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Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) Houseplant Care


 
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James Kilkelly, was GPI.
Rank: Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:41 pm    Post subject: Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) Houseplant Care Reply with quote

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) Houseplant Care

Christmas is coming, there is just no way of getting away from this fact with our televisions and radios beginning their yearly deluge of seasonal ads.
This article submits to Christmas fever with a beautiful seasonal houseplant.

That houseplant is the Christmas cactus or to give it its full Latin name Schlumbergera bridgesii.
To be quiet honest, for the majority of the year the Christmas cactus is a drab looking specimen with green segmented leaves whose joints are rather fragile.
Then, out of nowhere in the month of November the plant begins to produce buds at the tip of each stem.
These buds swell to produce stunning blooms whose unreal appearance cause many people to wonder if the plant is a manmade reproduction.
Depending on the particular variety of Christmas cactus these blooms can vary from pure white to dark red with every shade of pink in between.

Depending on how many callers visit your home over the holidays, you may receive a Christmas cactus as a decorative gift.
This gift will usually be in bloom, but as for whether these flowers remain for long or whether the houseplant thrives and blooms again the following Christmas is up to you.


Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) plant, photo / pic / image.
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By following the tips below, your Christmas cactus will brighten many winters to come.

Christmas cactus indoor care
Temperature and light.
The Christmas cactus thrives and retains its blooms much better in a cooler environment. Keep it well clear of radiators, fireplaces, and other contributors to draughts of warm air that cause buds and blooms to drop.
A bathroom such as a utility bathroom without a shower is an ideal cool location.
Position the plant where it will receive some natural sunlight (morning sun is best), but avoid placing it on a windowsill in direct strong sunlight.
Excessive direct sunlight can brown or burn the leaves and lead to poor blooming.

Watering and feeding.
Unlike its desert inhabiting relations, the Christmas cactus actually prefers a slightly moist soil. How moist is moist?
Well, if you pop your finger into the plants top layer of compost and you find the first inch of the soil is beginning to dry out, you should water the plant thoroughly.
Instead of following a strict schedule of watering once a week, what you should be doing is checking the compost for moisture weekly and watering as and when required.
This method will prevent you over-watering the plant to the detriment of its health.
When you first receive your Christmas cactus, it will have a supply of feed in its compost to sustain it throughout the festive season.
Come the New Year, the addition of a feed specially developed for cacti or even the commonly available "Baby-bio" is all that is required each month up until the end of October.
Then in November, add an indoor plant food high in potash to boost that unreal flower production.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Rhipsalideae
Genus: Schlumbergera

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Last edited by James Kilkelly, was GPI. on Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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barremic
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Rank attained: Rowan Tree


Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 143
Location: Dublin

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi GPI,

Can you advise as to what is the best way during the summer to care for them if you put them outside. I know someone in Cork who puts the whole pot outside for the summer, and the plant is nearly 30 years old.

I am in Dublin, do they need much water/ sun etc outside?

Thanks
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James Kilkelly, was GPI.
Rank: Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:31 pm    Post subject: Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) outdoors. Reply with quote

You can indeed move your Christmas cactus plant outdoors during the summer, but follow a few rules.
Locate the plant away from strong direct sun.
Also locate away from strong breezes as the segmented leaves are prone to breakage.
Keep the compost in the pot slightly moist, not wet and check for watering every 3 days or so.
Bring it indoors once the temperatures start to drop.

Hope your Schlumbergera enjoys its trip. Smile

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http://www.allotments.ie/ Ireland's allotments.
On Twitter... http://twitter.com/Allotments

Garden Consultation & Design.

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