Christmas cactus plant ‘Schlumbergera truncata’. This great cactus flowers every Christmas, thus the common name! It is a beautiful plant that is so easy to care for and to propagate. Here are some of my #smallandgreentips
This cactus is found growing naturally in jungle-type woodlands attached to trees. Because they are used to semi shade under a tree canopy they prefer to be out of direct sunlight. They also like a bit of humidity so misting their leaves can help with this or sitting them on a gravel tray that is topped up with water.
You can repot this plant once a year or at least every 2 years to maintain healthy growth. Do this in Spring which will be the start of their growing season. Use a Cactus compost or a normal potting compost mixed 50/50 with perlite or grit. Make sure the new pot isn’t too big by choosing one that is only slightly larger than the one they are in.
To help them to bloom well in the winter time allow them to rest after their flowering period has finished. This will be from late January to March. Do this by moving them to a cooler room and reduce watering. Then during the growing season from April till September water them regularly again and keep them between 18-20 degrees. From mid September the flower buds will start to develop. During this time the daylight will lessen and the temperatures will reduce and so they will need a further rest period until the flower buds have clearly formed when you can increase the temperature and resume regular watering. Just remember to give them 2 resting periods to get lovely and prolific flowers!
With lighting it is happy in both low light conditions but it will flower more often if exposed to a brighter non-direct light. Avoid direct rays as this will scorch its leaves. Never let the plant sit in water as this will rot the roots. Feed them during the growing season only with a weakened houseplant liquid feed following the dilution instructions carefully.
Propagating and snipping
This is a really easy plant to propagate and share with family and friends! In May remove a section of the plant to include 2 to 3 segments, allow them to dry for a day or two. Insert these cuttings into a seed/cutting potting mix inserting them to about 1cm depth (too deep and they might rot), keep them warm and in a bright spot out of direct sunlight, water very sparingly and mist occasionally. They may take 3 weeks or more to root, check if they have by giving them a gentle tug to see if the roots have developed. When they have you can pot them into small individual pots.