First acquaintance with Christmas cactus

Among the most popular cactus plants is, beyond all doubts, the so called Christmas cactus. The cactus collection that was handed over to me by my friend contained one of these plants, so I had to deal with Christmas cactus from the very beginning. Well, I’m frequently asked how to raise, care, maintain and make it bloom. Therefore, I made up my mind to dedicate a separate category to this cactus species. Moreover, this is one of my favourites.

Christmas cactusJust have a look at this marvellous and charming cactus! You can see it in bloom around the Christmas season (that’s why it has this name). Its beautiful intricate flowers range in color from yellow, salmon, pink, fuschia and white or there may be combinations of these colors. What a nice present it could be for a dear person on the Christmas eve!

Christmas cactus is included in the group of holiday cacti (it has been kept as a holiday plant since 1800’s) which also comprises the Thanksgiving cactus and the Easter cactus. In terms of taxonomy this cactus plant belongs to the subfamily Cactoideae (see Three cactus subfamilies). Its botanical name is Schlumbergera bridgesii, i.e. it belongs to the genus Schlumbergera and its species name is bridgesii. Breeders crossed Schlumbergera truncata with Schlumbergera russelliana creating the beginnings of the hybrid plants that we can see today. Let’s have a close look.

The height of Christmas cactus ranges between 18 to 24 inches and its spacing is about 24-36 inches. Its foliage is evergreen and smoothly textured. As I have already said, it blooms in early winter with flowers of different colors and a fancifull shape. Christmas cactus propagates from leaf cuttings. It can be grown indoors in the acidic or mildly acidic soil. Christmas cactus needs average amount of water but it should be watered regularly. It requires direct Sunrays but can be also kept in patial shade.

Next time I’m going to tell you about how to take care of Christmas cactus in detail. You will see it’s not that difficult to raise and keep this miraculous plant at home.