Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera russelliana

Holiday Cactus

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The species Schlumbergera russelliana is commonly known as Christmas Cactus. It is a frost-tender, epiphytic, perennial cactus that produces deep pink or sometimes red or white flowers in late autumn and winter, giving a wonderful Christmas display. Its showy, colourful flowers have different lengths of petals from the tips of the stems. It is best grown as a houseplant in a well-lit spot out of direct sunlight. As it is an epiphytic species, growing without the need for soil substrate on coastal rocks and trees, it is important to maintain moderate humidity. One of the ways this can be improved is by placing plants on stone or pebble trays filled with water.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Winter

Propagation

Cuttings

Take stem segments in spring and place upright in moist compost, sand and perlite mix. Push the bottom of the cutting into the soil, deep enough to keep it upright.

Special features

Attractive flowers

Indoor plant

Makes a great addition to nearly any indoor setting. Make sure they do get a night rest without light though, to ensure flowers forming.

Pot plant

A good container plant. If properly repotted, it can be passed on from generation to generation.

Special features

Origin

Central and South America

Natural climate

Temperate to Subtropical

Environment

Light

Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Sand, Loam, Compost

Soil PH preference

Acid, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Personality

Family

Cactaceae

Flower colour

Pink, White, Red, Multicoloured

Scent

None

Problems

Flower bud dropping is usually caused by fluctuating temperatures (too hot by day, too cold by night). However, overwatering can also cause flower buds to drop.

Related Problems

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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