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Sad-Looking-Christmas-Cactus.jpg

Sad Looking Christmas Cactus

My wife has a Christmas cactus plant that she bought in Kansas years ago.  It blooms and shoots in the same manner as a Christmas cactus, but the leaves are rounder and scalloped.  We think it has root rot due to watering.  It is limp, shriveled, and sad looking, but still has its color and flowers.  Is there hope for this plant?

Sounds like you have an Easter cactus (Schlumbergera gaertneri ).  Similar in appearance, this plant requires the same care as the Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti.  These succulent plants are native to tropical areas.  They are not as drought tolerant as the cacti of the southwest but they do not tolerate soggy soil.  Too much or not enough water can cause the symptoms you describe.   Keep flowering plants slightly moist.  Once the plant is done blooming you can reduce watering frequency.   This may also be a good time to repot the plant.  Use a similar or slightly larger (if the plant was potbound) container with drainage holes.  Remove any slimy roots and use a well drained potting mix to fill the container.   Water non blooming plants thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil is dry.  Pour off the excess water that collects in the saucer to avoid root rot.  Cacti and succulents prefer cool temperatures and dry soils when growth slows or stops over winter. 

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