Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving (and Receiving) Plants for the Holiday Season

Christmas Cactus Plant

Christmas Cactus - Zygocactus truncatus

The Christmas Cactus is a beautiful, flowering type of forest cactus. In their natural environment, a forest cactus will attach itself to trees in wooded areas and jungles. So it is not too surprising that they are so different looking from their typically spine-covered desert cousins.

The Christmas Cactus is one of many popular plants to give or receive during the winter holiday season. If you know someone who loves plants, you might like to give them a beautiful Christmas Cactus for the holidays.

This beautiful plant is usually in full bloom when received as a gift. Zygocactus truncatus or Schlumbergera truncata are botanical names for the Christmas Cactus. It is called Christmas Cactus because it blooms between late November and mid-January.

When in full bloom, this is one beautiful plant. Flowers may be white, red, pink or purple.

This plant (similar to its close relative the Easter Cactus) has branching, arched stems made of leaf-like, flat segments. Each segment is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. The segments of the Christmas Cactus have a distinct, toothed edge, while the Easter Cactus has more of a scalloped edge. And, of course, the Easter Cactus blooms in April or May.

Although we don't typically use this plant as an interior landscape plant, we do often give them as gift plants to our wonderful, interior landscape customers during the holiday season.

If you receive one of these flowering, forest cacti as a gift, you may have a hard time inducing it to flower again. If you want your Christmas Cactus to flower again in the following year, you will have to follow a few rules. Provide a dry and cool resting period, do not move once buds appear and allow to harden outdoors during the summer. You will need to keep your plant in good light, also.

Here is the Christmas Cactus Schedule:

  • Mid November - mid January, Flowering Period. Water normally, minimum temperature of 55 degrees F.
  • Late January - March, Resting Period. Water infrequently, keep in cool temperatures, 55 degrees F.
  • April - May. Maintain regular watering schedule. Water thoroughly when potting media begins to dry out.
  • June - mid September, Hardening-Off Period. Place outdoors in a shady spot, protect from slugs, snails, earwigs, etc.
  • Mid-September - mid-November, Pre-Flowering Period. Move to a well lit location where you can keep it thru the flowering period. Keep potting media on the dry side and temperatures to the cool side until flower buds form. Then increase water and temperatures.
Now you are back to the first step, mid-November through mid-January, continue to water normally and maintain at a minimum temperature of 55 degrees F. Then start it all over again!!

Have a happy holiday season and give beautiful flowering plants to the plant lovers in your life. Thanks for reading this and I hope you have beautiful blooms on your Christmas Cactus next holiday season!

If you need any help with your indoor house plants, whether it is an indoor plant identification or house plant care assistance, come visit at PlantAndFlowerInfo.com ...Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. How to take plant care during holidays? Choose the pots; make sure there are holes in the bottom of your container to allow water to flow out freely, etc.


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