Christmas Cactus Dropping Leaves? Here’s Why and the Solution


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Christmas Cactus Dropping Leaves

Plants are one of the most fantastic mates of human beings. They bring happiness, joy, and beauty to one’s house. Not only so, but they are also super easy to take care of and can make your house feel fresh without having to make much effort. Now coming to the topic today, whenever we hear the word Cactus, the typical spiny plant comes to mind. But only gardening lovers know about those beautiful Christmas Cactus. The Christmas cacti, Schlumbergera, is a beautiful plant with glossy and thick leaves.

We know it’s their stem, but they look pretty like leaves, pretty much like leaves. It is different from its desert-dwelling cousins. It blooms gorgeously during winter, and its unusually shaped leaves are one of the significant reasons why gardeners prefer this plant so much. While at Christmas, we see most of the plants go down and are not at their best, it is one of those wintery plants which bring life and beauty to your garden.

But did you suddenly notice that these beautiful blooms, your Christmas cactus, are dropping their leaves? This unusual behavior needs to be taken care of appropriately. However, first, you need to know why this problem is arising. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take adequate measures.

If you need to learn this article, we will talk about why your Christmas cactus is dropping its leaves, and what possible solution could be to make it return to its healthy condition.

Why is the Christmas cactus dropping leaves?

Here are some possible reasons why your Christmas cactus is probably dropping its leaves.



Among watering issues, there can be two probable causes for your Christmas cactus dropping its leaves: underwatering or overwatering.

To determine whether your Christmas cacti have been overwatered or underwatered, if you find that your leaves appear to be shrunken and are thus dropping, it is probably. Whereas if you see that they seem mushy and sagging, it is probably the result of overwatering.


To know when you should actually water your Cactus, touch the top layer of the soil, and if you feel that the top 2 inches of the soil is dry, water your Christmas cactus then. Also, ensure a sound drainage system for your pot, so the water doesn’t get pooled, resulting in root rotting or leaves dropping.

In overwatered Christmas cactuses, the stems usually look mushy. Under such circumstances, take the plant out of the soil and check if the roots have turned black, mushy, and look fragile. If so, it is proof that your plant has been severely overwatered and has suffered root rot.


Applying too many fertilizers to the plant can also result in shock and lead to the plant dropping its leaves. We understand that feeding your Christmas Cactus is essential, and you should do it monthly as well, but only from April to September.

Over-fertilizing is a common mistake that gardeners often commit. People often consider adding too many fertilizers to grow their plants quickly and impressively. However, there might be other expected results. The poor Christmas Cactus might get damaged from its roots due to over-fertilizing.

Fertilizers are like vitamins for humans. Though plants get their food from photosynthesis from the sunlight, the essential elements from the soil also provide nutrients. A large amount of fertilizer might harm the plant and, thus, leaf drop. Thus over-fertilization can dehydrate the roots and gradually let them die.


If you feel that your Christmas Cactus is dying or dropping its leaves due to over-fertilizing, you can adopt two potential solutions.

Try to wash the soil with plenty of water for five straight minutes to wipe out or dissolve the excess amount of fertilizer out of the soil.

For at least six months, try to avoid fertilizing your plants to get time to recover.

Remove the plant from its regular pot and check if any roots have been damaged. To wipe off the excess salt buildup, rinse the plant carefully with water and cut off the damaged roots if any.

Lighting problem

If your Christmas Cactus is too exposed to the sun, it might result in the leaves getting burned and dropping them. Since the Christmas Cactus originated in the dense rainforests of Brazil, they are usually under the shades of canopies and large plants. They are natural and thus adapted to dim indirect light. Thus Cactus have become intolerant to direct light, unlike the desert varieties of Cactus.


Placing your Christmas cactus in a part that receives extreme sunlight directly might lead to a leaf drop. Place your Cactus inside your house in a shaded part. The shaded spot prevents any severe problems.

Temperature changes

Temperature changes

Suppose you feel that neither of the above-stated reasons is responsible for your Christmas Cactus leaf dropping. In that case, another possible cause could be the sudden temperature change that your Christmas cactus has faced and is unable to get accustomed to. The sudden extreme change in the temperature might also shock the Cactus causing it to drop leaves. To make it easily understandable, suppose when you first bring your Christmas cactus home.

The temperature that it has been used to changes during transportation and thus leads to some leaf dropping. Also, if you have been growing your Christmas Cactus by placing it outside during the hot summer seasons and then forgetting to bring it inside when the cold nights while autumn approaches, the temperature change might affect your Christmas cacti.

Just try to avoid placing it near any heat source or cold draft, like the winds of the air conditioner, etc.


Try to place Christmas Cactus within the temperature of 65° to 85° Fahrenheit during the summer season, and you can go for a little less temperature in the winter. Still, the temperatures should never fall below 50° Fahrenheit. Keep the plant as away as possible from hot or cold air vents where there might be chances of a sudden change in temperature stress the plant.

However, the good news for you, the temperature change causing the leaf drop is not permanent. These leaves drop stop as soon as your plant gets used to the new environment.


We hope that you will take adequate care of your Christmas cactus. Now you can understand adequately why your Christmas cactus is shedding its leaves and how you can take care of the problem you are facing.

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