Houseplants: Experts explain why leaves might be falling off

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Christmas cacti, also known as schlumbergera, gained its name due to the time it flowers, which is over the festive period. It is a delicate-looking cactus with bright flowers in small round shapes. The Christmas cactus grows on trees or rocks in the wild and is used to high humidity levels, which can be hard to replicate at home.

One expert has shared top tips on looking after a Christmas cacti throughout the festive period.

Samantha Jones, Gardening Expert at MyJobQuote, told “Christmas cacti flower in late November to late January. 

“During this time, they require a humid environment, therefore you may want to consider placing your houseplant in a pebble or gravel saucer, which should be kept moist. 

“The plant should then be positioned in a warm spot, however, try to avoid direct sunlight.

“Christmas cacti should be watered every two to three weeks.”

The plant doesn’t like to dry out completely but also cannot be left sat in water because this could lead to root rot.

Samantha added: “Before doing so, you should check that the top third of the soil is dry to the touch, otherwise, you run the risk of overwatering.”

Signs of an overwatered Christmas cactus include limp leaves which will start to drop off.

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To help prevent overwatering, owners should mist the houseplant everyday.

Although a fairly simple plant to look after, they do have a few physical and cultivation problems such as shrivelling and scorch.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) explained: “Shrivelling of the stems can be caused by the plant being in a too hot and sunny situation. However it is often due to a root deterioration caused by over or under watering.

“Scorch discolours and damages the stems and is caused by the plant being placed in a situation that is too hot and sunny.

“These are not desert cacti and would naturally grow in woodland in dappled shade.”

They also may experience problems like non-flowering or late flowering as well as flower bud dropping if overwatered.

This is a great way to help it keep its humidity levels high, without overwatering.

The expert also shared top tips on how to look after other common indoor plants, such as the snake plant.

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She explained: “Snake plants are dormant during the winter and therefore do not grow.

“During this time, you should place them in a safe area, away from any windows or radiators, as they do not thrive in extremely hot or cold temperatures.

“If your plant is placed in a dim-lit area, then you should consider hanging artificial lights over the top of the plant.

“When it comes to watering a snake plant, you should actively avoid overwatering to prevent root rot and pest damage.”

According to the gardening expert, the houseplant can go a month without watering.

Owners should not stick to a strict routine when watering them.

Samantha added: “Instead you should check the soil with a moisture metre and only decide to water them if the top two inches of soil are bone dry.

“Snake plants typically only require diluted fertiliser, however, in the winter you should avoid feeding them altogether while they are in their dormant period.”

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