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How to propagate Christmas cactus

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Taking cuttings from Christmas cactus is a great way to expand your collection and to give as gifts. They can almost become like heirlooms, lasting for generations. Here is an easy to follow guide on taking Christmas cactus cuttings and rooting them.

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1. Take at least a 3 or 4 stem segment and twist it off at the joint.

2. Allow cuttings to dry on a pice of paper towel or cardboard a minimum of 24 hours so they seal over.

3. Using 1/2 peat moss and 1/2 perlite soil mix, moisten to just moist - be sure it is not soaking wet. Plant the cutting half the depth of the first segment in the soil mix.

4. Set in a bright window. Mist it to keep soil from drying out completely. Don't water.

5. The cutting will wilt. This is normal. When it starts to come back again - roots should be growing at this time. Any new growth on the cutting is also a sign that your cuttings is taking root.

6. When you see new growth you can water normally. This means when the soil is dry 1" down, water until water runs out bottom of container. After one half hour, pour out any remaining water in the saucer.

7. Once the cutting has grown one new segment, begin fertilizing until October 1st.

8. Keep the plant cool and give it light equivalent to outside daylight. That means that after dark, make sure the plant is in the dark, not near a lamp or light that is on all night. You want to mimic what is going on outside.

9. If you have taken the cutting early in the year, you should get blooms around Thanksgiving or Christmas.

10. After blooming, the plant should rest until March. Watering should be decreased - water when 2" - 3" of depth is dry before re-watering. Don't let your plant dry out completely. Do not fertilize during the dormant period.

Logees Greenhouse has a great selection of Christmas cactus. Here is their website http://www.logees.com.

Another greenhouse that you can order Christmas cactus from is Hirt Greenhouse. This is their website http://www.hirts.com.

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