Christmas cactus - advice please

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by J31, Nov 7, 2021.

  1. J31

    J31 Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi,

    I have a 30+ year old Christmas cactus. Usually gets watered every 10-14 days, maybe a little bit more in summer and less in winter - has flowered for the last 8 years or so. For years, it has lived in the same place, being turned around occasionally so doesn't just grow one way and happily just growing. It's in the living room with a bay window so gets lots of light and in summer will catch little bits of sun. Recently I have moved it onto a unit in the same room (for its own safety) as we have an energetic toddler in the house half the week. Hasn't been watered for around 10 days now, I've been told we've lost a couple of leaves from it over the last week (I'm out the house for 12 hours a day when I work so have missed this) which means I'm unsure if this is more than normal. It's not unusual to randomly lose a leaf from it every now and then, this is a normal occurrence and for every one lost can usually count around 5+ baby leaves growing.

    I think what I'm trying to say is, should I be concerned about this extra couple of leaves lost? If it is more than normal? I've checked the bottom of the pot and the soil feels damp - not soggy wet I don't think but in all these years I've never felt the soil at the bottom anyway, so wouldn't notice if was different to other times. As a whole it looks its normal self, the stems at the bottom are brown with age and have been for a long time, it's still upright. I don't want to do anything drastic like dig it out of its pot if I don't need to (it's never been repotted or anything) but don't want to leave it if it's in trouble. I'm not sure how I would even get it out, I treat it like the finest delicate china!

    This cactus is older than me and personally, it symbolises something so I feel so anxious about how I've potentially damaged it and I'm not ashamed to say that I would be devastated if I lost it because of something I'd done. I thought it best to ask people that know rather than turn to google and do anything drastic.
     
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    • NigelJ

      NigelJ Total Gardener

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      @J31
      Possibly moving it to the unit could have upset it a bit, less light? change in temperature and air flow could also affect it. If getting less light and a bit cooler it could need less frequent watering. It will probably settle down when it has acclimatised to its new home.
      Next year when it warms up a bit I would suggest repotting it, or at least give it a liquid feed over the summer.
       
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      • Sheal

        Sheal Total Gardener

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        At the ripe old age of 30+ years it may be an idea to take some cuttings, then all will not be lost when the mother plant eventually meets it's demise.
         
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        • arickster

          arickster Gardener

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          Ours went outside in the early summer, and hasn’t come back in yet. They’re more resilient than people think :)
           
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          • wiseowl

            wiseowl FRIENDLY OWL ADMIN Staff Member

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            Good morning yes I have just moved my two Christmas Cacti back inside after 4 months outside which I do every year and they are full of buds :smile:

            @J31 in answer to your question I wouldnt't worry to much just keep one eye on it;):smile:
             
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            • J31

              J31 Apprentice Gardener

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              This is also my thoughts now. Years ago it used to be where it is now, was then moved to the hearth and spent years there but did look a bit cramped. I've left it on the unit and there is some new leaves coming through so hopefully panic over. Thank you!

              I thought of this last year, to try taking cuttings just in case. I took two leaves off in April, rooted them then put them in soil. Baby plant is now 16 leaves big! Don't know if this is a good amount of leaves for the time span but I'm so happy it worked. At the time I didn't want to take too many leaves off incase it didn't work but wish I had now! My plan is to take more cuttings at the appropriate time next year.

              We used to put ours out on the dustbin on a nice day so it could have some air! When we were young, it was hit by a football and survived.

              Thank you. I've been checking it weekly and it seems to be doing well. I've delayed its Christmas dust and polish though. Someone who saw it for the first time in a while last week said its looking well

              Thank you for your replies. Sorry it took me a while to come back, its been somewhat crazy!
               
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