Christmas Cactus / Schlumbergera

cacred2 (300x298)Schlumbergera ‘Red’ (syn. Zygocactus) – Christmas Cactus are usually sold in garden centres by colour rather than cultivar, and there are actually two species (or hybrids) involved – Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata / yellow pollen) and Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x bridgesii / pink pollen). Red varieties include ‘Kris Kringle’, ‘Thor Carmen’ and ‘Claudia’.

cacpeach (300x297)Schlumbergera ‘Peach or Gold’ (syn. Zygocactus) – A further distinction between Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus is that the latter blooms earlier (about a month) and has 2-4 teeth on the margin of each segment, while the Christmas Cactus is more rounded. Both are epiphytes native to Brazil. A few gold or peach varieties include ‘Xmas Flame’, ‘Peach Dancer’ and ‘Gold Charm’.

cacorange2 (295x300)Schlumbergera ‘Orange’ (syn. Zygocactus) – During the fall and winter keep your Christmas Cactus in bright light to full sun, but during the summer they prefer light shade. Once they have set buds in the fall, it is important to make sure that the soil medium is kept evenly moist without overwatering. A few orange varieties include ‘Xmas Fantasy’, ‘Thor Alice’ and ‘Malindi’.

cacwhite (290x300)Schlumbergera ‘White or Pale Pink’ (syn. Zygocactus) – Starting late winter to early spring (when growth enacts) you can fertilize your Christmas Cactus once a month (until late summer) with a water soluable fertilizer (20-20-20) mixed at half strength. Some gardeners also use Epsom Salts (1 tbsp. per gallon) to provide magnesium. ‘Thor Britta’ and ‘White Christmas’ have pale blooms.

cacpink (291x300)Schlumbergera ‘Bright Pink or Lavender’ (syn. Zygocactus) – You can propagate Christmas Cactus by taking cuttings (3 to 5 nodes long) from May to June and allowing them to dry or callus. These can then be stuck (about 1″ deep) in a 4″ pot filled with a sterile, well drained soil and covered with a plastic bag (to raise humidity). ‘Cyber Dancer’, ‘Xmas Charm’ and ‘Naomi are in this colour range.

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