Want to Grow Schlumbergera? You Must Read This

Want to Grow Schlumbergera? You Must Read This

The schlumbergera is the plants from the rain forest. They are also known as the Christmas cactus, named after the famous cacti breeder Frederic Schlumberger himself. Why Christmas cactus? It's because of the big and bell-shaped blooms which can mainly be seen during Christmas time. The cacti species are generally quite resilient. To cultivate the plant in your house, you need to fulfil some of the requirements. There are different species associated with the Schlumbergera like the schlumbergerakautskyi, schlumbergeraopuntioides, schlumbergera truncate. 

They are from the species-rich family of cacti. The original occurrence of this plant is from Brazil. The plant can grow and have a width up to 30 cm long. They can have different forms like shrubby and branched. They generally bloom in different colours like white, rose, yellow, red which blooms from November to December.

Popularly known as Zygocactus

The schlumbergera Christmas cactus is a fascinating plant. They are often called the zygocactus plant. The most attractive fact about this plant is that the shoots of the plant are segmented into segments. One can easily plant the Christmas cactus in their living room once they meet their needs. They do like sunny locations, but it’s a myth that they can only thrive in sunny places. They like bright light but cant tolerate direct sunlight. Especially the afternoon sun – they can damage the leaves of the plants. They like warmth and humidity. So you can plant them on a bright terrace during the summer. You can also put jars filled with water around the plant or consider having an indoor fountain. This does help in increasing the humidity. The substrate of the plant should be permeable and humus-rich. Ensure that you use cacti soil and alternatively use the flower soil mixed which is often mixed with clay granulate or sometimes sand.

Thanksgiving cactus propagation

The cactus schlumbergera can be propagated easily if followed by some simple steps. Starting from seed cultivation to stem cutting. There are a lot of ways one can propagate the Thanksgiving cactus.

When it comes to Christmas cacti, you need to have some patience when you want to grow your plant from seeds. You gotta start by extracting the seeds. As not every plant from the schlumbergera family can fertilize, one would need more than one plant to get germinable seeds. You need to lightly dust the pistil of every bloom with a hairbrush to start. Remember that the plants which are bred with cuttings, cant be used for pollinating mothers. So, after you observe the capsules getting ripened, extract the seeds and store them in a cool and dry place. It would take a few weeks. You can use a miniature conservatory to quicken germination. Or a clear foil that is perforated and which can be stretched over the whole vessel can also be used. You can use toothpicks to help avoid contact between the foil and the soil used for cultivation. Remove the material once every day to prevent mould. It can take a lot of months until you observe the first green shoots appearing. Don’t let the substrate dry out. Put the plants in individual pots once they reach a height of about 5 cm.

Propagating the schlumbergera plant from cutting isn’t as complicated as seed cultivation. Firstly, you need to cut several parts from a mature plant with a sharp knife. Ensure that the cacti are dry enough and kept in a newspaper in dark for about 1 or 2 days. You can then observe the root formation as the cacti would slowly develop new segments. The young plants should then be moved and piqued to a new vessel. Don’t get them exposed to sunlight directly. Slowly allow the same. Place the cacti at a distance of 60 cm near a window. Minimize the distance so that they get in contact with the sunlight, to prevent leaf damage.

Flowers on Christmas cactus

The schlumbergera care needs to follow a few rules. One can then easily see their zygocactus flowers blooming. Remember that the plant should be receiving dark and cool treatment for about 6 to 8 weeks, then the buds would start forming. It would usually take up to 12 weeks then the blooms would start appearing. The plant can be relocated then. The next thing you need to do is move the Christmas cactus to a sunny spot, make sure the area is draft-free. Remember that they don’t like direct sunlight. The more bright and indirect light they receive, the more they bloom.

Proper care gives more blossoms

You can increase watering during the blooming period, the amount depends on light and temperature conditions. The plant, with the right care, can bloom flowers several times every year. You can enjoy the lovely flowers and make your place look more attractive.

Christmas cactus sunlight

The Christmas cacti need bright and indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can burn them, so you need to provide them with enough filtering and shade so that their leaves don’t get burnt in the afternoon sun. you can also plant them indoors, just put them near a south or west-facing window. You can use a sheer curtain to provide the filtering.

Christmas cactus blooming in spring

Unlike most of the other cacti, the Christmas cactus can bloom again in the spring – they need to be given the short-day condition for that. Just make sure they receive about 12 to 16  hours of darkness each night. They need cooler temperatures and longer nights for this. You can try placing them in the east-facing windows for this.


Known as false Christmas cactus

They also go by the name of false Christmas cactus. The Schlumbergeratruncata are endemic to the small coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. The natural habitats are the tropical and subtropical moist forests. One of the parents of the houseplants is the Christmas cactus or the Thanksgiving cactus. They resemble the species of the genus Schlumbergera. They have leafless green stems that themselves act as photosynthetic organs. The stems of the plant are generally composed of strongly flattened segments. They have 2 or 3 teeth of varying shapes along the edges and at the ends as well. The ends of the stems of these plants are not pointed, but ‘cut-off’.


Known as Easter Cactus

Formerly known as the Hatioragaertneri, it is a species of the epiphytic cactus. They belong to the tribe of Rhipsalideae which is from the subfamily of Cactaceae. With the hybrid of the S. rosea, they are popularly known as the Easter cactus or the Whitsun cactus. They grow on trees or the less often rocks especially in the sub-tropical rainforests. As they mature, they develop into further branching pendant leafless shrub that has a woody base. The stems of this plant are made of segments – most of these are flattened and have photosynthetic organs in them.

Schlumbergera soil

The ideal potting soil for the plant should contain a high proportion of organic matter like peat moss or some well-decomposed compost. You need to add coarse sand and aquarium gravel – this can provide the necessary drainage system. You can also visit your local store and ask them for the cactus potting soil.

Schlumbergera varieties

Schlumbergera exotica “Knuth”

Segmental shoots with 3 to 4 sides

They have segmental shoots and they are generally 3 to 4 sided. The shoots can reach a height of about 6 cm. they bloom rose-coloured blossoms during the winter season.


Rose-coloured flowers

These Christmas cacti also bloom rose-coloured flowers. They are much more sensitive than the other varieties.

Schlumbergera truncate

Shoots tend to bend downwards

They are one of the most popular varieties. The shoots of these plants can bend downwards with an increase in their size. This exotic plant has got pink blossoms.

Schlumbergera “Passadena”

Hybrid white flowers

They are hybrid species and grow beautiful white flowers.

Schlumbergera pronunciation

The phonetic spelling would be ‘Sch-lum-berg-era’.

Schlumbergera care

The plant likes bright and indirect sunlight and prefers staying root bound, so plant them in pots. Because you might need to move them to warmer places in the winter. Remember that the drainage system should be good enough so that water doesn’t concentrate in the pot. You can use special cacti fertilizer between April to August. Don’t fertilize after August. Regularly water the plant from March till the end of August. Use lime-free water. You can use a spray bottle for the same.

Schlumbergera benefits

The plant can release a good amount of oxygen during the night as well. This can enhance your sleep quality and help you fight many breathing problems. The plants also help you fight stress and anxiety. They also hold medicinal value and can help soothe and relieve pain.

What do Christmas cactus buds look like?

Christmas cactus bud

Do Christmas cacti like to be root bound?

Yes, they like to stay root bound, so plant them in a pot.

Why are the leaves on my Christmas cactus limp?

This is because the plant isn’t receiving enough water. Refer to Schlumbergera care to make sure that the plant gets enough water. Too much direct sunlight can also be one of the reasons, ensure that they get indirect sunlight. Also, ensure that there is a proper drainage system in the pots, so the excess water can get drained away.


How do you care for Schlumbergera?

Provide the plant with bright and indirect sunlight. Ensure that there is proper drainage in the pots. Move them to warmer places in the winter season and water them regularly in the summer.

How often do you water a Christmas cactus?

The amount varies with temperature and humidity, but you need to water them once you sense the soil getting dry.

How often does a Christmas cactus bloom?

They are prolific bloomers and each of the flowers can last 5 to 7 days. They generally bloom during November and December. Some of them can re-bloom in February.

Is a Schlumbergera a Christmas cactus?

Yes, schlumbergera is a Christmas cactus.

How to force my Christmas Cactus to bloom?

Maintain an optimal temperature of about 65 degrees. Keep the soil evenly moist and provide them with about 12 to 16 hours of darkness every night.

How to plant a Christmas cactus?

Take cuttings of about 1 to 4 segments and let them sit in a dry and cool place for about 3 to 4 days. Plant them in the soil about an inch deep. Water sparingly until the roots develop.

How to take care of Poinsettias (Christmas starflower)?

Give them about 6 hours of bright light. Don’t feed them direct sunlight.


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