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House Plants/christmas cactus losing leaves


Hi Will,
I have two 32 year old christmas cactus i got when i got married. I have taken great care of them i thought. Well 1 of them is doing so nicely getting new leaves and just doing great. I live in southern ontario so in fall i put them in my west window. Has always done great. Lots and lots of flowers. Well the other one has leaves dropping like crazy. They both have been repotted the same time and have 12" pots. In spring time i put them outside on the southern side of my house which gets half shade from noon till sundown. I dont know what is wrong. Two years ago they had 100's of flowers on them both. I just dont know could it be that its just getting old?
thanks for your help

Hi Cynthia,

From your description, you have two identical plants that have been treated in exactly the same manner and kept in the same locations for 32 years and now one is not doing well while the other is thriving. That scenario seems improbable, so most likely something has happened to the ailing plant that did not happen to the other one.

Leaf drop on a Christmas Cactus is not a good sign and has many possible causes, including over-potting, improper watering, improper light and temps that are too warm.

I need more information from you as to what is different between the two plants other than their current condition. My biggest concern is the pot size. 12 inches is very large for any Christmas Cactus and substantially increases the possibility of root rot. If you can provide details on the  repotting that would be helpful.

Best regards,

~Will Creed  

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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