Name: Christmas Cactus
Scientific Name: Schlumbergera
These cacti are popular gifts around the holidays gaining its common names from the season when it is given. Native to Brazil these plants are easy to care for and usually only require a seldom watering and yearly feeding. The thin succulent leaves may color with lighting and temperature differences, gaining o losing its reddish hue. There are several different cultivars each with different leaf shapes and color of blooms.
Origination: Brazil, South-eastern coastal mountains
Recommended Uses: Ornamental
Height:10-12 in (25-30 cm)
Hardiness: zones: USDA 9 to 11
Flower Color: white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple
Maturity (if Applicable): n/a
Other Names: Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus, holiday cactus
Growing Instructions: Part shade, Low water.
Too much direct sunlight can be harsh, plants will tend to turn red near the edges with too much light, bright indoor light or diffused sunlight is best.
While Christmas cactus can tolerate periods of drought they will thrive with a weekly watering or two – as long as the soil has dried. Constantly soggy soil will promote root rot so good drainage is key. The best growing medium is standard cactus mix, something well-draining with a mixture of peat, sand, and perlite or pumice. Using pots that are shallow tend to do well due to not holding on to excess moisture. Avoid freezing temperatures.
If you have trouble getting your Christmas cactus to bloom, remember day length can affect this; continuous darkness for at least 12 hours is necessary to induce bud formation. A period of about 8 days with 16 hours of darkness at 61 °F (16 °C) has been shown to cause flower buds to form. Lower temperatures slow this process. The advice sometimes given to withhold water to produce flower buds has been shown to be incorrect.