Simple advice for Christmas cactus care. Temperature range and light requirements for Zygocactus plants. How to make a Schlumbergera bloom.
This Christmas cactus is about to burst into bloom.
Advice for Christmas Cactus Care
Christmas cactus care is easy as long as you understand the plant's cultural needs.
The large, showy flowers of the Zygocactus truncatus typically appear in late November or early December. This is why the plant came to be known as the Christmas cactus. The colorful blooms dangle from either the leaf joints or stem tips.
They are sometimes called leaf cacti as the stems consist of flat leaves joined end on end. Plants have a pendulous growth habit and reach a height of 6-12 inches but can spread 3 feet wide in time, if they are shifted into larger pots every 2 or 3 years.
In their native South American jungle habitat, these plants are epiphytes. Because of this, Christmas cactus care primarily consists of providing good drainage so that the roots can breathe.
I placed this Zygocactus in a tree in our yard to see if it would grow there.
As you can see, it did, but it's weaker than the ones inside the screen room. I think it is getting too much sun.
Pot the plants into pots just large enough to accommodate the root balls comfortably. Overpotting will lead to rot.
They like an acidic soil so use a peat-based mix. A cactus mix will work well, but any high quality potting mix can be used as long as it is coarse enough.
Clay pots will dry more quickly than plastic.
Consider where you are going to be growing your Christmas cactus and your watering habits before deciding what kind of container to use.
I use plastic pots as I keep my plants outside on my screen porch all summer and often forget to water them.
These plants handle drought better than deluge.
Keep them in high shade or part sun. Full sun may work if you live outside of the sun belt. Here in Florida, it's too intense.
Monthly feeding with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the summer will ensure a great flower show in the fall and winter.Zygocacti can tolerate temperatures into the high 20s F.
They require no winter rest period and may need a bit more water once you bring them into a heated house for the winter.
Mist them to provide the humidity they are used to. Store them in a cool room if you can. They will bloom for a longer period if they are kept below 70 degrees F.