Why Is My Christmas Cactus Dropping Leaves? Heal Your Unhappy Holiday Cactus

christmas cactus leaves

If you’ve been keeping a Christmas cactus and it’s been dropping leaves, you’re likely wondering why is my Christmas cactus dropping leaves and what can I do about it? This post will help answer those questions for you! A healthy Christmas cactus should never drop leaves, so if yours is doing so, something is likely wrong. It could be due to water, temperature, humidity, or lighting options – or a combination of. Keep reading to find out more and how to correct the problem!

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Christmas Cactus Leaves Falling Off Due To Water Issues

When it comes to water, Christmas cacti prefer a soil that is constantly moist but not soggy. If the soil is too dry or completely soaked, this can cause leaves to fall off your plant. Regularly check the soil’s moisture level and adjust accordingly. While this does have the name ‘cactus’ in it, it’s not really a cactus, and needs more water than other cacti you might have.

With some of my other cacti, I would probably water them once a month in winter. A Christmas cactus, I would water once a week or every other week during winter.

You may also see your Christmas cactus leaves going limp if you’re experiencing watering issues.

Keep reading: overwatered Christmas cactus

Christmas Cactus Dropping Leaves Because of Temperatures

Temperature also plays an important role in keeping your Christmas cactus healthy and happy. During summer months, try to keep your cactus at about room temperature, or a temperature that’s comfortable to you. In winter, you want the plant to be in slightly cooler conditions, around 50-60°F, to ensure it flowers.

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If at all possible, keep your Christmas cactus away from dramatic temperature changes, like being in direct sun during summer or a cold drafty window in winter. If your cactus experiences wild temperature changes, it’s likely to drop leaves.

Humidity Level Can Make Your Christmas Cactus Drop Leaves

Another factor to consider is humidity. Christmas cacti prefer higher humidity levels than many other cacti, especially during blooming season. If you live in a dry climate, try growing your Christmas cactus near other plants to raise the humidity. Having Christmas cactus leaves falling off is a fairly sure sign that you need more humidity in the air. If it’s too dry of air, even next to other plants, you might consider a humidifier for the room. It’ll be better for the plant and your skin!

This LEVOIT 4L Humidifier is a great choice that’s quiet and doesn’t require you to fill it nearly as often as many other humidifiers on the market.

Lighting Options That Make Your Christmas Cactus From Dropping Leaves

Finally, keep in mind that Christmas cacti like bright light, but not direct sun. Make sure your plant has plenty of light but not too much. East facing windows are a good place to grow your Christmas cacti, or windows that get plenty of shade from trees all day long are also a good choice.

Should I Cut Off The Stems That Are Dropping Leaves?

While it might be tempting to just go ahead and cut off entire stems that are dropping off leaves, this is a bit extreme. Try to isolate why the leaves are drooping and aim to correct that issue first. If you can’t reverse it, then you might consider pruning off the stem or trimming any dead leaves before they start rotting and affecting the rest of the plant.

What Can I Do With The Dropped Leaves?

If you’ve already had leaves drop from your Christmas cactus, don’t worry. The good thing about these plants is that they are easy to propagate! All you need to do is take the healthy leaf and place it on soil. I like to place leaves I’m propagating on soil that already has a plant in it, so I have less watering to do and it keeps the soil moist. Over time, it will form roots and eventually start producing new leaves – giving you even more beautiful Christmas cacti!

This practice is the same as I’ve done with a jade plant, and you can read about/see the results on how to propagate jade plants!

In Summary

Christmas cactus are gorgeous, easy to care for plants that can brighten your home during the holiday season. But if you’re asking “why is my Christmas cactus dropping leaves?”, it adds stress and drops your excitement for the plant. This dropping leaves could be due to water, temperature, humidity, or lighting issues – or a combination of all of them. Regularly check your plant’s moisture and adjust accordingly, keep it in a comfortable temperature, and make sure it gets plenty of bright but not direct sunlight. If you’ve already had leaves drop off, why not try propagating them? With some effort, you can have a happy holiday cactus again!

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Looking for information specific to Colorado? Check out Naturalist Perspective!

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