I have heard that you should put Christmas cactus in the dark to stimulate blooming. How long? Anything else. It did not work last year. Mine is very happy right now having been outside all summer, even though we had tons of rain.

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Hey Gina, well I have owned a Christmas cactus for 4 years and it has bloomed every year around Thanksgiving.  I keep it in a south window (it also spends the summers outside just like yours).  A friend of mine has had 3 cactus for many years now and they all bloom like crazy around Thanksgiving, she also keeps hers in a south-facing window.  Neither one of us put the plants in the dark.  She waters hers weekly, which is more than I do, and hers bloom a lot more than mine - I don't know if that is why, or if she just has a different variety that blooms better.   Well, I sure hope you get blooms this year. 
Gina, I have never heard of that as here our Zygo/Christmas Cactus also usually stay outside all year round. However labels tell us not to keep them near artificial light such as porch lights turned on etc as it tricks the plant into flowering.
Our Zygo flowers during our winter (July/August) and are now in their dormant stage. Ours are hung outside under pergolas, porches or from trees where they have some shade. I have a photo of one of mine in flower on my photo page.

Things are a bit different in Central Florida but once the blooming stops, I generally move all Holiday Cactus (there are different varieties that will bloom at different times, generally starting about Thanksgiving through Easter) to a spot under a back yard citrus and there they remain pretty much neglected until they start to bud then I'll clean them up and bring them to a more visible place inside or out.   There is no light after the sun goes down under those trees and I have noticed the flowering times can be adjusted by hittiing them with some artificial light for a few minutes a couple of nights in a row.  It helps space out the bloom times.   The hazard of my method is that sometimes during fruit drop a plant gets hit and a piece breaks off...but it just gets stuck in some soil for another propagation.  :)

Hiya Gina and all,

Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus do bloom better with long, cool nights. Since you're in a cold winter climate, most folks there will grow them outside in shade until frost seriously threatens, and then they'll bring them indoors and keep in the coolest room in the house that gets the least artificial light after sunset.  Usually by the time folks in cold winter climates bring them in, they're loaded with buds.   Let us know what you do and how it works out.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti and grow quite a few of them--my Christmas cactus refuses to bloom for me unless I put it outside during the cooler months (Scottsdale, Arizona, USA).  Keep us posted!

Hi Grant ... I really like them too not just for their beauty but because they are reliable.  :)
Hiya Bob and all, agreed!  My Thanksgiving cacti bloom absolutely reliably each mid-winter and then again in late winter.  Really becoming one of my favorite plants!
well I had brought it in but I will put it back out. That's easy! thanks
Be careful of a sudden frost up there in Wallingford (used to live in Sharon, CT now Orlando) ... you might be better off just putting an upside down box over it from dinner time on as a precaution?
Gina, I agree with Bob, you need to be careful of the frost.  You might be able to squeeze another week or two outside if you cover it the way Bob suggested.  I just brought mine in this weekend for the winter.  I live in Ohio (zone 5b).  Both Bob and Grant live in warmer climates (**sigh**envy***envy***).  Maybe one day I can move to a warmer climate like Bob did, then maybe I won't have to bring in most of my plants.  Anyway the one that I put in the bathroom for the winter has always bloomed better than the one I put in the kitchen.  Now, after reading everyone's comments about limiting the artificial light in the evenings and at night time, I will be moving the other one into the bathroom also, so that it only gets daylight.  The kitchen light is generally on until at least 10 or 11 p.m., the poor thing wasn't getting enough rest.

Nina ... Orlando by way of Southern California, New Jersey, Central Labrador, New Jersey, Central Europe (several different places) Georgia, Texas, Washington State, Phillipines and various interim garden spots around the world.  :)  CT and OK were a long way back down the rest of the list.

Just thinking, since few holiday cactus are actually grown from seed, aren't all of them pretty old in one way or another??  Cheers!

Good point, Nina and Bob.  I didn't know Gina was already cold enough for frost.  Definitely not a good idea to move them back out when it's that chilly.  I was saying (probably poorly, LOL) that folks would grow them outside from early summer until frost threatens and then move them inside, not move them outside when it's already chilly.  Good thing you mentioned it!  They bloom on long nights and cool nights (having them combined is the best), so the coolest room with the least artificial light is best.  Mine definitely don't get the cool they need, but the long nights are enough to trigger bloom, even indoors.  Great plants for sure.  I always "stock up" on them after the holidays when they're on sale.  :)
I'm in Chesapeake, VA  and I keep mine out during the summer and it seems to need the jolt of a couple nights of cool weather to set its blooms.  I have taken it inside now  before our first frost and it is full of blooms...I will post a photo as soon as theyopen.  Last year when I brought them in after just setting the buds all of them fell off.  I have since learned that I must have overwatered them and that was why they fell off.  this year i have just kept the soil most but not saturated and so far so good.  It did set new blooms last year after the first ones fell but it took a while.  Mine mostly bloom closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas.


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