Many people like the way that Christmas cactus plants look. They have become very popular houseplants and plenty of people choose to keep them indoors in climates where they wouldn’t be able to survive naturally.
The look of the Christmas cactus is quite impressive and it makes sense that it would be appealing to so many people. If you enjoy having yours indoors, then you might be thinking about planting one outdoors as well.
You might think that a Christmas cactus would look perfect in a certain section of your yard. Is this really going to be a good idea, though?
Can these plants go outside? Or are you supposed to only keep Christmas cactus plants indoors?
Read on to learn more about what to expect.
It’s Possible to Plant Christmas Cactus Plants Outdoors
You can plant a Christmas cactus outdoors if you want to, but it’s only going to be able to survive if you live in a warm climate. Those who live in cold climates will only wind up killing the plant if they attempt to plant it outdoors.
If you were to try to keep a Christmas cactus outdoors for the entire year in a cold climate, then the results would be very poor. This plant might be fine outside during the summer months, but it’d immediately die once things started to cool down in the fall.
Those who live in warmer climates will likely have much better luck. It’s going to be possible to keep a Christmas cactus outdoors all year if you live in a place that is in USDA zone 9 or above.
You’re still going to need to be careful about certain things because these plants aren’t cold-hardy at all. They’re going to do very poorly if the weather starts to dip below a certain temperature.
Advice for Keeping Christmas Cactus Plants Outdoors
If you’re going to try to keep a Christmas cactus outdoors at all, then you’re going to want to keep it in a hanging basket. This will give you a chance to move the plant somewhere safe when the weather isn’t going to be warm enough.
Whenever the weather is slated to dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to bring the plant indoors. If you don’t, then the plant will very likely die.
It’s also going to be necessary to give the Christmas cactus the best soil that you can. If this plant doesn’t have well-draining soil, then it’s not going to be able to thrive.
A good soil mixture to use will be perlite, orchid bark, and potting soil. If you use soil such as this for your Christmas cactus, then you’re going to be able to expect consistently good results.
Finding the right location to place the Christmas cactus is also going to be imperative. If you’re putting it outdoors while living in a warmer climate, then you should play it safe and put the plant in a spot with light shade.
You can put the plant in a sunnier spot once the fall arrives. It’ll be fine for the plant to get more direct sunlight during the autumn and winter in warm climates.
Intense sunlight can actually be quite harmful to the plant, though. Too much powerful sunlight could even bleach the leaves of it, and you don’t want that since you’re trying to preserve the look of the plant.
Try to be careful not to expose the Christmas cactus to fluctuating temperatures too much either. Wild swings in temperature will negatively impact it even if the temperatures technically fall in ranges that the plant is supposed to be able to tolerate.
It’d be better to take the plant inside if you have prior knowledge that the temperature is going to swing that much. Always err on the side of caution when caring for a Christmas cactus.
When to Water the Christmas Cactus
Watering the Christmas cactus is another important part of keeping it alive outside. You should be sure to check the soil to see how things are going before watering it.
It’s bad to water these plants too much, but you also don’t want to wait too long to water them. Ideally, you should water a Christmas cactus when the soil has started to become dry.
Try not to let the soil get incredibly dry, though. If you wait until the soil is bone dry, then the it might not be doing so well by the time you get around to watering it.
Be especially careful not to water the Christmas cactus too much during the winter. It’s easier to water the plant too much when it’s cooler and making the soil soggy could cause the plant to rot.
You don’t want to accidentally cause it to get a fungal disease either. If root rot sets in or if it gets a fungal disease, then the plant will likely die.
Watch Out for Pests
Watching out for pests is going to be an important part of keeping a Christmas cactus alive outside as well. It might have to deal with problematic bugs such as mealybugs and aphids.
The mealybugs are known to cause significant problems for Christmas cactus plants. Other pests that you need to be aware of include mites and scale bugs.
Each of these bugs has the potential to be annoying, but you can take care of them easily enough. In fact, you can just treat your plant with neem oil so that the bugs will leave it alone.
Neem oil is natural and it does a really good job of warding off pests. In extreme cases, it might be necessary to use insecticidal soap spray to wash your plant.
Keeping a Christmas cactus outside is possible, but you’ll want to be careful. It’s easier if you live in a warm climate, but even then you might want to bring it inside sometimes.
If you live in a colder climate, then you should only put your Christmas cactus outside in the summer. It’s likely not going to be practical to plant it in the soil in many places, but you can if you live in a hot enough area and do your best to protect the plant.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.