Christmas Cactus: Top 9 Sunlight & Temperature Questions Answered

One of the keys to growing houseplants is selecting a location with the right amount of light. The Christmas cactus requires the correct amount of light to stay healthy and produce those beautiful winter time blooms it’s know for.

This article will cover all the top questions about sunlight and temperature. So you can select the best spot and ensure it is in the correct temperatures.

1.) Does Christmas Cactus Like Sun or Shade?

Christmas cactus is a tropical cactus that grows best in bright, indirect light. It can tolerate some partial shade but won’t grow well in very dark rooms.

Avoid keeping it in full sun, as this will scorch the tender stems. 

2.) Where Is the Best Location for a Christmas Cactus?

The best location for your Christmas cactus is a room that faces east or west. A bathroom or a kitchen with a large window are both excellent choices, and they will also provide your cactus with a humid environment.

Keep the plant at least 3 feet away from the window, so the sun doesn’t burn it.

3.) Why Should You Put a Christmas Cactus in the Dark?

Changes in daylight trigger the blooming time for the Christmas cactus. It needs short days, up to 10 hours, and long nights of at least 14 hours. To get it to bloom, keep your Christmas cactus in complete darkness for 12 to 14 hours each day, starting October.  

4.) Why Are Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Pale Green?

If your Christmas cactus turns pale green, it could be getting too much direct sun. This often happens, followed by a slight tinge of red color. Think of it as sunburn. Try moving it to a location with more indirect sun.

5.) Can Christmas Cactus Live in Low Light?

While Christmas cactus can tolerate lower light environments, it does best with indirect, bright light. In low light, the cactus will not grow and bloom correctly. Aim for six to eight hours of bright indirect sunlight daily. Avoid dark rooms with not enough lighting.

6.) Can Christmas Cactus Grow in Artificial Light?

Yes, you could grow Christmas cactus under artificial light. Although, it would be very tricky and need to mimic its natural lighting needs. This plant usually does best with natural lighting.

7.) Can a Christmas Cactus Live Outside?

You can keep Christmas cactus outdoors throughout the year in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12. In cooler regions, you can take it outside in late spring or early summer and keep it there until early fall. 

Put the Christmas cactus in a shaded part of your garden and water it regularly, especially when the weather gets very hot.

8.) How Cold Is It Too Cold for a Christmas Cactus? 

The ideal temperature range for the Christmas cactus is between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 27°C). Unfortunately, this plant is not frost tolerant and will suffer permanent damage if exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) for long periods. 

However, it does need cool temperatures, between 50°F and 60°F (10°C to 15°C), to produce flowers. 

9.) What Temperature Is Too Hot for Christmas Cactus?

Again, as mentioned in the above answer the ideal temperature range for Christmas cactus is around 70℉. If the temperature gets above 90℉ it is too hot and could harm the cactus.

Final Thoughts on Sun & Temperature

Most plant owners keep Christmas cactus inside so you really don’t need to worry about temperature all that much. But, if you want to ensure excellent blooms you would move it to a cool (55-59℉), dark location in Sept/October. Don’t go below 50℉ because the plant will not flower at that cold of a temperature.

Regarding sunlight, find a location with bright and indirect sun, and you should be good. Usually, this is an east-facing window, or south-facing if it is protected from direct sun.

So remember to keep it indoors, with lots of indirect light (and darkness at the correct times for blooms), and you should have these two items under control.

Check out the main Christmas cactus plant care page for more questions and answers on all topics.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.