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Christmas Cactus Propagation in Water Step by Step

Propagating Christmas Cactus by Cuttings

The Christmas Cactus is a succulent plant that flowers with abundant pink flowers at Christmas (Schlumbergera or Zygo Cactus). The Christmas Cactus reproduces easily through cuttings from its stem. Here is the Step-by-Step about the Christmas Cactus Propagation in Water by Cuttings. Also, tips for rooting in the soil.

propagation methods
Christmas Cactus Propagation in Water.

How to Propagate Christmas Cactus

The propagation of the Christmas Cactus can be done by different methods: by cuttings, rooting on land, or rooting in water. By seeds, and by cuttings after pruning the plant.

The Christmas Cactus reproduces easily through cuttings from its stem.

The Best Way to Propagate a Christmas Cactus

Reproduction by seed is difficult compared to reproduction by cuttings. That is why the best method for propagating and divide a Christmas Cactus is the reproduction by cuttings, taking advantage of the part of the plant pruned. These cuttings can be rooted in water or rooted in the soil, with or without the help of rooting hormone.

christmas cactus potted
Christmas Cactus Propagation in Water.

Can You Root a Christmas Cactus in Water?

People often ask if it is possible to root a Christmas Cactus in water. And the answer is Yes, of course! It is the easiest way to propagate a Christmas Cactus, by cuttings and rooting in water.

In the following paragraphs, we explain how to proceed with all these methods of propagation and rooting of the Christmas Cactus.

When to Propagate a Christmas Cactus by Cuttings

Although late spring is the best time to propagate Christmas cactus cuttings, it is possible to propagate them in any season.

In addition, pruning the plant will stimulate the division of its stems and flowering as discussed above. You can take the pruned cactus parts and start the propagation from there.

pruning and propagation christmas cactus by cuttings
Pruned Christmas cactus parts used for propagation by Cuttings in Water

How to Propagate Christmas Cactus by Cuttings in Water

First, start by looking for a small container. Put water up to half or more, so that the cut is in contact with the water. Cover the container with a transparent plastic, which you can hold with an elastic band.

Then, separate a small branch from your Christmas cactus. These can be the same cuttings that come from pruning. That way you don’t waste any of your plants. Simply cut a piece of stem containing 2 or 3 segments of the plant’s stem.

propagate christmas cactus by cuttings in water
Christmas Cactus Rooted in Water

Try to do it carefully, trying not to damage the stem of the mother plant. Remember that you prune your plant to improve its performance and the flowering of the following year. At the same time, you use the pruned branches to obtain more cactus.

Rooting a Christmas Cactus in Water

With the help of some cutting elements make a small hole and embed the branch in the container with water. It is important that only the tip of the leaf that was attached to the stem is the one on the water.

Finally, place it in a warm and shady place. It should not receive direct sunlight. Whenever we expect root development, just a little light or nothing is enough. This could burn the plant’s stem.

propagate christmas cactus by cuttings in water

When you see that its roots are developed, it is time to transplant it into the soil. During the transfer to the soil, the rooting hormone can be used to minimize the stress on the small plant.

If you notice that the plant is starting to rot, take it out of the water and place it in a sunny spot to dry out, and then transplant it.

Soil for Propagation of Christmas Cactus by Cuttings Rooted in Water

Prepare two clay pots large enough to support the vertical cuttings. After covering their drainage holes with coffee filter paper, fill them one-third full with a cactus mixture covered with a thin layer of pumice stone.

Move the pots to a location with bright light but no direct sun, where the temperature is between 64-75 F.

propagate christmas cactus methods

Prepare compost mix with equal portions of perlite and ground peat. Perlite and peat aerate the soil mixture and provide drainage, while the compost or marl retains nutrients and enough moisture to support the plant’s roots. The use of sterilized ingredients, such as sterile compost mix, prevents the introduction of diseases and pest organisms into the mixture.

soil for rooting christmas cactus

How to Use Pruned Christmas Cactus Parts for Propagation of Cuttings in Soil

A broken stem root or pruned cactus parts is best if it has at least three or five articulated segments. If the stem is long, place it on a flat surface and use a sterile knife to cut the stem into a joint.

Firstly, to sterilize the knife, clean the blade with alcohol or a solution of 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water.

Then, place the stem in a warm place for three to five days, or until the cut forms a firm callus.

christmas cactus plant

Planting Christmas Cactus: Push the cut stem 1 to 2 inches into the potting mix so that the callous end contacts the layer of potting soil.

After that, make sure the bottom end of the stem, the end that grew closest to the root, is in the soil.

Finally, water the potting soil slightly until it is uniformly moist, but be careful not to make it muddy or wet.

Although the Christmas cactus tolerates wet conditions more than most types of cacti, the stems are likely to rot in wet, soggy soil. Too little moisture is better than too much.

Successful Rooting in Soil

Place the pot in a warm place where the cut is exposed to low light.

Do not cover the pot with plastic.

Water the soil slightly when it looks or feels dry.

Move the pots to a location with bright light but no direct sun, where the temperature is between 64-75 F.

christmas cactus flower

How often to Water a Christmas Cactus when Propagating Cuttings

Fog the cuttings weekly, but never soak them or they may rot. Rooting takes three weeks to three months.

Learn more about How to Care for a Christmas Cactus.

American Plant Exchange Christmas Cactus Zygocactus Live Plant, 6" Pot, Assorted Colors Growers Choice
  • This item DOES NOT SHIP to California.
  • Our growers will select the best available from bright pinks, dark reds, deep purples and snow white.
  • Christmas Cactus, schlumbergera bridgesii, is one of the most popular houseplants during the holiday season.
Christmas Cactus Propagation in Water.

About Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan is an agronomist and a master gardener. In her previous roles, Julia was an advisor promoting large-scale food growing in urbanized areas, introducing the concept of chemical-free produce. She is an expert in putting her hands in the soil, developing organic foods, and improving production processes for decades. Julia is a natural teacher and encourages every person in her way to grow their own food. She split her days between writing and reviewing for The Garden Style Website and offering assessments to cure edible land. Julia enjoys connecting with The Garden Style Community.

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