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Christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves: why and what to do

Christmas cacti, scientifically named Schlumbergera , are a genus of succulent plants from the cacti family , very popular in interior decoration due to their characteristic flowering, which occurs in cold months, hence their name.

This plant is also called Santa Teresita cactus, Santa Teresa feathers or Easter cactus. Its care is not difficult, but if your Christmas cactus does not seem healthy and its leaves are wrinkled, in AgroCorrn we tell you the possible causes that you have a Christmas cactus with wrinkled leaves and what to do to help it be healthier so that keep growing and flourish well.

You may also be interested in: How to care for a Christmas cactus
  1. Lack or excess watering
  2. Too much sun
  3. Plant age
  4. Inadequate fertilizers or water
  5. What to do if my Christmas cactus has wrinkled leaves
  6. Christmas cactus care

Lack or excess watering

Like all succulents, the Christmas cactus accumulates water in its structure. This genus of plants in particular accumulates water in its stems, so when we talk about the leaves of the Christmas cactus being wrinkled , we are actually referring to its stems that look like this.

The most common when this occurs, and we see that the stems seem to deflate and wrinkle, or simply become limp in the early stages of plant discomfort, it is because it has lost or consumed much of the accumulated water, which It gives that poor health look.

This bad watering of the Christmas cactus can be both by excess, as by default. When it comes to the cactus being dehydrated , the leaves shrink because the plant does not have enough water to store in its reserves and, when forced to consume it, its stems shrink. Do not forget that, although the Christmas cactus is a cactus and is adapted to drought conditions, it still needs a certain amount of water.

It can also happen that the leaves become wrinkled due to too frequent or excessive watering . Most cacti and succulents have roots that cannot tolerate excess moisture. This causes its roots to rot and, at first glance, it may seem that the plant needs just the opposite: more water. Take a good look at the stems and whether the tips of the leaves appear to be blackening or rotting: this is the sign that you are over-watering your Christmas cactus. If, in addition, the soil seems wet to the touch, you can be sure that this is the reason.

We recommend that you also read this other post on When to water the plants .

Too much sun

Not all cacti are prepared to withstand direct sunlight in a hot climate. For example, the sun in some hot countries, especially in the summer months, can cause wrinkled leaves on a Christmas cactus. An excess of sunlight of great intensity will cause the cactus to lose water despite its retention mechanisms. If it becomes dehydrated, its stems will shrivel and dry , especially if the plant does not receive enough water.

Plant age

Plants age like other living things. Christmas cacti also notice the passage of time, and their older stems and leaves will wrinkle over time even if the plant is in good health.

Therefore, if you know that your plant is many years old, do not be surprised to see some wrinkled or somewhat withered parts. On the other hand, if you see that it is a large part of the plant, pay attention to the rest of the possible causes of this problem, since, leaving aside age, the rest of the problems that we discuss here can also affect it.

Inadequate fertilizers or water

Finally, the use of inappropriate fertilizers or water with too many additives can also cause this effect on the stems or leaves of this plant. The salts of some fertilizers rich in these or those that the tap water itself contains in some places can be the cause.

What to do if my Christmas cactus has wrinkled leaves

We tell you what to do if your Christmas cactus has wrinkled leaves depending on the cause:

  • If it is an excess of watering, simply let the substrate of your Christmas cactus dry completely before watering again, while if it is a lack of watering, gradually increase the water you provide to the plant, always being careful not to overdo it or flood it.
  • In the case of heat stroke, move your Christmas cactus to a location that is bright but protected from direct sunlight, at least during the noon hours.
  • If your plant is of a certain age, remove its stems and leaves once they have completely dried and see if it gives new shoots: if it does, everything is fine.
  • Finally, in the case of fertilizers, do not use fertilizers rich in sodium and, if possible, use specific ones for cacti. Use rainwater or low-sodium water for watering, and if you don’t have access to it, let it sit for at least 24 hours before watering with it.

Christmas cactus care

These are the basic care of Christmas cactus or Easter cactus:

  • Irrigation: abundant during the growing season, scarce after flowering. Pot with drainage holes.
  • Light: needs a lot. It can be direct in mild climates.
  • Location: put in a cool place after flowering and reduce watering to let the plant rest. In summer, semi-shade. Keep it protected from drafts.
  • Substrate: special for succulents, very loose, light and well draining.
  • Fertilizer: specific for cacti and succulents.

However, if you want to learn more, here we show you a video with a guide on care, which you can also consult in this written guide on How to care for a Christmas cactus , and we also recommend that you read about How to reproduce the Christmas cactus .

If you want to read more articles similar to Christmas Cactus with wrinkled leaves: why and what to do , we recommend that you enter our category of Growing and caring for plants .

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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