Unlike most other members of the Cactus family, Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera truncate) didn’t evolve in a dry, desert environment.
Instead, it has its roots as an under-story plant on the floor of tropical rain forests, and it’s important to keep this in mind when cultivating it as a houseplant.
There are several best practice guidelines for helping Christmas Cactus to look and perform its best, and one of the most important is choosing the right pot.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best possible pot for your Christmas Cactus.
Un-glazed Ceramic Pots
Although it’s tempting to show off your Christmas Cactus by placing it in a beautifully glazed ceramic pot, this is actually not recommended. The roots of Christmas Cactus plants source oxygen from the surrounding air, and this can’t happen in glazed pots because they aren’t porous.
Fortunately, there are many attractive unglazed options, and many people find that their rustic appearance is better suited for cactus plants over their glazed counterparts anyway.
Choose a Pot With Good Drainage
Christmas Cactus doesn’t perform well if its roots are allowed to become waterlogged, so be sure to choose a pot with at least one drainage hole, and be sure to place a tray underneath the pot to capture any water that runs out when you water it.
Only water your Christmas Cactus when the top one-third of the soil is dry to the touch.
Add water until it reaches the rim of the pot, and be sure to remove any water in the tray or saucer under the pot within 15 minutes to help prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged.
Consider Something Festive
Because Christmas Cactus lives up to its name by blooming during the holiday season, it’s often given a front and center place along with another seasonal decor so that everyone can enjoy the flowers.
Choosing a colorful or otherwise festive pot can add to the spirit of the season. If the pot has a saucer attached to it, it can be used as a centerpiece on the table during holiday feasts.
Consider a Hanging Pot
Christmas Cactus has a semi-trailing growth habit, which makes them ideal candidates for placing in hanging pots.
It’s important, however, not to put these too close to southern or western windows because this plant can become sunburned if exposed to too much direct sunlight.
Christmas Cactus does best when it receives bright but indirect light, so consider putting it in a room with an eastern or northern exposure.
Re-Potting Your Christmas Cactus
Because Christmas Cactus does best when its roots are slightly crowded, it’s never a good idea to plant them in overly large pots.
However, they should be re-potted every two or three years because if their roots get too crowded, they aren’t able to properly absorb the nutrients the plant needs in order to thrive.
Always choose a pot that’s just slightly larger than its current pot. This is a good time to swap out the potting soil, so gently brush as much soil away from the roots as possible.
Replace the old soil with good-quality indoor potting soil and add a small amount of vermiculite or sand for added drainage or choose a potting soil that’s been formulated specifically for succulents.