Love your holiday cactus? Here’s how to propagate a thanksgiving cactus – or easter cactus, or christmas cactus – in water, soil, or via division!
I love a holiday cactus (Schlumbergera) in the winter! Their blooms are GORGEOUS and they make a great hostess gift during the holiday season.
But, don’t throw them out after the holidays! Take that mother plant and make some cuttings. You can sprout some cute lil baby plants to gift or trade all year long!
Even if you don’t want to share cuttings, you can use them to fill out a pot and make a plant more lush!
Finally, if you are pruning you plant anyways, you might as well root the cuttings!
Types of holiday cacti
There are 3 main popular types of holiday cacti:
- Thanksgiving Cactus – Schlumbergera truncata
- Christmas Cactus – Schlumbergera bridgesii
- Easter Cactus – Hatiora gaertneri
They all propagate the exact same way. So, I’, going to show my thanksgiving cactus. But, if you have a Christmas Cactus or an Easter Cactus, this exact method will work too!
Free printable holiday cactus care guide
Join the (free!) KeepYourPlantsAlive+ community to access this exclusive printable plant care guide! Once you sign up, you can right click & save the JPG care guide. Or keep scrolling for more!
Can you root a Thanksgiving cactus?
Yes, you can root cuttings from a holiday cactus! These plants root easily in soil or water.
When is the best time to propagate a holiday cactus?
The best time to propagate is during growing season – spring or summer. May-June is ideal in the northern hemisphere. However, you can take cuttings indoors year round successfully.
How do you root a Thanksgiving cactus?
It’s easy to propagate cacti in water, soil, or through division.
My tip is to do a few cuttings at once – just one single cutting isn’t that impressive on it’s own!
How to propagate a holiday cactus in water
My top choice for propagating holiday cacti is in water.
Select a segment of the parent plant – preferably one with new growth – and cut it off. Choose a pieces that’s at least 3 inches long.
Place so the cut end of the plant is in water in a jar or vase. I used my test tube propagation station.
Place in bright indirect light.
Refill the water as needed and change the water weekly or as it gets foggy.
I find that these cactus plants root really quickly! If they are looking wilted or mushy, they are likely rotten and won’t root.
Once the plant grows roots 2-3 inches long, plant it in soil. Choose a succulent potting soil and a pot with a drainage hole!
How to propagate a thanksgiving cactus in soil
You can also propagate your holiday cactus directly in soil. I did this successfully, but you do have to keep the soil slightly moist or the cutting with get wrinkled and withered.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to take a cutting as described above. Let the cutting sit on the counter for 24-48 hours for the cut end to callous over.
Wet the bottom 1-2 inches of the cutting and dip in rooting hormone.
Stick into soil mix and place in bright indirect light.
Since you are rooting directly in water, you don’t have to transplant the cutting – just let it grow straight into that pot!
How to propagate thanksgiving cactus via division
One final option for propagating these plants is division. This is especially handy if your plant gets root bound or too big for its pot.
Simply remove your plant from the pot and gently separate it at the base. Divide into pieces and plant in separate pots.
Use a potting mix for cactuses or orchids and make sure the pot has a drainage hole.
Where do you cut a Christmas cactus plant to propagate?
These plants don’t have nodes like some other plants. Instead the fleshy leaves have cladodes – the little sections. Cut at a break between 2 sections for best results.
I like to get at least 2-3 inches for a nice healthy cutting!
- Holiday cactus mother plant
- Cup of water or soil
- Sharp clean scissors
- Identify a healthy branch with new bright green growth on the tip
- Take a cutting at least 3 inches long
- If planting in soil, let callous over for 24-48 hours until the cut end looks dry
- Wet the end and dip in rooting hormone
- Place in water or succulent mix potting soil
- Place in bright indirect light
- Change the water OR water the soil weekly
- Roots will take 2-3 months to form
- If rooting in water, once they are 2-3 inches long, move to soil