The Easter cactus is a tropical plant native to Brazilian rainforests, where it grows on rocks and branches of trees. It is known for its beautiful blooms in various shades of white, red, pink, and orange. It’s easy to propagate this plant if you want more plants.
The easiest way to propagate Easter cactus is through stem cuttings. Seed is an option, but it takes longer to get new plants. Late spring and early summer is the best time to take the cuttings and root them when the blooms have completely ended.
How to propagate Easter cactus
You’ll need water, potting soil for succulents, and a small planter or cup. Once ready, proceed as follows:
- Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to cut a healthy stem from the parent plant. Make sure to sterilize your cutting tool with rubbing alcohol before use to prevent the spread of any infections or diseases.
- Let the stem cutting dry out and callous over for three to five days. This helps in preventing rotting and encourages the faster development of new roots.
- Fill a small pot with well-draining soil, such as a cactus or succulent mix. Water the soil until it is evenly moist but not soggy.
- Plant the stem cutting in the soil, ensuring that at least one set of leaves is above the soil line.
- Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy, and provide the plant with bright, indirect light. The stem cutting should develop roots within a few weeks to a few weeks.
How to care for Easter cactus
Caring for the Easter cactus is pretty simple as long as you meet the following needs:
1. Provide bright indirect sunlight
Like other holiday cactuses, an Easter cactus thrives in bright indirect sunlight. Being a green plant, light is essential for producing sugars through photosynthesis. But direct sunlight has scorching effects on the stems.
2. Water when the soil feels dry
Easter cactus thrives in constant moisture, especially when actively growing. However, it dislikes wet conditions around its roots and stems. Water this plant only when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. You can insert your finger in the soil to test for moisture.
Excess watering or poorly draining soil is a recipe for root rot in Easter cactus plants. Wet soil conditions drown the roots, and they definitely die from suffocation when they can’t obtain enough air. Root rot is a deadly condition that easily kills a plant in a matter of days.
Infrequent watering may also cause another problem, but it is not as deadly as overwatering. Easter cactus leaves wrinkles when the soil completely dries out.
It may also happen when the plant loses excess moisture due to overexposure to direct sunlight. Underwatered cacti can easily be revived when watering is resumed.
3. Fertilize monthly during its growth
Fertilize the Easter cactus monthly with a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer from when it enters into active growth in late spring to early fall. Additionally, apply Epsom salt solution in the same growth period, but not the same week you applied a regular fertilizer.
4. Prune when blooming ends
Easter cactus blooms in late winter to early spring. Two or three weeks after blooming ends, you need to prune your cactus for more growth and blooms in the future. Remove not more than 1/3 of the stems, and within a few weeks, you will notice more new stems sprouting. You can use the removed cuttings for propagation.
5. Repot when needed
Over time, potted plants use all the available nutrients in the soil. Additionally, the roots grow more and get compacted. This results in stunted growth or generally a weak, unhealthy plant.
Report your Easter cactus after every 3 to 4 years. Use fresh succulent soil and a slightly bigger pot than the current one.
Repotting can save an overwatered Easter cactus, especially when the roots are severely damaged. You’ll need to cut off the mushy rotten roots, wash the plant and plant it into fresh succulents’ soil. Be sure to use a pot that has drainage holes at the bottom.
How to get Easter cactus to bloom
The Easter cactus is a short-day plant that requires long nights and cool temperatures to bloom. Under the right conditions, this plant will bloom profusely in late winter and early spring.
Stop fertilizing and cut back on watering two months before spring to encourage your Easter cactus to bloom immediately.
Additionally, provide darkness and daylight in equal amounts. At night, aim for cooler temperatures, preferably 50˚F, and keep the plant away from heaters or any direct heat source. When you notice the formation of buds, start misting the cactus often with room-temperature water.
Easter cactus common problems
Although Easter cactus is the easiest to care for, you’ll notice a few problems, such as:
- Buds falling off: Flower buds drop due to low humidity around the plant, direct heat, and insufficient moisture in the soil. Fertilizing during winter can also cause flower buds to drop.
- Leaves dropping: This is a common problem in overwatered or underwatered succulents. It may also be caused by overexposing the plant to direct sunlight or heat sources. Inspect the roots and soil for appropriate solutions.
- Discoloration: Easter cactus may change from green to purplish when overwatered or overexposed to direct sunlight. Inspect and improve the soil and light conditions.
Easter cactus always rewards with vibrant blooms around the Easter holiday. This can go on for years if you provide the right care. It is also easy to propagate this plant through stem cuttings if you want more new plants to gift your friends and family.
- “Growing Easter Cactus,” Jeff Schalau, Agent, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
- “Easter cactus brings spring color indoors,” University Minnesota Extension
My name is Diane M Lewik, and I am the founder of this website. I am a degree holder in plant biology from the University of California – Berkeley. Over years, I have cultivated a vast collection of succulents and I have learned a great deal about how to grow and care for these unique plants.