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by Lena

Please tell Me why my stems, leaves are flopy looks as it is about to die. I have done all I know please help me. Its so pretty at christmas. thank you so much. Lena

Lena, the biggest problem with Schlumbergera, the Christmas Cactus is that it gets too much water at the wrong time. They absolutely have to have a dormant period after blooming, where they are not watered much, so they have time to recover.

These are epiphytes, which means they grow high in the tree tops in jungles around the equator, which translates into warm, moist conditions alternating with warm dry conditions, depending on the climate.

If you can copy these alternating periods, your Christmas Cactus will be much happier. I recommend giving it a summer outdoors hanging in a tree or on a covered porch – unlike many other plants we call cacti, these don’t like full blazing hot sun, but prefer bright but shaded situations.

If your plant is rotting at the base, then maybe you can take some cuttings off it and try and get it to come back to life.

First of all, stop watering it!

If the soil is really wet, then take the plant right out of the soil, and put it on some newspaper to soak up the extra water, then look at the roots. If they have black and shriveled looking areas, these are dead and should be cut off. Take a sharp knife or pair of scissors, and trim them off. Don’t worry if it’s lots, your plant if it survives will make more. Again, don’t water it, but replant it in some clean potting soil, pasteurized or heat treated to kill any pathogens.

Then, put it on ignore – don’t even look at it for the rest of the summer. You can start to water it again in a week or so, if it’s looking better.

You don’t say where you are, but if it is warm in your area, leave the plant outdoors until the nights cool off a bit, and then bring it inside. Hopefully, it will recover in time, but don’t expect it to bloom this year.

Hope this helps – without pictures of it, I’m flying blind here.

Best of luck,

See this page too: Why is my Succulent Dying?