How to Propagate a Christmas Cactus in Water: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Propagate a Christmas Cactus in Water: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking for a beautiful and low-maintenance indoor plant, then the Christmas cactus might be just what you need. These plants are known for their vibrant blooms that can last for weeks during the winter season. While they’re relatively easy to care for, propagating them can be a bit tricky. In this article, we’ll show you how to propagate a Christmas cactus in water with step-by-step instructions.

Materials Needed

Before we get started, let’s go over the materials you’ll need to propagate your Christmas cactus in water. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:

  • Sharp scissors or pruning shears
  • A clean container or jar filled with distilled or filtered water
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Paper towels or a clean towel
  • Plastic wrap or a plastic bag

It’s important to use clean and sterile tools when propagating your cactus because any bacteria can cause infections that could harm your plant. Using distilled or filtered water is also recommended as it’s free of minerals that may harm your cutting.


The first thing you need to do when propagating your Christmas cactus is to prepare your cutting properly. This means selecting the right kind of cutting and making sure it’s healthy enough to grow into a new plant.

To start, look for a healthy stem on your Christmas cactus that has at least two segments. The segment is the part of the stem between two leaf nodes. Use sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut off the segment cleanly from the main plant, making sure there are no damages on both sides of the cut. Avoid taking too many cuttings from one plant as this could weaken it over time.

Once you’ve made your cuttings, place them on paper towels or a clean towel and let them dry for about an hour. This will allow the cut to callus over and prevent any bacteria from entering the cutting.

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Water Propagation Process

Now that your cutting is ready, it’s time to propagate it in water. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Fill a clean container or jar with distilled or filtered water. Make sure the water level is deep enough to cover the bottom segment of your cutting.

  2. If you’re using rooting hormone, dip the bottom end of your cutting into the powder and shake off any excess.

  3. Carefully place your cutting into the water, making sure only the bottom segment is submerged. You can use a toothpick or skewer to hold your cutting in place if necessary.

  4. Cover the container or jar with plastic wrap or a plastic bag to create a humid environment for your cutting. This will help prevent excessive moisture loss through transpiration.

  5. Place your container in a bright spot where there’s indirect sunlight but not too much heat, which could cause evaporation and damage your cutting.

  6. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh and free of bacteria. After 2-3 weeks, roots should start growing from the bottom segment of your cutting.

Caring for the Cutting

Once roots have formed on your Christmas cactus cutting, you’ll need to take care of it properly before transplanting it into soil. Here are some tips on how to care for your propagated cactus:

  1. Keep an eye on the water level in your container and make sure it doesn’t dry out completely.

  2. After 4-6 weeks, check if there are enough roots forming at the base of your propagated plant before transplanting them into soil.

  3. Avoid exposing your Christmas cactus to direct sunlight as this can cause sunburn on its leaves.

  4. Maintain humidity by misting or placing a tray filled with pebbles and water underneath its pot – this will create moisture around its foliage while also preventing overwatering which can lead to root rot.

  5. Fertilize your cactus every other week during its growing season, which is usually from spring to summer. Use a balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20-20-20 or 10-10-10.

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By following these care tips, your propagated Christmas cactus should grow into a healthy and vibrant plant that will brighten up your home for years to come.

Caring for the Cutting

After your cutting has callused, it’s time to place it in water. Fill a clean container or jar with distilled or filtered water and add rooting hormone if desired. The rooting hormone will help stimulate root growth and improve the chances of success.

Next, insert the cutting into the water so that at least one segment is submerged. You can use plastic wrap or a plastic bag to cover the top of the container to create a mini greenhouse, which will help keep the cutting moist and warm.

Change the water every few days to prevent bacteria from forming and make sure that at least one segment is always submerged in water. In about two to four weeks, you should start seeing roots growing from your cutting.

Transplanting the Cutting

Once your Christmas cactus cutting has developed roots that are at least an inch long, it’s time to transplant it into soil. Choose a potting mix that drains well and contains perlite, sand, or vermiculite.

Gently remove your new plant from the water by carefully lifting it out with clean hands. Make sure not to damage any of its delicate roots during this process.

Dig a small hole in your potting mix using your finger or a spoon and gently place your new plant into it. Cover the roots with soil until they’re completely covered and lightly pat down on the surface of the soil.

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Water your newly transplanted Christmas cactus sparingly for about two weeks until you see new growth appearing. After this initial period, you can treat it like a mature Christmas cactus by watering it once every week when the topsoil feels dry to touch.


Propagating a Christmas cactus in water is an excellent way to expand your collection of indoor plants without having to spend too much money buying new ones. With these simple steps outlined above, you can easily propagate your own Christmas cactus in just a few weeks. Remember to use clean tools, distilled or filtered water, and maintain a warm and moist environment for your cutting to increase the chances of success. With proper care, your new Christmas cactus will soon be blooming beautifully in no time.


Propagating a Christmas cactus in water is an easy and affordable way to grow new plants from your existing ones. With the right tools, materials, and techniques, you can have a new plant to brighten up your home or give as a gift to family and friends.

Remember to choose healthy cuttings and use clean and sterile tools when propagating your Christmas cactus. Let your cuttings callus over before placing them in water, and keep them out of direct sunlight until they’ve developed roots.

Caring for your newly propagated Christmas cactus is just as important as the propagation process itself. Make sure to provide it with the right amount of light, water, and nutrients to ensure its growth and development.

In summary, propagating a Christmas cactus in water is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that will allow you to expand your plant collection while saving money. Follow these simple steps, and soon enough, you’ll have beautiful new plants growing in no time!

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