Best Soil for Christmas Cactus

Best Soil for Christmas Cactus: The Ultimate Guide

Are you wondering about the best soil for your Christmas cactus? Choosing the right potting mix is crucial for the overall health and well-being of your Christmas cactus plants.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different soil options that are suitable for Christmas cacti, as well as provide tips and recommendations for successful plant care.

Understanding the Christmas Cactus

Before we dive into the best soil options, let’s take a moment to understand the Christmas cactus and its natural habitat. The Christmas cactus, scientifically known as Schlumbergera x buckleyi, is a hybrid of Schlumbergera russelliana and Schlumbergera truncata.

It is closely related to the Thanksgiving cactus, which is commonly known as Schlumbergera truncata.

Both the Christmas cactus and the Thanksgiving cactus are sometimes referred to as Holiday cacti because they tend to bloom around their respective holidays.

These cacti are native to Brazil and are epiphytic in nature, which means they typically grow on tree branches or shrubs. In their natural environment, they are accustomed to excellent drainage and sharp fluctuations in moisture levels.

The Importance of Good Drainage

Due to their epiphytic nature, Christmas cacti require excellent drainage to thrive. It is essential to provide a potting mix that allows excess water to escape easily and prevents waterlogged conditions.

Most commercial potting mixes hold too much water and lack proper drainage, which can lead to root rot and other issues.

To ensure the health of your Christmas cactus, it is recommended to either create your own soil blend or choose a high-quality pre-mixed option.

1. Tropical Succulent Soil Blend

One of the best soil mixes for Christmas cactus is the Tropical Succulent Soil Blend from Oh Happy Plants. This pre-mixed blend is specifically designed for tropical succulents like Christmas cacti, offering excellent drainage while retaining adequate moisture for the plants.

The blend is made using sustainable ingredients such as coco coir and coco chips instead of peat moss. It also does not contain perlite, which can float to the top when watering the soil.

The Tropical Succulent Soil Blend is not only nutritious but also incorporates real ingredients like alfalfa meal, flax seed meal, and rock dust for slow-release nutrients.

It also includes a mycorrhizal inoculant, which enhances plant health, vigor, and disease resistance naturally. Additionally, the blend incorporates charcoal, creating a healthy environment for the root ball of your Christmas cactus.

If you’re looking for a hassle-free option that provides optimal growing conditions for your Christmas cactus, the Tropical Succulent Soil Blend is a fantastic choice.

2. DIY Blend with Pumice

If you prefer to create your own soil mix, a DIY blend with pumice can be an excellent alternative. Pumice is a lightweight volcanic rock that helps improve drainage and prevent waterlogging. To create this DIY blend, you will need a cactus/succulent mix and pumice.

Mix two parts of the cactus/succulent mix with one part pumice to ensure proper drainage. A highly recommended pumice option is the 1/4″ horticultural pumice from Bonsai Jack’s. This pumice is uniform in size and quality, providing optimal conditions for your Christmas cactus.

By incorporating pumice into your potting mix, you can create a soil blend that replicates the sharp drainage found in the natural habitat of Christmas cacti.

3. DIY Blend Using Orchid Bark and Perlite

Another DIY option for a well-draining soil blend is to combine equal parts all-purpose potting mix, perlite, and orchid bark. This blend creates a sharply draining mix that promotes ample oxygen supply to your Christmas cactus’s roots.

However, keep in mind that the chunkier the potting mix, the faster the soil will dry out, which may require more frequent watering.

It’s essential to water your Christmas cactus whenever the top inch of soil has dried out. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings helps prevent overwatering and reduces the risk of fungal issues, such as fungus gnats.

Repotting Your Christmas Cactus

Repotting is an essential aspect of Christmas cactus care. It is best to repot your Christmas cactus after the bloom period when the plant is actively growing. Avoid repotting too close to the summer months, as it may interfere with the plant’s ability to set flower buds.

When selecting a new pot for your Christmas cactus, choose one with a drainage hole to ensure excess water can escape. It is generally recommended to go up one pot size, typically in 2-inch increments of diameter.

For example, if your Christmas cactus is currently in a 4-inch pot, upgrade to a 6-inch pot. This sizing allows for adequate soil dryness and prevents excessive moisture retention.

Clay pots, such as terra cotta pots, are an excellent choice for Christmas cacti as they provide better airflow to the roots. However, keep in mind that clay pots tend to dry out the soil more quickly, requiring more frequent watering.

For more detailed information on caring for your Christmas cactus, including light requirements, temperature preferences, and pruning tips, be sure to check out our comprehensive Christmas cactus care guide.


Choosing the best soil for your Christmas cactus is crucial for its overall health and well-being. Whether you opt for a pre-mixed blend like the Tropical Succulent Soil Blend or create your own DIY mix, ensuring proper drainage is paramount. Remember to water your Christmas cactus when the top inch of soil has dried out and repot it after the bloom period for optimal growth.

By providing your Christmas cactus with the right soil conditions, you can enjoy a thriving and beautiful plant that blooms with vibrant flowers during the holiday season.

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