use well-draining soil with high organic content and water your Christmas cactus correctly. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the key factors for growing a bigger Christmas cactus. Keep reading to learn more.

Key Factors for Growing a Bigger Christmas Cactus

Pot Size

Christmas cacti prefer pots that are not too big for them. As suggested, use pots that are two inches bigger than your plant. For example, you have a Christmas cactus that measures 2 inches in diameter. In that case, utilize a pot that measures 4 inches in diameter. Christmas cacti prefer smaller pots because they don’t grow large roots. Using pots that are too large for Christmas cacti inhibits their growth because it causes them to release a stress hormone known as abscisic acid. Abscisic acid is a plant hormone that is released when the plant is stressed in response to several environmental factors. 

Using smaller pots also prevents root rot as it doesn’t hold too much water in the soil. If the Christmas cactus like smaller pots, how can you grow a bigger one? Christmas cactus need repotting every 4 years. After 4 years, the Christmas cactus will outgrow its pots. This is the best opportunity to transition to a bigger pot – but make sure you still follow the correct ratio between the plant size and the pot size. You can check these terra cotta pots that come in different sizes ideal for Christmas cactus.

Related article: Best Pot for Christmas Cactus


The soil you use impacts the growth of your Christmas cactus. To encourage the growth of your Christmas cactus, choose the right soil. In the next section, we will discuss the different factors to consider in picking the right soil for your plant.

  • Drainage – Use soil that drains well to prevent root rot. Christmas cactus are especially susceptible to this kind of problem. The right soil must not be soggy but must be able to hold some moisture too.
  • Aeration – Aeration provides oxygen to the plant’s roots. Roots need oxygen to survive. Oxygen is required for respiration so roots can produce the energy the plant requires to survive. Compact soil squeezes out the air pockets that give roots difficulty in getting oxygen. It’s very important to choose soil that provides aeration.
  • Organic Matter – Examples of organic matter in soil are compost, peat or leaf mold. Organic matter improves aeration, drainage and water retention. 
  • pH Level – pH level refers to how basic or acidic soil is. It affects the presence of nutrients essential for plant absorption. Christmas cactus requires slightly acidic soil that ranges between 5.5 to 6.2 in pH levels. Too much alkaline content inhibits nutrient absorption in plants. 
  • Nutrients – The major nutrients that Christmas cactus require include nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. You can provide these nutrients by using fertilizers.


How you water your Christmas cactus could either hinder its growth or help it reach its potential size. The ideal time to water your Christmas cactus is when the soil becomes totally dry. The best way to water your plant is by soaking it in water and letting the water drain through the pot’s holes. However, water your Christmas cactus less frequently during the winter months. 

The problem of overwatering is mostly common in Christmas cactus. If the roots are exposed to wet soil for too long, it leads to root rot. Too much water in the soil prevents the roots from absorbing nutrients and oxygen crucial for a plant’s survival. On the other hand, underwatering wilts the leaves of the Christmas cactus until it dies. Although the Christmas cactus tolerates underwatering more than overwatering, it’s best to practice the right way of watering it so that it grows into a bigger Christmas cactus. 

Here are some extra tips for watering your Christmas cactus:

  • Thoroughly water the Christmas cactus until the water runs out of the pot’s drainage holes. 
  • Always use a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from getting stuck in the soil.
  • Let the soil turn completely dry in between waterings.
  • You can mist the Christmas cactus leaves regularly to increase humidity.

Related article: Can Christmas Cactus Survive Outside?


All plants, including the Christmas cactus, require light to produce energy. This energy makes the plant grow through a process called photosynthesis. Without light, energy can’t be produced and your plant will die. The Christmas cactus needs at least 8 hours of exposure to indirect light. You can achieve this by putting your plant in the window facing east or south. 

Below, we will discuss in detail how light impacts your plant’s growth:

  • Light intensity – As mentioned, Christmas cactus likes bright but indirect light. Direct exposure to sunlight can burn its leaves while less light can slow down its growth rate.
  • Light quality – Christmas cactus prefer filtered light by the window or shade cloth. This plant can tolerate bright light but not for long. 
  • Light duration – Take note that the Christmas cactus requires 8 hours of indirect light exposure and 12 to 14 hours of darkness. Aside from its growth, it needs darkness to encourage your Christmas cactus to bloom. During the nighttime, this plant gets pollinated by insects, such as moths, which helps their reproduction.

Alternative lights can make up for the insufficient natural light during winter. You can check out this full-spectrum light for indoor plants ideal for Christmas cactus and your other house plants during winter.

However, take note that Christmas cactus still prefer natural light. Also, winter months are when most Christmas cactus undergo the dormancy period. You can reduce the amount of light your plant receives. By giving your Christmas cactus the right amount and right quality of light, you help it grow in size and bloom beautifully. 

Related article: Most Common Christmas Cactus Problems [+How to Solve Them]


Taking good care of the Christmas cactus involves pruning. Pruning plays two important roles in the life of your Christmas cactus. What are these two?

  • Pruning encourages new growth – Pruning involves removing old woody leaves and stems. By doing this, you allow your plant to focus on producing new and healthy stems and leaves. The new stems grow larger and stronger than the old ones which results in a bigger Christmas cactus overall. 
  • Pruning improves air circulation – Better air circulation happens between stems when a Christmas cactus is well-pruned. It prevents pests and diseases that keep your plant healthy. A healthy Christmas cactus is more likely to grow bigger. 

How do we prune our Christmas cactus the right way? You can follow these tips from our Christmas cactus experts. 

  • Prune your Christmas cactus only after it has bloomed. Why? After its blooming period, the plant enters into a growth period that is more likely to produce new and healthy stems.
  • Use a sharp and clean knife to cut dead or infected stems off the plant. This prevents the spread of any pests and diseases the old stems of your plant carry.
  • Prune right to the base of the stem. Pruning from the base stimulates the plant to produce new growth.

Questions you may ask about pruning:

  • When is the best time to prune? As mentioned, after the Christmas cactus has bloomed is the right time to prune. This happens somewhere from November to January.
  • How much do I need to prune? If your Christmas cactus is overgrown, you can prune it to about 1/3. However, if your plant is healthy, just remove any dead, damaged or diseased stems. 
  • What specific part do I need to prune? Prune the stems. Leaves are not really needed for the plant’s growth so you can leave them on the plants.
  • What tools do I need to prune? You need a clean and sharp knife to prune the Christmas cactus. Always disinfect your knife before and after pruning to stop the spread of diseases.

Related article: Ultimate Guide: Types of Christmas Cactus


Several factors should be put into consideration to grow a bigger Christmas cactus. Use the right pot size that is only 2 inches bigger than the diameter of the Christmas cactus currently. Choose soil that provides good drainage and aeration for your plant’s roots. Provide indirect yet quality light for your Christmas cactus. Don’t overwater or underwater your plant. Lastly, prune your Christmas cactus to encourage healthy growth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Fertilizer for Christmas Cactus?

The best fertilizer for Christmas cactus contains high potassium content in liquid form. Liquid-form fertilizers have less salt content than granular fertilizers. Roots retract from fertilizers that contain too much salt. Examples of liquid-form fertilizers good for your Christmas cactus include Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed Advance Starter Kit, Miracle-Gro Blooming Houseplant Food and Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Liquid Plant.

Where Is the Best Place to Put a Christmas Cactus?

The best place to put your Christmas cactus is in the corner of your house with indirect sunlight, such as your window facing the east, west or south. Christmas cactus thrive well when exposed to indirect light for 8 hours a day.

Ultimate Guide: Types of Christmas Cactus

Did you know that the Christmas cactus is a hybrid of the Thanksgiving and E:aster cactus? The Thanksgiving cactus was the first species discovered in the forest of Brazil in 1817. Later in 1837, Charles Lemaire found the Easter cactus. He crossbred the two species that resulted in the first Christmas cactus in 1852. Today, hundreds of Christmas cactus hybrids exist. Christmas cactus has now become a popular indoor plant and a holiday gift.

What are the different types of Christmas cactus? The three types of Christmas cactus include the Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus and Easter Cactus. Each type acquires distinct features that make them different from each other. Types refer to distinct species that have been identified by scientists.

As we learn the three main types of Christmas cactus, join us as we explore each type in this article. 

Thanksgiving Cactus

We will discuss the first type of Christmas cactus – the Thanksgiving cactus. The Thanksgiving cactus is a native of Brazil’s rainforest which was discovered in 1817. Today, this type of Christmas cactus is a popular indoor plant that blooms during the fall and winter months. It’s also a low-maintenance plant. What makes this type different from the other Christmas cactus variety?  

Key Characteristics of the Thanksgiving Cactus

Leaves – The Thanksgiving cactus has green spineless leaves that are flattened. These leaves possess pointed teeth that appear like a crab’s claws, the reason it is also known as the crab cactus. The Thanksgiving cactus leaves reach a mature size of 12 to 24 inches long. 

Flowers – The flowers of the Thanksgiving cactus come in a variety of colors such as white, pink, orange or yellow. You’ll commonly see them in a dark shade of pink. Thanksgiving cactus flower once a year only. This cactus typically blooms mid-November or early December – that was where it derived its name. The flowers stay for as long as seven to eight weeks.

Related article: Can Christmas Cactus Survive Outside?

Easter Cactus 

Another type of Christmas cactus is the Easter Cactus. It was also discovered in the forests of Brazil in 1832 and found growing on trees and rocks. The flowering season falls from March to May or right around Easter – where its name originated. Most people confuse this one with the Thanksgiving cactus, but they’re two completely different types. So how does this type of Christmas cactus differ from the other types?

Easter Cactus
Easter Cactus

Key Characteristics of the Easter Cactus

Leaves – Unlike the Thanksgiving cactus with crab-like edges in its leaves, the Easter cactus has rounded scallops on its flattened leaves. The presence of bristles and round margins found at the tip of the leaves make this distinct from the other types of Christmas cactus. The segments of the stem usually measure from 2 to 3 inches. The mature stems change from flattened to triangular in shape. 

Flower – As mentioned, the Easter cactus blooms from March to May. The flower appears to be bell-shaped with a diameter that measures between 1.5 to 3 inches. The flower comes in a range of colors, such as pink, orange and red. Unlike the Thanksgiving cactus and Christmas cactus flowers, the Easter cactus flowers open during the day and close at night. These flowers last for as long as two weeks and reopen once the morning comes and closes again at night.

Christmas Cactus

The third type of Christmas cactus that we’re going to discuss is the Christmas cactus. You read it right – the Christmas cactus. To clarify your confusion, the Christmas cactus is just a general term given to a group of cacti that were discovered in the forest of southeastern Brazil. This group of cacti belongs to the genus of Schlumbergera – scientifically speaking. The Thanksgiving cactus is known as Schlumbergera truncata while the Easter cactus is Schlumbergera gaertneri. 

The third type of cactus that we’re currently discussing is scientifically known as Schlumbergera x buckleyi or commonly known as the true Christmas cactus. As mentioned earlier, this type resulted from the crossbreed of the Thanksgiving cactus and the Easter cactus in 1852. 

Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus

Key Characteristics of the Christmas Cactus

Leaves – True Christmas cactus consists of flattened segments with edges that are wider at the base and narrower at the tip – like a tear-drop shape. These edges have a series of small sharp teeth that makes it distinct from the other types. The tip of these leaves have areoles where flowers would appear.

Flower – Christmas cactus blooms from November to February. The flowers are asymmetrical and come in different colors such as purple to red. They have a tube-like appearance and droop downwards. This type of Christmas cactus blooms lasts for four to six weeks. 

Caring for Christmas Cacti

Caring for these three types of holiday cacti is pretty much the same. In the next section, we will discuss the general care requirements for the following types. 


The temperature requirement for your Christmas cactus ranges between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they are called cacti, they are not similar to the cactus in the desert that can tolerate intense drought. Christmas cacti thrive well in partially shaded locations. 


The Christmas cacti prefer bright but indirect light. Indoors, the ideal place to put the Christmas cactus is in front of the windows facing the east, north or west direction. Avoid the south windows because it’s too bright for the plant. 

During winter months when there’s a scarcity of natural light, you can use artificial lights that emit full-spectrum lights. The light coming from full-spectrum lights will provide our Christmas cactus with the strong lighting it needs to grow and bloom. You can check this Full-Spectrum Light for plants indoors with great features such as dimmable levels, auto on and off timer and adjustable stand. 


The best way to water your Christmas cactus is to soak the soil until the water runs out of the pot drains. After that, allow the soil to completely dry before the next watering. During winter months, slightly water your Christmas cactus. A good interval would be from four to six weeks. 

Related article: Best Pot for Christmas Cactus

Expert Tip: 

Do not use cold water for your Christmas cactus because it can cause shock to the plant. Use lukewarm water. If you live in a humid climate, you may need to frequently water your Christmas cactus. 


Overfertilizing the Christmas cactus can be more harmful than underfertlizing it. If you apply fertilizer to your Christmas cactus, consider your plant’s size. Large Christmas cactus require stronger fertilizer than smaller ones. The interval of applying the fertilizer ranges between six to eight weeks. Don’t forget to water your plant after applying fertilizer. 

Expert Tip:

Do not fertilize your Christmas cactus during winter months because they are dormant. When a plant is dormant, its growth halts. Applying fertilizer could lead to damage. Fertilizers contain nitrogen which leads to nitrogen toxicity. When a plant is in its dormant period, it slowly absorbs or stops absorbing nutrients and water. Symptoms include leaves turning yellow until they drop.


The best time to prune Christmas cactus is after its blooming season – usually during summer or spring. Pruning plays an important part in your plant’s growth because it encourages new growth and flowering. It also promotes healthy plants as it is a good way to remove damaged or dead leaves.

Expert Tip:

In pruning your Christmas cactus, use a sterilized knife to avoid the spread of disease. I’d recommend the OTTO 4 Pack Professional Bypass Pruning Shears. They can help you with indoor and outdoor planting, and the handle design reduces the stress on your wrists making them perfect for older individuals who like plants. 

Pests and Diseases

Christmas cactus is prone to pests and diseases that include:

  • Root rot caused by fungi
  • Spider mites
  • Mealybugs
  • Scale

Isolate your Christmas cactus when infected by any of these pests and diseases. The next step is to remove these pests from the infected parts of the plant. You can use insecticide or fungicide to treat your Christmas cactus. After treating your plant, make sure to take care of it well.
Related article: Ultimate Guide: Christmas Cactus Root Rot


Christmas cactus has three main types that include Thanksgiving cactus, Easter Cactus and Christmas Cactus. Each type acquires key characteristics that make them distinct from each other. The Thanksgiving cactus has crab-like leaves and flower colors that range from white to orange. Easter cactus has leaves with round and smooth edges with golden hair at the tip. The flowers usually appear in different colors such as pink and red. Lastly, the Christmas cactus possess leaves that have tear-drop shape edges and flowers that come in colors of red to purple. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know What Kind of Christmas Cactus I Have?

The easiest way to identify what kind of Christmas cactus you have is by looking at the leaves’ shape. The Thanksgiving cactus has leaves that look like a crab’s claw. The Christmas cactus has tear-drop shaped leaves. Easter Cactus has rounded leaves that have golden bristles at the tip. 

What color is a healthy Christmas cactus?

A healthy Christmas cactus has vibrant dark green leaves that are firm when touched. The leaves are not yellow or wilted. If the leaves are yellowish, the Christmas cactus may be underwatered or overwatered. If the plant is wilted, it is underwatered.

What Is the Original Christmas Cactus?

The original Christmas cactus was recorded in 1854 and is a hybrid of the Thanksgiving cactus and the Easter cactus. It’s called the true Christmas cactus or scientifically known as Schlumbergera x buckleyi. This hybrid blooms in December and January. 

Most Common Christmas Cactus Problems [+How to Solve Them]

Over the years, I’ve kept several Christmas cactus in the home, and I’ve encountered many of the common Christmas cactus problems. Generally speaking, I love the Christmas cactus because they require less work than other plants to keep healthy, and they can live for decades—my mom had one over 50 years old! While they can live for a long time, you can run into problems with them. Stay tuned because I’ll highlight the issues, the causes and how to solve each one. 

Problem #1: Pale or Red Plant Leaves 


You put the Christmas cactus over in the south-facing window, but you check it one day to notice how the leaves on it turned red, purple or pale. In fact, this issue commonly happens with other cactus, too, where too much direct sunlight can turn the plant leaves red. Incidentally, the Christmas cactus leaves turn red for the same reason. It means that your Christmas cactus is getting too much direct sunlight. 

Now, in some cases, people even do this purposely to bring out the pretty colors of the plant, but you must keep a close eye on it. Too much sunlight will kill a Christmas cactus. Now, I said that red leaves are a problem, but if it only has a light red tint, the plant may do fine. 


Move the Christmas out of the south window if you put it there. Otherwise, check to see if it receives direct sunlight in the area you placed it. Most Christmas cactus prefer eight hours of indirect sunlight. If you use artificial light, they prefer 10 hours. Too much sunlight can damage the stem region beyond repair. 

To get indirect sunlight, you should search for a type of filter to the sunlight. For example, the tree canopy can act as a filter if it lets in enough indirect sunlight. Furniture or curtains could play the same role. Look for what will shield the plant from the sun’s rays. 

Especially if you will put the Christmas Cactus outside, you will want to put it in an area with indirect sunlight. 

Problem #2: Limp or Droopy Christmas Cactus Leaves


Check your Christmas cactus because in some cases, this happens because you overwatered it. Wilted or shriveled leaves indicate the same problem—overwatering. You can especially tell that you overwatered it if the Christmas cactus produces no flowers during the blooming season. It blooms from November to December. 

Feel the flat stems and if they feel soft or mushy, you may need to cut back on watering. In the most severe cases, the Christmas cactus emits a foul odor because of the rot in the plant or rot in its roots


You should water your Christmas cactus on average of once every one to two weeks. I would err on the side of every two weeks because you already overwatered it. Overwatering a Christmas cactus will always do more harm than underwatering it. It recovers more easily. You can tell if you underwatered it because the soil will feel bone dry, and you may see wilting at the stem. 

After the blooming season, stave off watering it for four to six weeks because the Christmas cactus enters a rest period during this time. You need to give it a rest period so that it will bloom for the next season.

Check the soil, too, because Christmas cactus soil should drain easily. Similar to other cacti, it needs soil with good drainage, or it will hold in the water. You may not overwater it at all, and instead, you simply don’t have good drainage. 

Problem #3: Shriveled or Wilted Christmas Cactus Leaves


Most commonly, your Christmas cactus will shrivel or wilt when too dry. In some cases, direct sunlight dries out the soil too much. Your plant soil may dry out quickly because of: 

  • Loose soil
  • Invasive fungi
  • Low humidity
  • Internal water channels 
  • Too much sunlight


You do require some dryness with Christmas cactus soil or it can lead to worse problems. Figuring out when your Christmas cactus needs water can prove a guessing game, but you usually want moisture at least 2 inches down into the soil. 

Now, you can either guess when it needs water, which you can still be wrong about and kill the plant, or you can buy the XLUX Soil Moisture Meter. What I like about the moisture meter is that it eliminates the guesswork, doesn’t require any batteries (so you don’t need to keep investing in batteries), and you will find that your Christmas cactus is in a healthier condition, not stinking up the house because of root rot from overwatering It also doesn’t cost that much, so what’s the risk? Give it a try from the link above!

Problem #4: Christmas Cactus Misses the Blooming Season 


Especially when I first started with the Christmas cactus, I would often find that the plant kept growing, but it wouldn’t bloom. What gives? The blooming season for the Christmas cactus happens from November to December. In some cases, it may happen in early January, but this isn’t as common. If it fails to bloom during that time, you missed the blooming season. 

Now, a Christmas cactus not producing flowers won’t put your plant in danger of dying, but you’ll miss the beautiful buds and flowers. The blooming season is one of the most satisfying times to own a Christmas cactus, so it can make you feel disappointed if it doesn’t blossom—I’ve been there.

In some cases, artificial light can cause it to not bloom properly or if the temperatures rise above 70° F during the day and 60° F to 65° F at night. Beware of a lack of water as well because it often uses water as energy to produce blossoms.


The Christmas cactus originates in the rainforests of Brazil, and the change in the climate during the winter triggers the flowering process. For that reason, you want to create the same conditions as in the Amazon rainforests to trigger the flowering process. 

Be aware that this process begins in September, so you want to put the Christmas cactus in a less-used room during this time. Make sure that the temperature drops down to 60° F to 65° F. Don’t turn on the lights at night in that room since this can hurt the blossoming. The plant needs at least 14 hours of darkness and eight hours of indirect sunlight. 

Beware of street lights from outside that can trigger an incorrect light cycle. 

Afterward, you don’t need to follow the same rigorous light schedule. If you mess up, don’t worry too much since it may take practice to get it right. 

Let’s say that you must enter the room at night. My mom would cover the Christmas cactus with a thick black plastic garbage bag, but you could use a black cloth as well. You can enter the room but only do it if you must. And don’t do it at all if you can help it. Go in the room during the day instead. 

Also, don’t leave the light on for too long, and turn it out as quickly as possible. Usually, you put on the black garbage bag at 8 pm and remove it in the morning to mimic about 8 hours of sunlight—the same as in its natural habitat during the winter season. 

Problem #5: Christmas Cactus Leaves Keep Falling Off


Watch the watering of your cactus closely because leaves fall off due to overwatering or underwatering. When it happens because of overwatering, your roots may suffer from root rot. The longer the roots stay wet, the higher the risk of root rot. As the roots weaken, they can’t perform the same function as they once did. 

Because of the weakened state of your roots, they never transfer the water to the leaves. When this happens, the leaves will fall off. The leaves often feel mushy and soft after falling off because of a lack of water. It basically happens for the same reason with underwatering. 

In some cases, this may cause the leaves to fall off because of issues with the pot. Christmas cactus can grow up to 2 feet within a few years. If you keep the same pot as what you originally had, you risk losing leaves from that as well. 

The reason behind it is that the plant will drop off leaves as a way to conserve energy. The dropping of the leaves happen because of nutrient deficiency. The plant, as the pot becomes too crowded, sheds the leaves as a way to survive through the conservation of its energy. 


If the issue relates to overwatering, you need to cut back on watering. For example, if you water once a week, cut it back to every two weeks. You do more damage from overwatering than you do from underwatering, so you may want to keep it lighter. 

Now, on the other hand, we talked about the Christmas cactus and how they outgrow their pots. You may need to buy a new Christmas cactus pot. I’d recommend this terracotta pot because it has a great style that will make your home look even better. 

Terracotta is also a great pot because of how it lets the soil of Christmas cactus breathe due to its porous material. This prevents root rot. 

Related article: Best Pot for Christmas Cactus

Problem #6: Gray Mold on Christmas Cactus


You can spot this problem when you look at the Christmas cactus to see a whitish-gray mold growing on the leaves of your plant. They call this Botrytis blight, and it most often forms on the plant because of overwatering. You may start to see black spots, also known as necrotic spots, forming on your Christmas cactus. It may happen if the humidity in the room reaches excess levels that let the bacteria form in the leaves of the plant. When it happens because of too much humidity in the room, it will attack the stems of the plant. In some cases, you may see it forming on the blossoms of your plant. 


Don’t try to spray fungicides on it because it’s hard on you, your family and your pets, and this bacteria acts fast, and it will kill your plant quickly. It flourishes in dead plant tissue. In fact, once the Botrytis blight becomes visible on the plant, it means that the fungus had already been culminating for the last two to three weeks. 

You need to isolate your plant away from all the others and pay close attention to the other plants because this fungus starts out small, but it can go on to infect an entire space and kill off all of your plants. The fungus spreads from a breeze or from water that splashes over into the next plant. 

If the fungus starts before the blooming season, it can prevent the flowers from opening. To save the plant, you need to isolate the infected plants and remove all diseased flowers and leaves. Disinfect your pruning tools as well with a 10 percent bleach solution or a 70 percent alcohol solution. If you’d rather buy it, I’d recommend the Grower’s Ally Fungicide Spray for Plants.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this shows you some of the most common Christmas cactus problems and how to solve them. Compared to other plants, Christmas cactus grow easily, but you need to understand some of the problems you may encounter. Unlike most other types of cactus, Christmas cactus inhabit the tropical climate, rather than desert climates. You want to understand that a failure to understand their natural habitat can lead to problems.

Over time, I became better and better at handling the Christmas cactus as my knowledge of this wonderful plant grew. 

Best Pot for Christmas Cactus

Christmas cacti have been around since the 1800s. It emerged as the hybrid of the “Thanksgiving cactus” and the “Easter cactus”. The first hybrids bore cherry-red flowers that bloom from around November to January. Today, the Christmas cactus became a popular houseplant and a great gift for the holiday. 

One common misconception about the Christmas cactus is that it thrives like other cacti. Christmas cacti is actually not a true cactus so it’s not right to assume it requires the same care as the other true cacti. With proper care, it can live for up to 40 to 50 years. How do we properly care for this plant? Let’s start with the right pot.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Pot for Christmas Cactus

In this article, we’ll give you three factors to consider in choosing the best pot for your Christmas cactus.

Choose the Best Pot Size

First, you must consider the size of your Christmas cactus. Choose a pot that would accommodate the natural growth of your plant. If your Christmas cactus plant currently measures 2 inches in diameter, choose a pot that measures 4 inches. The pot size should be 2 inches wider. Christmas cactus thrives well with moderately crowded roots so don’t choose a pot that’s too big either. 

Choose a Pot With Proper Drainage

Drainage is super important in choosing the best pot for your Christmas cactus. It drains excess water that causes root rot. Roots need oxygen as any living organism does. When the soil doesn’t drain the water quickly, the stagnant water blocks the roots from absorbing oxygen. Plant roots in general require respiration that allows the conversion of glucose into cellular energy. This cellular energy is then utilized for metabolic processes such as taking up water and nutrients your Christmas cactus require. 

Choose the Best Pot Material

Terra cotta or unglazed clay makes the best material for a pot. Its porous characteristic allows water to freely drain water to avoid the problem of root rot. The terra-cotta pot also promotes good aeration around the Christmas cactus’ roots. When it comes to aesthetics, terra cotta pots vary in styles and sizes suitable for your needs. Check out this stunning terra cotta pot perfect for your Christmas cactus. 

Terra Cotta Pots

Terra cotta pots are heavier than other types of pots. When using terra cotta pots for your Christmas cactus plant, it requires gentle handling as it is prone to breaking. The freeze and thaw cycles can also break the pot. To prevent this problem, use things such as stones or bricks to elevate the pot. It’s not a problem for Christmas cactus as it usually stays indoors.

Related article: Can Christmas Survive Outside?

Best Alternative Pots for Christmas Cactus

As mentioned, terra cotta pots are the recommended pot for Christmas cacti. However, you can also use other pots such as plastic pots and ceramic pots as good alternatives for terra cotta pots. Keep on reading as we will dive deep into each material.

Plastic Pots

Unlike terra cotta pots, it’s easier to move plastic pots around without worrying about breaking them easily. The plastic material is more durable compared to the terra cottas’. However, plastic materials can be easily knocked down so make sure to place these pots with Christmas cactus in a safe location.

Durable Plastic Pot

If you use plastic pots for your Christmas cactus, water it more frequently as it doesn’t allow air circulation as much as the terra cotta pots provide. As mentioned earlier, aeration plays a crucial part in the plant’s water and nutrients absorption. Be sure to water your Christmas cactus as needed but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. 

In terms of appearance, plastic pots come in a variety of styles, colors and sizes. Though terra cotta pots offer more aesthetics, plastic pots cover a wide range of colors that can match any decor you have at home like these Joojeers Extra Thick Heavy Duty Plastic Plant Pots.

Ceramic Pots

Ceramic pots are the best alternative for terra cotta pots. It allows water to drain compared to plastic pots. Thanks to their porous material, it allows good aeration for your Christmas cactus roots. This helps prevent root rot and other problems caused by poor drainage. Ceramic pots also offer more aesthetics. They come in a wide range of styles and colors. 

The aesthetic of this ceramic Embossed Leaves Stoneware Pot will suit well for your Christmas cactus at home. Take note that ceramic pots are not as porous as terra cotta pots. Unlike terra cotta pots, ceramic pots do not allow quick water drainage. When you use ceramic pots for your Christmas cactus, make sure that you allow the soil to get slightly dry out between waterings. 

Fiberglass Pots

Have you heard about fiberglass pots before because I didn’t. This type of material is relatively new and provides significant benefits over conventional pots. Fiberglass pots are durable, lightweight and resistant to fading and cracking regardless of the weather and temperature. They also allow a good amount of air circulation in the plant’s roots. 

Fiberglass pots usually come in bigger sizes. They’re perfect if your Christmas cactus reaches its full length like this Fiberstone Matte White Planter. These types of pots are a bit pricey compared to traditional pots. However, they offer impressive durability and they last long while looking great. If you’d like to invest in long-term pots, fiberglass pots make a good option.

Additional Pot Tips

As mentioned earlier, choosing the right size for a pot is crucial. A pot that is too large for your Christmas cactus holds too much water that would cause root rot problems. On the other hand, choosing a pot that is too small for your plant prevents the roots from spreading out. It will impede the growth of your Christmas cactus because it restricts the plant’s water and nutrient absorption.

Once you see that the soil is dry, water your Christmas cactus. Ceramic pots slowly dry out compared to terra cotta or clay pots so you don’t have to water your plant more often. Ceramic and terra cotta pots are prone to cracks during winter. To prevent this, wrap your pot using a burlap sack or by keeping your pot indoors. 

Always empty the saucer to prevent stagnant water around your pot. Christmas cacti belong to the succulent group that’s why they can’t tolerate a mushy environment. Remember also that Christmas cactus doesn’t thrive in extreme drought like the true cacti. Water it once the soil feels dry. 

Related article: Cactus Root System: 6 Things That Will Surprise You!

When to Repot Christmas Cactus

The best time to repot your Christmas cactus is when you see its root bounds. Root bounds usually happen every three to four years. It exhibits similar signs when your plant is underwatered. Your Christmas cactus is ready for repotting if you see the following root bound signs:

  • Roots start to come out of the drainage holes
  • Stem becomes yellow or brown
  • Soil turns hard or the top layer turns dry

You can’t just transfer your Christmas cactus to a new pot any time of the year. It’s best to do this after the plant finishes its blooming season because the buds would fall off if we insist on repotting it. February and March are the best months to repot your Christmas cactus.

How to Repot Christmas Cactus

We need to repot Christmas cactus to replenish the nutrients the soil lost over time. Usually, potting soil loses its nutrients after two years. Adding organic matter like compost helps the soil to retain nutrients. How do we repot Christmas cactus?

  1. Choose a slightly larger pot than your current pot. Make sure the pot is two inches larger in diameter than your Christmas cactus.
  2. Make sure that the pot has proper drainage.
  3. To improve the drainage, add a layer of pebbles or gravel to the bottom of the pot,
  4. Use a potting mix that is specifically made for cacti and succulents and fill the pot with it.
  5. Remove the Christmas cactus from its pot gently. Be careful not to damage the roots of your Christmas cactus.
  6. Using your finger, loosen the roots of your plant.
  7. Gently place the Christmas cactus in the new pot and fill it with the appropriate potting mix.
  8. Thoroughly water the Christmas cactus and place it in a location with shade, not with direct sunlight. The ideal temperature for Christmas cactus is from 70 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  9. Fertilize your Christmas cactus once a month. Compared with other plants, a Christmas cactus requires a high amount of magnesium.  


Do Christmas Cactus Like Clay or Plastic Pots?

Christmas cactus prefers clay pots. Clay pots offer better air circulation to your plant’s roots than plastic pots. Plastic pots retain more moisture than clay pots. Clay pots also help regulate soil temperature. 

How do I Know if My Cactus Needs a Bigger Pot?

When you see roots coming out from your pot’s draining holes, that’s the time you’ll know it needs a bigger pot. This means that the roots have filled up the pot and the plant is no longer able to grow properly. 


In choosing the best pot for Christmas cactus, you need to consider three things. First, the pot should be the right size. It should be two inches bigger than your Christmas cactus diameter. Second, the pot material should allow good air circulation for your Christmas cactus’ roots. Terra cotta or clay pots are recommended. Most importantly, the best pot should have draining holes to prevent root rot.