7 Reasons To Get a Christmas Cactus Instead Of — Or In Addition To — A Christmas Tree

November 18, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Christmas cacti can live in your house for over 100 years and be passed from generation to generation, blooming beautiful red flowers ever holiday season


1. They last almost forever. Unlike Christmas trees, which die in just a few weeks, or poinsettias that die within 6 months, Christmas cacti last for decades.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac they typically live about 20-30 years, but there have been several accounts of family heirlooms that have lived over 100 years.

2. Long-lasting blooms come back year after year.

As perennials, Christmas cacti bloom year after year and the flowers last the whole winter just when you need their colorful cheer the most.

3. They’re easy to care for. You don’t have to have a green thumb to keep this tough succulent alive. They don’t need much water or much sun.

“The conditions in our houses are nothing like their native rain forest homes but still they do fine in normal household temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees, with a drop at night to 55 to 60 degrees,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac says.

Just make sure to keep your humidifier going during the dry winter months. They’re used to the humid climate of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, where they grow non-parasitically (symbiotically) on tree branches.

4. They clean the air. Like many other houseplants, succulents are great air purifiers. They filter all kinds of common indoor air pollutants and help keep the air fresh by producing oxygen.

5. They are non-toxic to pets. Unlike Christmas trees which are covered in all kinds of chemical pesticides and preservatives, or poinsettias, which are poisonous to cats and dogs, your furry friend can chow down on as much Christmas cactus as they like and will be just fine, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

6. Christmas trees are bad for the environment. The Christmas tree industry is responsible for massive deforestation, uses tons of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, which run off into rivers and lakes, and fills landfills with millions of dead trees left to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

If you have to have one, we recommend a living Christmas tree in a pot, that can be replanted outdoors when you’re done with it.

7. They are the gift that keeps on giving. Instead of deforesting, you can re-jungle your house. Christmas cacti not only live for decades, they are easily multiplied. Just break of a few branches and let them take root in other pots in the spring. Next year, you’ll have gifts for all your friend.

Plus, you won’t have an eternity of dried out pine-needles to sweep up or a dead tree to haul to the curb.

For tips on care, see the Old Farmer’s Alamac’s complete guide to growing Christmas cacti and WorldOfSucculents.com.