Propagating Christmas Cactus in Water – Ultimate DIY Guide

There is great joy in gifting a friend or family member with flowers, especially during the Christmas holidays. You don’t need to scratch your head if you have a big Christmas cactus plant. Simply get the cuttings and propagate to get new plants that you can share.

Propagating a Christmas cactus in water is a simple and rewarding way to create new plants. You can use a transparent jar to see how the roots are forming.

When the cuttings have rooted, the plant is transferred into suitable cactus soil as its new home. If you don’t prefer this method, Christmas cacti can also be rooted directly in the soil mix.

Propagate Christmas cactus in water

Spring is the best time to prune a Christmas cactus, and you may use the cuttings to grow new plants. At this time, the blooms have faded, and the plant has entered into an active growth session.

To propagate Christmas cactus in water, you’ll need a jar or any small container holding water and a scalpel or sharp knife for extracting cuttings from the parent plant.


  1. Choose a healthy Christmas cactus with healthy-looking green stems
  2. Use a scalpel or a small sharp knife to take a cutting from the stem tip consisting of at least 2 or 3 joined segments
  3. Fill a glass jar, vase, or any small container that can be used as a rooting vessel with room-temperature water
  4. Place the cutting into the water as the cut end face downwards until two nodes are submerged
  5. Place the jar, vase, or container with the cutting in a place that receives bright, indirect sunlight
  6. Add more water as necessary, ensuring the two nodes remain submerged at all times.
  7. Wait until the roots form and grow as long as the cutting, then plan to transplant the rooting cutting into a suitable cactus soil mix.

NOTE: A Christmas cactus takes 6 to 8 weeks to root fully in water. So you’ll need to be a little bit patient.

Transplanting the Christmas cactus

Transplanting a Christmas cactus is equally simple as the rooting process. You’ll need well-draining soil in a small pot with a drainage hole.

You may make your own cactus soil mix by combining regular potting soil with pumice and coarse sand in equal parts or use a commercial soil mix formulated for cactuses and succulents.

Once set, fill the container with the potting mix and plant your Christmas cactus. Fill the soil around the plant and leave about ¾ inch of space between the top of the soil and the lip of the pot for easy watering.

Thoroughly water the plant and let the excess water drain from the pot through the hole at the bottom. Don’t leave the plant sitting in any standing water.

Keep the plant in bright indirect light – a north or east-facing window is ideal. If you see your Christmas cactus leaves turning purple, that is a hint that your plant is getting too much light. You can use sheer curtains to diffuse the excess light.

You can actually move your plant outside during the summer months. Just be sure to keep them in a protected, shady area away from direct sunlight, and don’t let the pot sit in water after a downpour. You may hang the pot under tree branches or somewhere on your porch.

Watering and Feeding

Christmas cactus loves soil that is constantly moist and not soggy. You should water the plant only when the top one inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Insert your finger in the soil to check the moisture level before watering.

In places with dry air, you may need to increase the humidity around a Christmas cactus plant to keep it vibrant. If you don’t have a humidifier, simply place a container with water beside the plant, and it will provide some humidity as the water evaporates.

Fertilizing a Christmas cactus is important, particularly during the growing season. Apply a houseplant fertilizer such as 10-10-10 on a monthly basis. On alternate weeks, fertilize with Epsom salt mixed at one teaspoon per gallon of water to meet the high magnesium needs of this plant.

Stop fertilizing a Christmas cactus in late summer so that the plant can focus on flower production when fall comes. To get a Christmas cactus to bloom in winter, you’ll need to keep the plant in complete darkness for 12 to 14 hours daily for 6 to 8 weeks.

Final Thought

Christmas cactus makes an excellent gift for the holidays. Propagating a Christmas cactus to get more plants to share isn’t difficult. With the right care, this plant won’t take long before it rewards with beautiful flowers around Christmas.


  1. North Dakota State University: Cacti Propagation by Jennifer Brause
  2. The Royal Horticultural Society: Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera)

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