The Christmas cactus of the genus Schlumbergera is an epiphytic forest cactus native to the coastal forests of south-eastern Brazil. It is a popular home cactus with succulent leaves that produce pink, purple, red, orange, or yellow flowers around winter.
Being an epiphyte on top of being a cactus, potting soil mix requirements for Christmas cactus are distinct. Wrong composition soil mix can cause it to die despite being a hardy plant.
The Best Potting Soil For Christmas Cactus
When creating the best potting soil for Christmas cactus, remember its original growing conditions. Thus, you must consider the following:
- The Christmas cactus grows on tree branches in non-soil conditions. Therefore, the best cactus soil mix should be aerated.
- Being a cactus and epiphyte, it thrives on low water since any rainwater it receives drains away. Thus while potting the cactus soil mix, make sure it’s well-drained.
- It derives nutrients from organic materials and decomposing debris trapped in a nook of branches. Hence, the best cactus soil mix must have sufficient organic matter.
Moreover, the following components should be present while potting best soil for Christmas cactus –
- Milled peat or loose gardening or potting soil for aeration. Peat also prevents nutrient leaching during drainage. Peat pH is 3.3-4 while Christmas cactus needs a soil pH of 6-7. So, add lime to adjust it.
- Perlite, pumice, sand, or gravel for drainage and aeration.
- Compost, for nutrition and moisture.
Potting Best Cactus Soil Mix (DIY)
If you do not want to buy a readymade cactus soil mix, here is how you can make it yourself:
- Create a cactus soil mix, crushing each component finely, sterilizing them at 160°F for half an hour, and mixing them homogenously.
- If you are potting or repotting, use a pot 2 inches greater in diameter than the last one and at least one drainage hole and fill it will the soil mix.
- Take out the plant and loosen the soil clump at the root by gently massaging it and setting it into a pot.
- Fill a pot with the mix to surround the clump flush and tap lightly.
Christmas cactus, just like coral cactus, should be repotted every 3-5 years in early spring after blooming is over. Repotting every year damages the plant; plus, it likes overcrowded roots. The soil should be well-drained, and watering should only be done when dry. Best Soil care includes 20:10:20 or 20:20:20 NPK fertilization.