Potting soil for Christmas cactus: Soil Requirements

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.

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