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christmas catus

I have a Christmas catus that is maybe 20 yrs old.  I want to trim it way back but the branches are huge and have bark like a tree.  How should I go about trimming it back since its never been trimmed before.
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Posted 2019-03-13T23:53:15+0000  by playerwhatever70 playerwhatever70
potted Christmas cactus with red flowers on wood table


Greetings playerwhatever70,

The Christmas cactus is such a wonderful, giving, plant!  Along with the magnificent blossom it pushes out during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays, it has wonderful segmented foliage that looks wonderful throughout the year.

Your Christmas cactus sounds very impressive with both age and size, it is not unusual to have a Christmas cactus for decades it is a plant that gets handed down from generation to generation within families and among friends.


The woody stems are a true sign of the plants age. The bottom segments, close to the soil line become thick and fibrous with a bark-like appearance. The thick sturdy stems help to hold up the weight of the sizeable branches.

Now (in the spring) is the best time to do some maintenance, trimming back your cactus is very easy; look at the segments of the branch choose a section that has a least three segments and twist at where the third and fourth sections meet. If you feel, you need to go back, even further do the twisting in sections of at least three segmented parts.

Each piece can be dried out for a bit, (about a half hour) and then planted in a well-drained soil; the piece should be seated in the potting mix so that it will not flip out, keep the soil moderately moist, not soaking, in bright indirect light. The planted section will look weak for a time, but it will eventually take hold and roots will form and grab on, and a new plant will begin.

Now back to your big plant... twist off sections until you see the size you desire. Do not go into the woody section to trim, leave at least three segments above the wood stems the fleshy sections are where the blooms appear. 

*Before you start any of the trimming back process, you should think about re-potting the plant also. 

Fresh new soil and an increase of a pot size, no bigger than 2 inches than the original pot, (they love to be pot bound) will only help the overall health of the plant and make it look so much better.

Specialty soil for cactus and succulents is available at your local Home Depot and on HD.Com.

A Christmas cactus the size of yours will need a good heavy-duty container with good drainage; soggy soil will lead to root rot.

If you do not re-pot your Christmas cactus, make sure to give it some cactus and succulent fertilizer.

With just a little effort, your Christmas cactus will be like new and ready for the next twenty years!

We would love to see some picture of your mammoth plant!

Check out this link for a few more tips on growing Christmas cactus.

All the best,



Posted 2019-03-14T15:02:53+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS
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