Easter Cactus

Botanical Name: Hatiora gaertneri

Easter Cactus is a member of the Cactaceae family. Native to the South American rain forests, this cactus is epiphytic, making its home on trees.

Its stems are made up of flat, narrow segments connected by a midrib. You can distinguish it from other holiday cactus because its stem segments are not scalloped or toothed, and by its starburst-shaped blooms.

The biggest difference is its bloom time. You can expect an abundance of flowers in spring -- typically April or May -- that last about a month. Varieties are available in shades of pink and red.

How to Get Easter Cactus to Bloom

easter cactus, easter cactus plant

Coax blooms. Blooming results from 8-10 weeks of shorter, cooler days. Check the temperature requirements below. Give the cactus 14-hour nights. Put a paper bag or box over it if you need to block out sunlight. Once buds set, don't move the cactus around. Flower buds are likely to drop off if the plant is suddenly exposed to temperature changes.

Give it a rest. After flowering, this succulent needs a one-month rest. Water sparingly during this time and do not fertilize. Mist the plant every day if needed to keep up the humidity. After this rest, you can resume regular watering and fertilizing.

Good year-round care will bring a show of flowers year after year.

Easter Cactus Care Tips

easter cactus, easter cactus plant

Origin: Brazil

Height: 12-24 in (30-60 cm)

Light: Bright indirect light

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy while plant is growing. After flowering, water sparingly for a month while the plant rests. Stems will shrivel or wilt if the roots are too dry. Yellow stems indicate overwatering.

Humidity: Moderate humidity. Mist the plant daily or stand the pot on a tray of wet pebbles.

Temperature: To set flower buds, the plant needs cool 60-65°F/16-18°C days and 45-55°F/7-13°C nights. Once buds set, 70-75°F/21-24°C days and 60-70°F/16-21°C nights.

Soil: Mix 1 part potting soil and 1 part fine-grade fir bark.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. After blooms have dropped, stop fertilizing for a month.

Propagation: Take stem cuttings with 1-4 segments. Allow the cut ends to dry for 24 hours before placing upright in moist perlite. They'll root in about 3-4 weeks.

Green Thumb Tip

Easter Cactus needs cool 45-55° nights for buds to develop.

It does best with moderate humidity. Check out these tips for raising the humidity for your house plants.

easter cactus, hatiora gaertneri

Buying Tip

You'll find Easter Cactus for sale in florist's shops and online flower delivery sites in spring.

Many varieties are available in shades of pink and red.

Did you know...

In its native tropical habitat, this cactus grows as an epiphyte, holding onto tree branches with its thick, aerial roots.

Epiphyte comes from the Greek words epi meaning upon and phyton meaning plant.