Does your Christmas cactus need more sun or shade?

If you’re like me, you might be wondering if your Christmas cactus needs more sun or shade. Here’s a quick guide to help you determine what your cactus needs.

Christmas Cacti: A guide to keeping your plant happy and healthy

Christmas cacti are a popular holiday plant, but they can be finicky for their light needs. If your Christmas cactus isn’t getting enough light, it can start to stretch out and become leggy. Here are a few tips to make sure your Christmas cactus receives the light it needs: 

Does your Christmas cactus need more sun or shadePin
  • Place your plant in a bright, sunny spot. A south-facing window is ideal. 
  • If your plant is stretching, try moving it to a brighter spot. 
  • If you can’t provide enough natural light, you may need to supplement with artificial light. Use a fluorescent plant light placed about 12 inches from the plant. 

Your Christmas cactus will stay compact and full of blooms with proper light.

Find the Right Light for Your Christmas Cactus

Most Christmas cacti do best in bright, indirect light. However, some varieties can tolerate lower light levels. What is the lifespan of a Christmas cactus? If your Christmas cactus isn’t getting enough light, it may start to stretch out and lose its compact shape. If it’s getting too much light, the leaves may begin to yellow or develop brown spots.  

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Observe the plant for a few days to find out if your Christmas cactus needs more or less light. If it’s not getting enough light, the leaves will be pale green or yellow. The leaves will be deep green with brown spots if it’s getting too much light. 

Find the Right Light for Your Christmas CactusPin

Ask a nursery or gardening center for advice if you’re not sure how much light your Christmas cactus needs.

Brighten up your Christmas cactus with more light!

If your Christmas cactus looks leggy or pale, it may need more light. Move it to a brighter spot and see if it perks up. Christmas cacti are native to the tropics and prefer bright, filtered light. They can tolerate some direct sun, but too much sun will cause the leaves to sunburn. If your cactus is not getting enough light, it will stretch out and become leggy in search of more light. Give it a bright spot and see if it perks up!

Christmas Cactus: Brown Patches From Too Much Sun

If your Christmas cactus is getting too much sun, it will lose its vibrant colors and develop brown patches on its leaves. Too much sun can also cause the leaves to become dry and brittle. If you notice any of these issues, try moving your plant to a location with less sun exposure.

Brighten up your Christmas cactus with more lightPin

When in Doubt, Give Your Christmas Cactus a Break from the Sun

If you’re not sure whether your Christmas cactus needs more sun or shade, it’s best to err on the side of too little sun. Your cactus may not bloom as prolifically if it’s in too much shade, but it’s not likely to suffer from too little sun. If you think your cactus needs more sun, slowly acclimate it to brighter light by moving it to a spot that gets a little more sun each day.

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If you’re wondering whether your Christmas cactus needs more sun or shade, the answer is probably a bit of both. These plants like bright, indirect light, so a spot near a south- or west-facing window is ideal. However, they can also tolerate some shade, so if your plant is looking a bit pale, try moving it to a spot with less direct sunlight. With a bit of trial and error, you should be able to find the perfect balance of sun and shade for your Christmas cactus.