Why Won’t My Christmas Cactus Bloom?

“My Christmas cactus hasn’t bloomed in 2 years. It gets light from the sliding glass door on the south side of the house with a patio and garage, so it does not directly get light. Any suggestions?” Question from Victoria of Adrian, Michigan

Answer: There are several reasons why a Christmas or holiday cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi and S. truncata) may fail to bloom. Here are the top four reasons followed by a thorough video that explains how to successfully care for these plants to ensure yearly flowering.

Top Three Reasons Why Christmas Cactus Won’t Bloom

  1. Too little or too much light: Very bright, indirect light is needed to induce bloom. High, natural light allows the plants to detect the long nights needed to induce blooming, while full sun will cause leaf damage.
  2. Too much or too little water: Even though Schlumbergera are cacti, regular water is required up until October. At this point, you must refrain from watering for one month. Well-drained soil is also essential.
  3. Dry air: Unlike most cacti, Schlumbergera are rainforest species that require high humidity.

To further troubleshoot what could be the problem, please watch the following video.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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