December 12, 2015

Plant of the Month Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)



I've written about my Christmas Cactus before and I'll give you links below about how to easily propagate them. For this post I just want to give you a few facts to help you know them a little better.

The ones most of us grow is actually a Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) that blooms in November or early December and is usually available in retail stores along with the Poinsettia. The true Christmas Cactus is Schlumbergera x buckleyi, a hybrid produced in the late 1840's in England. I've never found one of these but I'm going to search and see if I find one for sale soon. I'll report about that if I do.

I grow several colors, Red, Pink, White and I have a gold that is not in bloom right now so I don't have a picture for this post. I keep them in pots and put them outside on my porch and deck in the semi-shade every spring as soon as the temperature rises above 60 and there is no danger of frost. I water them when I think to do it - they are O.K. with dry. Before our first frost and when I know it's going to stay below 40° I bring them into the house or greenhouse. In the house they are near a sunny glass door. You can see the sun streaming from the door in the picture here. 

Both of these are red flowering. About two or three weeks after bringing them in, I start to see tiny buds forming on the tips of the branches. Soon they will start to grow and open. Mine bloom continuously for weeks! The trick to blooms is that summer outside! 

Don't over water these, over watering can cause spider mites. They are not true cactus so don't let them stay totally dry for long. If their leaves get swiveled up and droop - They need a drink.

Below are pictures of the pink ones and the one with the while blooms. I think the white may be my favorite. For my post about propagating Christmas Cactus click here .


White Flowering
Red Flowering



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