Holiday Cactus


Holiday Cactus

The common holiday cacti (Thanksgiving Cactus, Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus) are composed of several closely related species in the genus "Schlumbergera" and the species "Hatiora gaertneri", (often called "Zygocactus" in older works). They are originally forest cacti, growing as epiphytes at elevations between 1000 and 1700 meters above sea level (3280 to 5575 feet above sea level) in the Organ Mountains north of Rio de Janeiro in southeast Brazil, South America (not to be confused with the Organ Mountains of New Mexico in the United States of America). They are called "Flor de maio" (May Flower) in Brazil.

Many modern holiday cactus cultivars are hybrids between "Schlumbergera truncata" and "Schlumbergera russelliana", first bred about 150 years ago in England.

*Holiday Cactus ("Schlumbergera & Hatiora" hybrids):
**Christmas Cactus, ("Schlumbergera bridgesii", "Schlumbergera x buckleyi", "Epiphyllum x buckleyi").
**Thanksgiving Cactus, Yoke Cactus, Linkleaf Cactus, Crab Cactus, Claw Cactus, ("Schlumbergera truncata", formerly "Zygocactus truncatus").
**Easter Cactus, ("Hatiora gaertneri" - formerly "Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri").

The joints of the plants are quite fragile and can break apart if the plant is in poor health. The flower buds' joints are especially easy to detach.

Other synonyms include "Epiphyllum altensteinii, Schlumbergera truncata" var. "altensteinii, Zygocactus truncatus" var. "altensteinii, Epiphyllum bridgesii, Epiphyllum truncatum" var. "bridgesii, Zygocactus bridgesii, Epiphyllum delicatum, Schlumbergera truncata" var. "delicata, Zygocactus delicatus, Epiphyllum ruckeri, Epiphyllum ruckerianum, Cactus truncatus, Epiphyllum truncatum".

Propagation

Holiday cacti can be propagated quite easily by removing a single segment and planting it a quarter of its length deep in a pot filled with slightly sandy soil (it also helps to put some kind of rooting hormone on the base of the cutting). Place the pot in a well lit area (but not direct sunlight) and keep the soil moist. The cutting should begin showing signs of growth after two or three weeks.

Care

Watering

The soil should be evenly moist for best growth, but they are intolerant to constantly wet soil and poor aeration. If outdoors, an established plant may only need to be watered every two or three days in warm, sunny weather; or every week in cool, cloudy weather.

Lighting

Christmas cactus will do best in bright indirect light. Long term direct sunlight can burn the leaves and stunt growth. If taken care of properly, a single planting can last for hundreds of years.

Flowering

Christmas cactus will create flower buds when subjected to cooler temperatures (10–14°C/50–58°F) for 6-8 weeks.Fact|date=December 2007

ee also

*"Rhipsalis salicornioides" - another easily cultivated forest cactus
*Cactus

External links

* [http://www.ag.auburn.edu/landscape/Hcactus.htm HOLIDAY CACTUS, Commercial Greenhouse Production]
* [http://www.denverplants.com/ezine/11_03.htm Christmas Cactus - Welcome to the Denver Plants eZine]
* [http://www.umass.edu/umext/floriculture/fact_sheets/specific_crops/cacti.html Commercial Production of Holiday Cacti]
*dmoz|Science/Biology/Flora_and_Fauna/Plantae/Magnoliophyta/Magnoliopsida/Cactaceae/Schlumbergera/|Schlumbergera
* [http://cactus.biology.dal.ca/paulS/christmas/christmas.html Recognition of Holiday Cacti] with sketches and photos from the [http://cactus.biology.dal.ca/index.html Cacti collection] at the [http://www.dal.ca/ of Dalhouse]


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