Christmas Cactus Problems - Tips For Reviving A Limp Christmas Cactus

Wilted Christmas Cactus
wilted christmas cactus
(Image credit: Kirsten.schaney via Q&A)

You've been caring for it all year and now that it's time to expect winter blooms, you find the leathery leaves wilted and limp on your Christmas cactus. You may be wondering why is my Christmas cactus limp? Correct Christmas cactus problems, such as a limp Christmas cactus, with these simple tips.

Christmas Cactus Problems

Wilted or limp Christmas cactus is sometimes caused by a lack of water or too much direct sunlight. If you've neglected to water the limp Christmas cactus, begin by giving the plant a limited drink. Continue to water sparingly every few days until the soil is lightly moist. Soil that is too wet causes Christmas cactus problems too. 

As an epiphyte in its native home on the tropical forest floor, the Christmas cactus absorbs water and nutrients from the air, and as such can't handle soggy roots. Poor drainage and soggy roots can make Christmas cactus very limp. If your wilted or limp Christmas cactus has leaves that appear to be parched or scorched, move it to an area with more shade, particularly in the afternoon.

Reviving a Limp Christmas Cactus

When the Christmas cactus is very limp and the soil is soggy, re-pot into fresh soil. Remove the limp Christmas cactus from the pot and gently remove as much soil as possible. Avoid future Christmas cactus problems by mixing your own soil for repotting. 

Use a good quality potting soil at two parts potting soil to one part sand or vermiculite, assuring sharp drainage. Even if the soil is not soggy, repotting may be the solution to reviving a limp Christmas cactus. While the plant likes to be tight in the pot, moving it to a slightly larger container with fresh soil every few years helps avoid Christmas cactus problems.

Results of Christmas Cactus Problems

If you're able to revive the plant, you may get winter blooms. The stress the plant has experienced may cause this year's blooms to drop prematurely. When all your blooms drop at once, expect an outstanding show next year from what was once your limp Christmas cactus.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.