“Holiday ” Cactus

“Holiday ” cactus beginning to bloom

On Wednesday, I had a photo of the first of my Christmas or Thanksgiving or Holiday or whatever else you want to call them cactus starting to bloom. Their genus is schlumbergera. Some people, including me, on occasion, call them zygocactus.

But to call them any sort of “cactus ” is really misleading. It’s about as misleading as attaching a holiday to the poor plant’s name! For example, the plant that I showed just beginning to bloom on November 11 of this year was in full bloom on the second weekend of October last year. So that would make it the “Indigenous Peoples/Veterans Day ” cactus. Hmm. I think not.

So if they’re not blooming for a specific holiday, what are they blooming in reaction to? Conventional wisdom says light and temperature but I have to believe that it’s strictly temperature. After all, the light doesn’t change from year to year. In fact, this year, to test that theory, I did exactly the same thing with these plants: putting them outside in the same spot and bringing them in at the same time and placing them back in the same windows.

And they are blooming a full month later–for the earliest among them. So I am going with temperature as the trigger. As soon as we had that very cold spell (and the snow) they set their buds.

At different latitudes, and in places without as much temperature fluctuation, your experience may be different. But that’s part of the joy of growing–and getting to know your plants.

4 thoughts on ““Holiday ” Cactus

  1. Mominthegarden November 15, 2020 / 7:15 am

    I agree, my plant doesn’t bloom for the holidays either! And I think it prefers more water than a cactus would.

  2. gardendaze November 15, 2020 / 7:51 am

    They definitely like some water, although I generally avoid watering tips. Even in my cool house, I water mine weekly–after checking the soil to be sure its dry–because most of them are pot bound so they dry quickly. Having them in cactus soil helps. I am going to talk about that Monday.

    But if you get them new from the store and they’re not pot bound–or if they’re not in well drained soil–watering them that much could be a disaster!

    It sounds like you definitely know your plants. So long as you do that, you can avoid most mistakes. I still kill things once in awhile. And then I usually post about it to try to say ” oops. Here’s what NOT to do”


  3. tonytomeo November 23, 2020 / 7:02 pm

    ‘Zygocactus’ works just fine. They bloom more randomly if not pampered.

  4. gardendaze November 23, 2020 / 7:07 pm

    Thank goodness because nothing gets pampered at my house!


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