The origin of the Christmas cactus is entrenched in hot, tropical climates in Brazil, which heightens the mystery. Christmas cacti are a member of the Schlumbergera family and get their name from the season in which they bloom in the Northern Hemisphere. They bloom in their native area from April to May, hence the popular name is meaningless. Because of their clawed limbs, they are known as crab cactus in Europe.
The primary Schlumbergera species number six. Several of these have the label “holiday cacti in commercial manufacture.” These are forced to bloom between September and February and are then sold as gift plants during Thanksgiving and Christmas, hence earning the names Thanksgiving cactus and Christmas cactus. The name of the genus is a tribute to French botanist and exotic plant collector Frederic Schlumberger. Allen Cunningham found the group of holiday cacti in the early 1800s, and by the 1900s, there were a number of hybrids.
These were included in Christian holiday customs since Thanksgiving and Christmas fell during their blossoming seasons.
What stands for the Christmas cactus?
Symbolism. Schlumbergera has no recognized significance, but given that it may thrive in a home environment for 20 to 30 years, we believe it is a good representation of loyalty.
What kind of cactus is Christmas cactus?
Despite what its name suggests, the plant is not a genuine cactus and is not as drought-tolerant. It is a succulent plant, though, and its leaves can hold a respectable amount of water. In addition to being well-liked holiday gift plants, Christmas cacti are frequently a point of contention among gardeners.
Are Christmas cacti seasonal bloomers?
Understanding the qualities of the Christmas cactus is vital before getting into the specifics of how to bloom this plant. Thanksgiving or holiday cactus, sometimes known as Christmas cactus. Despite being identified as “Compared to its relatives in the desert, the Christmas cactus requires drastically different maintenance. This plant thrives in more tropical environments because it is a forest cactus. They favor richer, more organic potting soil, as well as bright, indirect light. Don’t allow their soil to become very dry because they require more water than other succulent plants.
Fall is when they blossom, usually in the first few days of November.
The   “Three things are necessary to get them to bloom: little watering, light, and temperature.
Is the Christmas cactus the subject of a tale?
The genesis story of the Christmas cactus is a lovely one (Schlumbergera russelliana). The Christmas cactus is endemic to Brazil, where the legend is claimed to have originated.
A young child who lived in the jungle pleaded to God to send him a small Christmas sign to celebrate in his hot and muggy environment. He prayed more and more as Christmas got closer, but nothing changed. He stepped outside of his hut on Christmas Day to discover that the jungle had suddenly bloomed with flowers; the cactus growing on the branches of the nearby trees had all begun to bloom at the same moment. Additionally, because of their tendency of crying, they reminded me of Christmas bells. Another Christmas myth was thus created.
Despite how endearing the mythology may seem, it isn’t very plausible. Because Brazil is in the southern hemisphere, when the days are long at Christmas, Christmas cacti bloom when the days are short. In fact, the Christmas cactus blooms in May rather than December, lighting up the coastal jungle in Brazil. Because of this, Brazilians frequently refer to our Christmas cactus as a “flor de maio” (May flower)!
How long is the lifespan of a Christmas cactus?
During the holidays, the Christmas cactus may be seen everywhere, and with good cause. It’s a blooming succulent that requires little maintenance, produces lovely blooms, and, with the right care, can last up to 100 years! That is correct! This plant may endure for a long time, bringing color to your holidays for many years. For a plant that is as cheap and uncomplicated as the Christmas cactus, that’s a fairly great investment!
When someone presents you a cactus, what does that mean?
Cactus is a typical indoor plant and a member of the Cactaceae family of plants. This succulent is well recognized for being thorny and for having the ability to store water, both of which enable it to thrive in harsh environments that are both dry and hot.
You may have heard that cacti don’t require maintenance, that they don’t require watering, or that they don’t flower. All of them are untrue! Cactus plants have several excellent features, but these are obscured by the stories surrounding them.
Cactus Plants Do Not Need To Be Watered
Although cactus or cati plants can go for weeks without water, this does not mean that they should never be irrigated. A cactus plant will survive without water because it stores water, although it might not grow. Wait until the earth is completely dry before watering your cacti. Additionally, because each cactus is unique, they all require a varied amount of irrigation.
All Cactus Grows Only In Places With Hot Climate With No Winter
The winter season is a given in all climate zones. Because of this, it is incorrect to claim that cacti can only be found in hot climates. For instance, in Northeast Brazil, the coldest month’s average daily temperature is substantially higher than 0 degrees. But there are numerous cactus species in this area. The majority of cactus plants require full sunlight while they are growing. Some cactus plants, however, require indirect sunlight in order to keep their leaves from burning. Cactus plants must be kept in a location with light throughout the winter, where the temperature must not go below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cactus Plants Are Indestructible
Despite the fact that they can withstand the warmest conditions, they are nonetheless fragile and require attention. The best way to care for cactus plants is to pot them in the correct, grittier potting soil, to avoid overwatering them, and to protect them from cold. Your cactus plant will die too soon if you overwater it. Cactus plants can live up to 10 years, and occasionally much longer, with proper care.
Cactus Plants Have A Slow Growth & Do Not Bloom
One of the most prevalent myths involving cactus plants is this one. Some cactus plant species can grow 15 cm or more every year. Typically, these cacti are ideal for hanging pots. On the other side, certain cactus plant species bloom with lovely blooms. If you take good care of your cactus plant in the spring and summer, it will bloom with magnificent white, red, orange, pink, or blue blooms.
Cactus Plants Should Not Be Gifted
Since cactus plants are prickly, it is generally believed that giving them as gifts is bad. Giving cactus as a present is said to indicate negative intentions. One of the most prevalent myths is this one. The symbolic meaning of cacti is not bad at all, just as the symbolic meaning of flowers and other flora. Cactus plants stand for tenacity, perseverance, and toughness. Giving a cactus plant as a gift conveys the message that the recipient is a strong, persistent fighter who never gives up. According to Native American culture, giving someone a cactus as a gift is a meaningful way to show them how much you care because the plant stands for warmth, safety, and maternal love. Giving succulents as a present is said to shield you from any bad karma and calamities. So, giving someone a cactus can actually be a really smart idea if you want to keep them in your life forever.
Who would have thought cacti could be so fascinating? Never judge a book by its cover, as they say.
What three varieties of Christmas cacti are there?
Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus, and Easter cactus are the three popular holiday cacti, each of which is called after the season in which its blooms occur. All three are straightforward to cultivate and have comparable growth patterns and maintenance needs.
Today’s holiday cactus variations are available in magenta, pink, scarlet, as well as yellow, white, orange, purple, salmon, and apricot, however these well-known cacti are typically only available in red-hued hues. The Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti are tropical rain forest species, while the Easter cactus is indigenous to Brazil’s natural woods. All three are endemic to Brazil.
Is it acceptable to prune a Christmas cactus?
Pruning. After it has finished blooming, you can prune your Christmas cactus to make it larger and bushier, but never after late spring. Simply pinch off one or more of the parts to trim the plant. If you want to grow more plants from them, replant them in different pots.
Can you eat Christmas cactus?
Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Cactus In the coastal mountains of southeast Brazil, there is a small genus of cactus called Schlumbergera that has 6–9 species of cacti.
In settings that are often dark and humid, plants grow on trees or rocks and might look very different from their desert-dwelling relatives.
Charles Lemaire founded the current genus Schlumbergera in 1858. The name honors Frdric Schlumberger, a Normandy chateau owner who amassed a collection of cacti.
Only one species, a plant identified in Brazil in 1837 and given the name Epiphyllum russellianum by William J. Hooker, was included in Lemaire’s new genus. Schlumbergera epiphylloides is the name Lemaire gave it (under the current rules of botanical nomenclature it should have been called Schlumbergera russelliana, which is its current name).
Lemaire recognized that his Schlumbergera epiphylloides was similar to a species that Adrian Hardy Haworth initially described as Epiphyllum truncatum in 1819, but he did not agree that the two species were in the same genus.
By incorporating Epiphyllum truncatum into Zygocactus truncatus, Karl Moritz Schumann established the new genus Zygocactus in 1890.
Zygocactus was later abandoned by him, and he later moved it back into Epiphyllum, but the generic name remained popular.
Lemaire’s practice of retaining Schlumbergera russelliana and Zygocactus truncatus in different genera was followed in 1913 by Nathaniel Britton and Joseph Rose.
Additionally, they added the Easter cactus as S. gaertneri to Schlumbergera, causing a long-lasting misunderstanding between these two genera.
Schlumbergera russelliana and Zygocactus truncatus were both included in the genus Schlumbergera by Reid Venable Moran in 1953. David Hunt later added more species, including those originally included in Epiphyllanthus, to create the current total of six distinct species plus a few hybrids.
The majority of Schlumbergera species have areoles at the joints and tips of their stems, which produce flowers that resemble leaf-like pads united together.
Two species resemble other cacti more with their cylindrical stems. Three species of the allied genus Hatiora were placed into Schlumbergera as a result of recent phylogenetic analyses utilizing DNA, albeit this modification has not yet been widely accepted.
Hatiora and Schlumbergera have long been confused. Species in the first genus often have zygomorphic tubular flowers, whereas those in the second genus have actinomorphic blooms with discrete tubes.
The three species of the Hatiora subgenus Rhipsalidopsis have been placed into Schlumbergera, according to DNA evidence, albeit this shift has not yet been widely accepted. The two genera are not monophyletic.
These cacti’s common names typically allude to when they bloom. They go by the names Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus, and holiday cactus in the Northern Hemisphere. Because they bloom throughout May in the Southern Hemisphere, the genus is known as Flor de Maio (Mayflower) in Brazil.
The Schlumbergera species can develop substantial shrubs with woody bases in the wild, growing either on trees (epiphytic) or on rocks (epilithic); a height of up to 4 ft has been documented for one species (S. opuntioides). They lack leaves, and their green stems serve as their photosynthesis organs. The segments that make up the stems can be classified into one of two types.
The segments in the majority of species are highly flattened (cladodes), consisting of a central core with two or, less frequently, three side segments “wings.
special cacti-specific features known as “Areoles then appear at the tips of the stem segments. Two species have stems that are less flattened, more cylinder-shaped, and have areoles that are distributed across the segments in a roughly helical pattern.
The flower buds develop in both situations in the areoles, which may include wool and tiny bristles.
The blooms are hung more or less horizontally, with the top side of the flower being different from the lower side, which is radially asymmetrical or zygomorphic, or they hang downward and are almost radially symmetrical, as in most species.
In addition, they are cyclical and only bloom in the fall, winter, or spring, hence the moniker “holiday cactus.”
Easter Cactus blooms in the spring, Thanksgiving Cactus blooms in the fall, and Christmas Cactus blooms around Christmas.
The angle of the flowers with the horizontal in species where the flowers are held up is typically quite constant. There are 2030 flowers. The outer tepals, which are shorter and disconnected, are those found closest to the flower’s base. Tepals may spread wide or may curl backward.
The longer inner tepals that are located closer to the flower’s tip gradually become fused together at the base to form a floral tube.
The distinction between the outer and inner tepals in some species gives the illusion of a “a flower inside of another. At the bottom of the floral tube, in a chamber, the flowers create nectar.
Despite being called a cactus, this plant (Schlumbergera bridesii or Schlumbergera truncata) actually has tropical origins and is a succulent. The Christmas cactus must adhere to a relatively rigid schedule in the fall in order to bloom throughout the holiday season, just like the poinsettia. The plant needs extended darkness for at least four weeks before flower buds may grow for Christmas blossoms.
Place the plant in a dark area or keep it covered (under a box or bag works good) for at least 12 hours each day in late September or early October. The light/dark cycle can end once the little buds start to develop, which usually takes three to four weeks.
Move the plant to its new location as the buds expand “avoiding sudden changes in temperature or illumination in the display area. While blossoming and budding, keep watering and feeding the plant.
When the top inch of the soil around your Schlumbergera cactus feels dry, water it. Consider the weather and time of year at all times. You might need to water your cactus every two to three days if it’s outdoors in a hot, dry region, especially if the plant has been exposed to the sun. The cactus may only require watering once each week if you maintain it indoors in a cool, humid environment. In order to encourage blossoming, water less frequently in the fall and winter.
Like other cactus species, the Schlumbergera cactus has a problem with over-watering. In addition to causing leaves to fall, overwatering can result in fungal rot illnesses like white rot. The white patches on the leaves of plants with white rot disease are easily identified.
Schlumbergera cactus cannot tolerate as much under-watering as other cactus species because it is a tropical, not a desert, cactus. A Schlumbergera cactus will wilt and lose its flower buds if it doesn’t get enough water. A Schlumbergera cactus cannot endure completely dry soil, unlike a desert cactus. Avoid overhead irrigation to prevent fungus issues.
Temperature and Humidity
Humidity promotes the Schlumbergera cactus’ greatest growth. For gardeners who live in dry climates or whose homes have dry indoor air, this is especially crucial. Placing a tray of water close to your plant is the simplest approach to provide humidity. The humidity is provided by the water evaporating into the air. Another method is to fill a dish with pebbles and water before putting the potted plant inside. Using a spray bottle to mist your cactus can also add humidity.
Bright, filtered sunshine is preferred for Schlumbergera cacti. Protect them from exposure to the southern or western sun if you’re growing them indoors.
They thrive in warm weather, particularly between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and will create buds when the temperature drops below 50 at night.
Problems With Schlumbergera
Don’t subject the Schlumbergera cactus to drastic environmental changes because they can cause bud drop. Ensure they are not near drafts or heat sources (vents, fireplaces, or televisions). Don’t let the plants go too long without water.
Use a well-drained potting medium and water only when the potting medium starts to dry out because excessive moisture in the soil can cause the stems and roots to rot.
If you want your Schlumbergera cactus to bloom over the holiday season, make sure to keep it away from artificial light at night from October through December.
Is It Poisonous?
Schlumbergera cactus fruits are not thought to be edible by humans, yet in the wild, birds would consume them and disperse the seeds. They are not classified as poisonous, though, and they are not on the list of poisonous plants.
There have been stories of dogs throwing up after eating a Christmas cactus, although in each instance the canines could have been ill for other reasons.
The majority of explanations include the dog having consumed something else while misbehaving, such as food or liquid. Just to be clear, tortoises have consumed this plant without any problems on our property.