Why Are the Leaves on My Christmas Cactus Limp (Drooping Leaves)

Cactus, whenever we hear something about cactus, our mind transfers us into a desert- like region that is filled with sand and has no sign of water anywhere. However, some of you might be surprised to know that the Christmas cacti differs from other species in a unique way.

That is, it is a native of, and hails from the Brazilian rain forests and thus significantly differs from its counterparts in the light, temperature, and watering needs. In fact, another interesting fact is that you can grow these beautiful Christmas cacti in your own backyard too.

However, problems like “why are the leaves on my Christmas cactus limp”, or “how to solve the problem of decaying Christmas cactus” might see a dramatic rise as you decide to grow them yourselves. 

But, do not worry, we will address your Christmas cactus issues as and when they arise. In the preceding article, the causes and prevention tips regarding limping of Christmas cactus leaves would be thoroughly discussed and brought to light. 

Without further ado, let us begin. 

Also Read: Mold on Microgreens: How to Prevent Them?

Causes of Christmas cactus limp

Improper Watering

Improper watering refers to over watering here. It is not advised to over water a Christmas cactus at all. That is right, if you are doing it, then you might as well be compelling them to droop and limp, when they are not wanting to. 

Originating from the tropical region, some might expect Christmas cactus to demand more water. To some extent, it is true. They need more moisture than their counterparts to grow, but that does not apply to the overall watering techniques.

More water can either directly promote leaf drooping, or contribute to rotting of roots, which indirectly leads to leaf limping. Further, under watering also remains a big no-no. So, how can one identify the ideal watering measures?

Ideally, it is suggested to water Christmas cactus once every week close to the surface of the soil. In addition, you can also water your plant when the top layer of the soil becomes visibly or tactile dry.  

Poor drainage: Soil

If the soil you use for growing christmas cactus is poorly drained, then it might as well be another reason for your leaves drooping and limping. No extreme soil type is a good one. A soil that is either too dense or too compacted would not be appreciated by the plant. 

Instead, one should choose the kind of soil that is porous and promotes a well drained soil system. If you find your soil being compacted, then it is time for you to repot your soil to another pot with a fresh potting mixture and soil.

If you cannot find a porous and perlite soil, then create drainage holes in the pot to make way for ventilation. 


Christmas cactus plants appreciate a moderate climate, that is, a weather that is neither too hot nor too cold. Their inclination is slightly biased in favour of warm temperatures though. Anything that falls in the temperature range of 21 to 27 degrees Celsius. 

Temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius do not support the good health of christmas cactus leaves, destroy them, and promote their ill condition. As a matter of fact, the plants can tolerate temperatures falling below 10 degrees Celsius, until and unless it is in the stage of budding. 

While natural temperature changes are common and accepted, sudden changes in temperature can be harmful to the plant, and so one should avoid that. One should remember this while shifting the plant position from indoors to outdoors or vice versa. 


Sunlight is a tricky requirement for christmas cactus leaves. This is because they need light, but not in the form of direct sunlight, instead an indirect and moderate sunlight ray. Summers produce a great problem, since they only bestow intense sunlight, and therefore one should make proper arrangements for shade to cover the plant whenever it is possible and required. 

If abundant light is  present directly on the leaves, then they shall droop down as soon as they can. 

Other reasons

The aforementioned reasons are primary, but they might not be all. Apart from this, other secondary reasons might also become a source of worry. One of them is root rot. If the root is decayed, it destroys its natural ability to absorb nutrients, thus resulting in a rapid limp of christmas cactus leaves. 

Further, improper use of fertilizers in inadequate proportion can also disable the thick and green leaves to stand erectly. One should always remain careful of how and where they place their christmas cactus plants. 

How to Get Rid of Christmas Cactus Leaf Limp?

Checking moisture levels

According to scientists and other credible sources, limping and drooping leaves are a sign of inadequate moisture provided to the plant. Therefore, we would begin our prevention journey from here. 

Wet, and soggy soil can contribute to limpy, wrinkled, and drooping leaves. You can curb this problem by making small drainage slots at the bottom of the pot, that gives a way for excess water to flow out. 

Excess water might also contribute to root rot, which is an indirect cause to limping leaves. Check your roots carefully for signs of root rot, and in case of any suspicion, move it to another pot with a fresh potting mixture. 

Further, over watering and under watering can also contribute to wilted leaves. Since each species of christmas cactus demands different water quantities, it is important to analyze the flowers of your cactus plant to determine how much water it needs. 

On an average, a christmas cactus plant should not be watered more than once a week, or in rare cases of when the top soil dries out excessively. 

Using the right soil

Carefully catering to the appropriate soil needs of a christmas cactus plant can save your leaves from drooping and wilting. A soil mixture that is airy and supports fast draining is believed to be the best soil for growing christmas cactus. 

You can make your own soil mixture for christmas cactus by mixing peat moss, perlite sand, and potting soil in equal proportions. If you want to save yourself some time, but not enough money, then you can also opt for buying commercially available soil. 

Waterlogged or compacted soil can become a hazard for cactus plants, making them hard to breath and survive. In such cases, change your soil and pot after the flowering process. 


While most people do not mention this, it is important to consider the fertilising requirements for the Christmas cactus plants. A soluble fertilizer should be sprayed on the plant, at least once or twice each month. 

The most preferable time to fertilize them is considered to be late winters through summer seasons. It promotes good health and condition of the plant and keeps it steady and away from pests for longer time durations. 


Moderate and humid environments are what a christmas cactus plant seeks for. If you use a dehumidifier for other plants in your backyard, then make sure to place your cactus pot far far away from that machine, because these plants strive for humidity, and so do their leaves. 

Further, shifting it to a cooler region immediately after it blooms, is suggested to prevent the leaves from getting wilted, and/or limped.


If your leaves are wilted, check if the christmas cactus plant is placed immediately under straight direct and intense sunlight or not. Chances are, that it would be. Too much light is not good for the leaves, as well as the plant nutrition. 

Instead, try to place it in a shady region that also receives regular, but indirect sunlight. 

Additional Tips 

  • The environment requires some humidity, so arrange the conditions accordingly. 
  • Dropping off some buds every now and then is not a matter of concern. Do not take decisions in haste if something like this happens. 
  • Do proper research for the variety of christmas cactus that you decide to purchase. Make sure to know the bloom time of each of those varieties, and prepare your apparatus accordingly.
  • The plant should also be kept away from sources of direct heat that includes sources like fireplaces, or even a heating vent. 
  • The air around the plant should not be kept too dry, especially during winters. Additionally, water should be provided keeping in mind the time and dryness considerations. 


Scientifically known as Schlumbergera buckleyi, Christmas cactus appear to be distinct from other of their dessert dwelling cousins and look gorgeous with blooming flowers and rich green leaves. Native to its tropical origin, the plant expects a replica of the situation wherever it is placed, in order for it to thrive and grow. 

Also known as holiday cactus and crab cactus, these are the most fascinating holiday plants that have become trendy in contemporary times. The aforementioned tips would assist you in providing maximum protection to your Christmas cactus leaves from limping, making them look absolutely phenomenal throughout. We guarantee you will get the solution for why is my christmas cactus dropping leaves. 

Turns out these easy to grow plants are not that easy to grow after all!

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