Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)
Schlumbergera truncata (Christmas cactus) is a cactus from the Atlantic forest of southeastern Brazil, where it grows on rocks and tree trunks and branches.
The popular name of this cactus varies with the local and specific season when it flourishs.
So it is called “Christmas cactus” in the northern hemisphere and “May flower” or “Easter cactus” in the southern hemisphere.
Plant profileCommon name: Christmas cactus
Scientific name: Schlumbergera truncata
Plant type: Cactus / Succulent
Height: 10cm - 50cm
Spread: 10cm - 50cm
Flower color: Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow
Season of interest: Autumn, Winter
Sunlight: Partial shade
Moisture: Well drained
Garden type: Patio & Container Garden
Planting type: Containers & Pots
This forest cactus and its hybrids are popular plants in pots and gardens all over the world due to their ease of cultivation and the size, shape and color of flowers, which are abundantly produced in a relatively short period.
The flowers can be several shades of pink or they can be orange, pale yellow, white or red.
When pollinated, the flowers they produce small fruits of 1 or 2 cm that acquire a strong pink color when ripe.
This plant can reach 30 cm in height, but has a relatively small root system, and can be grown even in pots with 10 cm in diameter.
It cannot withstand very low temperatures, growing well above 12°C.
Partial shade with good light. It can tolerate direct sunlight, but the plant can be harmed by high light intensity and high temperatures.
The soil must remain slightly moist. Excessive water can favor the appearance of diseases and the rotting of the plant.
After the flowering period reduce the frequency of watering and allow short dry periods.
Well drained, light and fertile.
Autumn or early winter. Flowering is induced by long nights. High temperature during flowering can cause flowers to fall.
Perennial plants. It is recommended to replant them in pots every three years.
Propagate Christmas cactus by cuttings which take root easily when planted in moist soil or by seed, which can be sown superficially in the soil. However, seedling growth is slow.