P&PDL Picture of the Week for
December 26, 2005

Holiday Cactus Blossom Drop

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Department of Horticulture, Purdue University

Holiday cactus (including Christmas,Thanksgiving and Easter types) are notorious for dropping flower buds in the home environment.  Though they do belong to the cactus family, they are  tropical type plants and so not quite as drought tolerant as their desert relatives. Dry soil is likely the most common cause of flower bud drop. The plants will noticeably wilt when under drought stress. Water thoroughly when the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch. The length of time between waterings will vary with the air temperature, amount of light, rate of growth and relative humidity.

We typically think of cacti as being heat loving plants as well, but holiday cacti will keep their blossoms longer in cooler temperatures. Keep the plant in a well-lit location away from drafts from heat vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air. Drafts and temperature extremes can also cause the flower buds to drop.

Click image to enlarge

holiday cactus

holiday cactus buds

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service