You can easily root Christmas Cactus cuttings! Propagating Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus cuttings in water is simple and fast.
It is so easy to root Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) plant cuttings you won’t believe it! I have had sections of leaf stems fall off my plant with buds on them that will root and bloom. Propagating Christmas Cactus in water is so easy even beginner plant growers can do this and succeed.
Some like to lump all the variations of Schlumbergera into the name Zygocactus.
Just so you know, I have an entire article written on how to tell the difference between a Christmas Cactus plant and a Thanksgiving Cactus CLICK HERE.
For a free printable checklist see the end of this post.
Today we talk about
- how to choose a Christmas Cactus plant to propagate
- The best way to take Christmas cuttings to root
- Simple container to root the cuttings
- Propagating Christmas Cacti in Water
- Prime location for a container of Christmas Cactus rooting
- How to plant Christmas Cactus cuttings when Rooted
Though I use the term Christmas Cactus throughout this post I want you to know that you propagate Thanksgiving Cactus the same way. (Schlumbergera)
Choose the Christmas cactus plant for Cuttings
I have this gorgeous Salmon colored Christmas Cactus and I want to really fill a nice pot with it.
It is still on the smallish side and I can get it to fill a pot much more quickly by propagating it. That means taking a piece from it, rooting it, and then adding it to the pot with the parent plant.
Another time to propagate your plant is when you prune it. The article linked will explain in detail why and how to prune your Christmas Cactus.
Plus pruning the Christmas Cactus like this will encourage it to send out more shoots.
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Once it fully opens up I will get another photo of it to share and update this post with it. Here is the updated photo:
To propagate your Christmas Cactus locate a juncture where you want to take a healthy piece about 3 to 4 inches long, with 3 or 4 leaves (sections).
Note: you can take cuttings of just one leaf, 2 leaves up to the 4 I suggested. I find the 3 or 4 easier to handle.
It is often suggested that to not take cuttings that have buds or flowers on them. I have rooted those just fine, usually, it is because that stem fell off when I was moving the plants.
Not only did the budded section root, but they flowered first, which did surprise me. But if I am purposely taking cuttings then I choose one that does not have buds or is not blooming.
This one is kind of jutting out to the side awkwardly so it will make a nice cutting of this.
How to take the Christmas plant cuttings
Sometimes gently bending it and twisting it at the juncture is enough to snap it off and sometimes I have to use my thumbnail to cut it.
The video gives you a really good idea of how I do it best. I also explain why taking the cuttings at a Y is best but not imperative.
Many let the end heal over by setting it aside for a few days, I don’t bother but if it makes you feel better then go ahead and do that.
Now, most will tell you to put them in a potting soil mix to root but that just has not worked as successfully for me. And I want you to be successful!
Note: a friend of mine and I ran a test, we tried this method and also directly in soil. Not only did the Christmas Cactus propagate this way root faster, but the cuttings all also lived. Half of the ones we tried to root in soil rotted.
Propagate Christmas Cactus in Water
Put a few stones in a glass jar, this is a recycled salad dressing jar I was practicing my glass painting on, the stones are about 2 inches deep.
You can also put a few stones in the jar then an inch of perlite on top of the stones.
Before I put any water or my cutting in the jar I write what color of cactus it is on one of the sections, I have several and I usually decide to root more than one at a time.
Place the Christmas cactus cuttings, cut side down, in the jar on top of the stones and perlite.
You want the water to barely come to the top of the stones and perlite. The cutting is only slightly touching the water, it is resting on the top stones.
I have also successfully rooted the cuttings by just placing them in the jar with a quarter of an inch of water.
As the water evaporates I add to it until I have some nice roots growing.
Location of Christmas cuttings container
Keep the jar in a spot where you can keep track of the water evaporating. I typically keep it on my kitchen windowsill and I put more water in as needed.
Propagation of Christmas Cactus is faster if the temperatures are around 70 to 80 degrees. They need bright, indirect light, not direct sun.
The humidity alone in the jar will let it root without worrying about it rotting. Below is a wonderful example of a cutting that has rooted.
Once there are roots on your cutting, plant it either in the same pot as the parent plant (if you want to fill out a plant) or I give it its own pot.
I use Cactus Mix potting soil with great results though I have used regular potting soil with some added perlite or horticultural sand which worked too.
And that is really all there is to it. They are actually quite quick to root and I do it any time of year though it will go faster during the active growing season.
I hope you get to root some of these wonderful Fall and Winter bloomers soon.
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- Christmas or Thanksgiving Cactus Plant
- Small Jar
- Stones or Gravel
- Perlite (optional)
- 1. Place stones in jar, add 1 inch of perlite if using. Add water to the top of stones or perlite.
- Pinch off 1 -4 segments\ of leaves, be sure to get the nub on the end of the cutting
- With a Sharpie write what color of flower it is on one of
the sections. (if you only have one color then skip this)
- Optional - let leaf segment heal over by letting it sit in a bright spot (indirect light) for a couple of days
- Place cut end of Christmas Cactus or Thanksgiving Cactus end on top of the perlite. It will sink into it, that is okay
- Keep in a bright, warm area. 65 to 75 degrees. The cutting should root in about 3 to 4 weeks.
- Keep the jar in a spot where it is visible and keep track of the
water evaporating. The humidity alone in the jar will let it
root without worrying about it rotting.
- Add water as needed. You do not need to be overly fussy about this, as long as there is some moisture in the jar they will root.
- Plant rooted cutting into a pot of its own or in with the original plant.
- If you wish to root the cuttings directly in soil then bury the cut end in your moist potting soil about half an inch. Keep soil moist but not wet.
free and easy way to get organized
Sunflower Garden Planner
Lots of pages to write down your garden plans, ideas, and notes. There is a seed starting record, a square foot gardening page and more!
Press here to download and print a different checklist…Christmas Cactus Cuttings Checklist
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Christmas Cactus Root in Water?
Yes, and this post showed you how to have success in rooting in water.
Do Christmas Cactus Grow Fast?
That is a relative question, what one considers fast another may find slow. Christmas Cactus never stop growing. They can grow quite large if you give them the conditions they prefer. See How to Grow Christmas Cactus for more information.
Will Christmas Cactus Grow Outside?
This also depends on where you live and the climate. I do put mine outside on a covered porch in summer as long as the nights are above 40 degrees. Bring them in once the nights cool down again in the Fall. If you read the article linked above on How to Grow Christmas you will see how this can aid blooming as well.
Can Christmas Cactus Grow in Low Light
Yes, but they won’t bloom as much or grow as fast as in bright, indirect light.