A beautiful holiday plant, the Christmas Cactus blooms at Christmas and also sometimes around Easter if cared for properly. A month prior to Christmas you will be able to watch the tips of the leaves beginning to grow. The tips grow darker as each day passes, until a bud forms. At Christmas time, as if by magic, the buds open to a beautiful flower that will add color and warmth to any holiday season. Keep the plant in a well lit location (like near a window) away from direct sunlight-too much heat and light can stunt the growth and burn the leaves. It should also be away from drafts, heat vents, or other sources of hot air. A Christmas Cactus is a tropical cactus, not a desert cactus. If the soil gets too dry, the flower buds will drop, and the plant will wilt. Feel the soil with your fingers; if it is dry, it’s time to water. When watering, thoroughly water the plant. Before watering again, check to see that the top inch of soil has dried thoroughly first. Using a moisture meter may help you determine if it is time to water again. Mist leaves as well as watering the soil. After the holiday season you can trim off any old blooms and move your plant to a shady patio once the weather warms up for Spring. Use a water soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks to maintain the health of your plant.
My mom has a Christmas Cactus it’s flowering a bit but the leaves look a little withered. This is where her and I disagree. She put it in the closet for a while not sure how long she can’t remember exactly she’s 83 and didn’t water it, she said it needs that. I’m surprised it didn’t die completely. She could be right though in Doing that that’s why I’m asking your advice please. She has it in a well lit place and waters it only when dry she says.
My question is should she leave it in the closet for say a couple months and not water it. It’s withered but it is flowering a bit
Best article I found. Commercial greenhouses pull black cloth over the crop in the afternoon to give the appropriate hours of darkness and stimulate flower bud development. But the closet is a great choice for your mom http://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/christmas_cactus