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Thomas J. Story

Cactus Care

A cool, bright spot with indirect sun is best for christmas cacti, which grow naturally in rain forest trees. Keep one on display near an east-facing window, and it won't know it ever left the jungle.

Before watering, check soil moisture with your index finger. Water thoroughly when the top 1/2-inch of soil dries out.

As new leaves appear or when flower buds begin to swell, apply a liquid fertilizer formulated for houseplants every 7 to 10 days until the growth or flowering cycle ends.

Every year or so, gently pull the plant out of its container and check the roots. If roots are matting where they touch the inside of the pot, move the plant into a container that's 1 or 2 inches or two larger in diameter. Rough up the tangled roots with a knife or fork before you repot.

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