Skip to Content

The Best Time for Watering Your Christmas Cactus

Learn the best time to water a Christmas cactus, and what to do if you’ve watered too much, to keep your festive plant happy.

shutterstock 2249233405

Christmas cacti add lovely splashes of color during the holidays and are great as gifts, as long as they’re blooming beautifully.

To ensure this, knowing when to water a Christmas cactus and how to handle overwatering are key.

Whether you’re new to caring for Christmas cacti or a seasoned pro, watering these succulents is all about finding the right balance.

“As the festive season approaches, you might want to treat yourself to a blooming Christmas cactus or have received one as a gift. These flowering cacti can brighten up any room and are incredibly easy to care for,” says Jo Lambell, founder of Beards and Daisies and author of The Unkillables.

Here, experts discuss the timing of watering a Christmas cactus and how to identify an overwatered plant.

When’s the Best Time to Water a Christmas Cactus?

shutterstock 1942538848

Creating the right conditions for a Christmas cactus to bloom is crucial, and knowing when and how much to water is key.

However, Christmas cacti can tolerate some neglect, needing water only every two or three weeks instead of weekly.

“The Christmas cactus, also known as Schlumbergera, should be watered when its soil feels dry,” notes houseplant expert Jo Lambell.

“We recommend the finger dip test—stick your finger into the soil, and if it feels dry, it’s time to water. Ensure excess water drains before returning it to its pot.”

To water, soak the soil until excess water drains from the pot’s holes. Check for standing water in the tray or outer pot and remove it to prevent root rot.

To maintain healthy Christmas plants and flowers, combine watering with fertilizing. Typically, fertilize from spring to fall, avoiding the Christmas season.

What to Do If You Overwater a Christmas Cactus

Even low-maintenance houseplants like Christmas cacti suffer when overwatered.

“Your plant will show signs if it’s overwatered. Soft, mushy leaves indicate you’ve been too generous,” explains Jo.

“If your Christmas cactus looks sad, act fast! Drain excess water, trim soft stems, and rinse the roots to remove any fungus. Let it dry out and monitor its recovery.”

Should I Water My Christmas Cactus While It’s Blooming?

Keep the soil moist during blooming and regularly mist the leaves to prolong flowering.

How Long Can a Christmas Cactus Go Without Water?

A Christmas cactus can survive for about two weeks without water before showing signs of drying out. Its ability to retain water allows it to thrive even with minimal care.