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The Christmas cactus (botanical name: Schlumbergera) offers countless flowers during the Christmas season and is then a real eye-catcher. The home of this elegant plant is in the tropical forests of Brazil. There, the Christmas cactus grows in the branch forks of large trees. The densely branched, mostly hanging shoots of the plant consist of individual limbs, each of which is 3 to 5 cm long and 2 to 3 cm wide.
- Leaves and flowers: leaf-like limbs, flowers similar to orchids
- Habitat: light to partially shaded, warm
- Watering: water abundantly, occasionally overspray
- Fertilize: every 14 days
- Substrate: soil based on peat
- Multiply: cuttings
- Repot: every year after flowering
The Christmas cactus has leaf-like limbs that are serrated or notched. The plant does not bear thorns. At the tips of the end limbs outgrow the flowers. The bloom time is in the winter, around the Christmas time, therefore also the name Weihnachtskaktus. Each flower reaches a length of 4 to 7 cm and lasts for several days. The petals are arranged like scales. A plant with many buds offers elegant flowers for several weeks. The flower color ranges from white to pink to red and purple.
The ideal location for a Christmas cactus is light to partially shaded and warm. The plant should not be exposed to strong summer sun, winter sun, however, does not harm him. In early autumn the buds form. Then the location may not be changed, as the buds otherwise fall off. In summer, the Christmas cactus can stand in a sheltered outdoor space.
The Christmas cactus needs a lot of water and should be watered regularly. However, the plant does not tolerate waterlogging and reacts with root rot. In the period after flowering, the plant can be kept slightly drier, but the pot bale should never completely dry out. Between the Wassergaben the upper earth layer can dry. Form new shoots in spring, more is poured again. In spring and summer, the Christmas cactus is additionally sprayed daily with water to increase the humidity. Always use lime-free water, preferably rainwater.
The Christmas cactus is fertilized with a full-bodied fertilizer every 14 days throughout the year. Exception: the time after flowering, in which less is poured.
The Christmas cactus is abundantly poured. Since the plant does not tolerate waterlogging, the substrate should be permeable. The best is peat-based soil. To increase the permeability, it can be mixed with sand (3: 1).
Christmas cacti are propagated by multi-membered cuttings. For this one cuts off a shoot in the spring or summer, which should consist of 2 or 3 limbs. If the interface has dried after a few hours, carefully insert the lower limb into the soil in such a way that the cutting stick stops. It can also be cultured several cuttings in a pot. This results in a denser growth pattern. After about 4 weeks, the first new shoots form.
The Christmas cactus is repotted every year after flowering. When the roots fill the planter completely, a larger one must be chosen. If there is still room in the pot, it can be used again. The soil is gently shaken out of the roots and the plant is then repotted with fresh soil. The Christmas cactus forms only a small root system. For a plant with a diameter of 30 cm, a pot with a size of 10 cm is sufficient.
- Height about 30cm
- Width about 50cm
- Temperature 16 - 24 degrees Celsius
- Filtered light
- Epiphytic cactus
Popular species and hybrids
Schlumbergera buckleyi is a cross between S. truncata and S. ruseliana. It forms sprout segments with rounded notches and ends and blooms in bright pink in early winter.
Schlumbergera truncta, syn. Zygocactus truncatus bears deeply ridged, flattened segments with claw-like spurs on top. The branched, half overhanging shoots are 30cm long. Pink to deep red, 4- 7,5cm wide flowers with bent flower petals unfold from mid-winter.
Care: The Christmas cactus loves a location with filtered light and 16-24 degrees Celsius. In order to stimulate the flowering, the plant is placed in a room which, if possible, is no longer illuminated after dark. Pour plenty and give a potassium-rich fertilizer every 2 weeks.Pour moderately after flowering until rest. After budding, the plant should not be rearranged, otherwise the buds will fall off.
Propagation: Through sprout cuttings on the Christmas cactus
Pests and diseases: Improper watering can cause problems.
Learn more about cacti such as the silver torch cactus, the Bischhof hat, prickly pear and succulents.