You have invested so much time and passion in caring for this beloved cactus, it has also finally formed flower buds to your great delight, but suddenly you are shocked to discover: the Christmas cactus is losing buds! A mix of disappointment and anger and perhaps despair arises in you. What could it be? What did you do wrong, when it seemed that the plant was doing fine? We have summarized for you what the causes could be and how you can possibly save the flowers or at least prevent the problem in the next flowering phase.
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- Location and care are determined by the growing season
Location and care are determined by the vegetation phase
You know the needs of the Christmas cactus in terms of care and location only too well, after all, you got the plant through the year wonderfully and also almost managed to get the Christmas cactus to bloom. So in your opinion, that should not be the problem? That’s not entirely true, because the needs depend on what stage the plant is in. Furthermore, sudden changes can stress the plant. These could be the causes that Christmas cactus loses buds:
Christmas cactus loses buds – Are you really taking care of it properly?
Fertilizer and water are essential for the good development of the cactus plant. This is what you should pay attention to:
Watering Christmas cactus
Do not be fooled by the fact that it is a cactus. It still requires sufficient water unlike other relatives. While watering should be sparse during dormancy, the plant needs moderate moisture at all other periods – so the root ball should be moist, but not wet. Waterlogging is harmful. Only with sufficient water can the cactus also supply its flower buds and develop into flowers. If there is a lack of moisture, the plant will discard the buds to be used for the rest of the plant parts.
Fertilize Christmas cactus at the right time
Of course, nutrients are very important for the plant to grow and have enough strength to form flowers. But at a certain point, fertilizer applications should be stopped, otherwise there will be an excess, which will cause the Christmas cactus to lose its buds. Ideally, fertilize once a month from April to September with liquid fertilizer.
What to consider regarding the environment?
We have already explained to you the extent to which the site conditions must change in order for the Christmas cactus to produce a new flower. After a cooler and darker period, they will change again. These are the rules:
- Watering through the roots is not the only important factor. This tropical specimen generally likes it moist, so you should pay attention to the humidity. When the plant is forming buds, usually the heating season is also in full swing, which in turn means dry heating air. And this causes the Christmas cactus to lose buds.
The solution: spray the leaves with a spray bottle twice a week and place the pot on a container filled with water and stones instead of in the saucer. The water in this container will gradually evaporate and keep the air around the plant moist.
- After the cold period of 10-15 degrees to promote flowering Christmas cactus again needs its preferred temperature of (at most) 20 degrees. Whether it is too warm or too cold, the wrong temperature will cause not only flower buds to fall off, but probably other parts of the plant.
- In our article on how to promote flowering, we explained the importance of light and, more specifically, the dark phase. As soon as the first buds appear, the cactus may return to a bright place, but it must not be in direct sunlight, because this way the Christmas cactus will lose buds and flowers in no time.
- If you frequently change the location, or even just turn the plant too often, this can lead to the loss of buds. This is due to the fact that the plant quickly gets used to its location and then reluctantly “leaves” it. So avoid this.
Christmas cactus loses buds – Why repotting wrong can harm.
You may have suddenly realized that the pot your cactus is growing in has actually become much too small. Perhaps the hanging shoots have become so heavy and are growing more on one side that the plant is tipping over more often. Of course, you would like to change this by getting it a larger container. But you could do more harm than good if you choose the wrong time. And flowering time is just such a wrong time.
If you repot the Christmas cactus, it will be stressed because it will be forced to put energy into acclimatization. Power, which he actually puts into the formation of flowers. Accordingly, the plant “decides” that it is more important to protect the main part and focuses on the formation of new roots, and the Christmas cactus loses buds, which are now no longer sufficiently supplied. Therefore, you carry out this care measure only after flowering.
First seemingly eager to bloom, and suddenly the flower buds fall off
The hobby gardener is of course immensely pleased when he finds masses of buds on his well-cared-for plant. But sometimes it can be too much of a good thing. As you know, the formation of flowers takes a lot out of a plant. So if the plant has formed too many flowers, it is quite possible that it will simply throw off what is too much. If this is the reason that your Christmas cactus also loses buds, then you can assume that this process will stop sooner or later, and yet there will still be enough blooms to enjoy (provided that the care continues to be correct).