How to perk up a droopy Christmas cactus for vibrant, festive blooms all winter long

Expert advice for happy houseplants throughout the Christmas season

Christmas cactus
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to perk up a droopy Christmas cactus is a useful bit of knowledge to have in your back pocket if you've taken on the task of caring for a Christmas cactus this festive season. 

Although this succulent has a reputation for being low maintenance, they aren't without some Christmas cactus problems. A droopy Christmas cactus just a week before Christmas day is often one of them, just when you want it standing to attention to impress your guests.

Well, fear not, as we've asked gardening experts for their advice to help you get to the root of the problem as well as their top tips to ensure you can get your houseplant back to its perky self and perhaps even get your Christmas cactus to bloom this winter.

Christmas cactus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to perk up a droopy Christmas cactus

'Christmas cacti are cheerful succulents with vibrant, festive blooms that make the perfect addition to any festive interior,' begins Elizabeth Marshall, buyer at Hillier Garden Centres.

'Their distinctive appearance, air-purifying qualities, and low maintenance tendencies make them an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced plant lovers.'

So, while they are a relatively easy houseplant to care for, this doesn't make them exempt from the dramas of the changing seasons as a Christmas cactus does require specific conditions to thrive.

'If you find yourself with a droopy Christmas Cactus this festive season then there are several things you should look for to find the problem and resolve it,' says Craig Wilson, co-founder, director, and in-house gardening expert at Gardeners Dream

Christmas cactus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Consider sunlight

'Firstly, look at where your cactus is positioned,' begins Craig.' You will want to assess whether or not it is getting enough light, if not, move it to an area that gets more light.'

'In the winter months, direct sunlight isn't much of an issue, and these cacti can handle it much better than they can in the summer.'

Elizabeth continues, 'To provide the ideal conditions, place your Christmas cactus near a north-facing window where it can enjoy filtered sunlight.'

Christmas cactus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

2. Consider humidity levels

'Humidity is another key consideration for these plants,' adds Elizabeth. 'Christmas cacti prefer higher humidity levels, which can be challenging to maintain during the dry winter months.'

This is because indoor heating systems can make the air quite arid, thus making it difficult for houseplants to thrive.

'If you have a humidifier then place this near the plant,' advises Chris. 'If not, you can always place a tray of water near the plant and it will work just as well. Other tricks include spritzing the plant with water.'

Christmas cactus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Check the soil

'Another check to make is the soil as poor drainage can make for a limp Christmas cactus,' adds Craig. Therefore, considering how often you water your Christmas cactus is important as overwatering is one of the most common mistakes people often make.

'If your soil appears to be too wet and soggy, then avoid watering it until it dries down a bit. Ensure that your plant is never sitting in water and that there are appropriate drainage holes at the bottom of your pot.'

Craig continues, 'If your soil is the opposite and is dry and crumbly, then you need to increase watering. If the soil feels too compact, you should loosen it before you add water. Gently poke a few holes into it with a skewer, or try to break it up loosely with your fingers.'

'After a week or so of consistent watering, your cactus should begin to return to normal.'

Christmas cactus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Check the roots

'Lastly, check the roots!' says Craig. 'You might be doing everything right in terms of watering and light exposure, but if your plant is housed in a pot that is too small, it can become too rootbound, which means there is no room for it to grow any further.' 

'A useful way to check for this without disturbing the plant too much is to see if roots are poking through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. If there are, then it is likely that the roots are looking for additional space,' he explains.

So, repotting will be necessary to help perk up your Christmas cactus back to full vibrancy again.

Where to buy a Christmas cactus


What causes a Christmas cactus to droop?

There are several factors as to why a Christmas cactus may be drooping: including sunlight, humidity levels, its soil, and its roots.

Although Christmas cacti are relatively easy houseplants to care for, they do require specific conditions to fully thrive so knowing the ins and outs of caring for them is essential.

All in all, knowing how to perk up a droopy Christmas cactus all boils down to the basics of general houseplant care and maintenance.

But, rest assured that your Christmas cactus will thank you all the more for it this festive season.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.