As the name suggests, the Christmas cactus enchants with its delicate flowers at Christmas time. He is therefore a welcome guest in many a room. When cultivating the Christmas cactus, the location must be right, among other things.

Origin of the Christmas cactus

In its homeland of the Brazilian coastal forests, the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) grows as an epiphyte on large jungle trees. It thrives there in the shelter of the light leaf canopy of the trees. Here, too, some things have to be considered for a successful culture. The local cultivated Schlumbergera no longer has much in common with the wild forms, since it was created as a hybrid from various breeds, but makes similar demands on the location as the wild form:

  • bright to semi-shady
  • no direct sun
  • avoid blazing midday sun
  • loves morning and evening sun
  • Avoid temperatures below 10 degrees
  • Temperatures around 21 degrees during the day
  • 17 to 19 degrees at night
  • a little cooler in summer
  • no draft
  • sufficient humidity
  • no waterlogging
Note: Temperature also plays a role in flower color expression. At 15 degrees, a color change from yellow to pink can take place.

Warm preferred

It likes warm feet, but it should be noted that it does not find a place directly above the heater, as the roots are sensitive to high heat and damage can occur. The pot should stand on a cork coaster, especially on a stone or marble windowsill. Furthermore, the choice of location should be considered

  • no south facing window
  • ideal window to the east or west
  • Shading in strong midday sun

Once the right place has been found, frequent changes of location should be avoided. The Christmas cactus always follows the sun. If it is constantly moved around or just simply turned the pot, it would face the sun again. This can lead to damage, especially during flowering. Due to the changed incidence of light, the cactus sheds the buds or the flowers themselves before they open. The plant should therefore only be moved before or after flowering. By the way, with the right location and care, the Christmas cactus can live up to 30 years.

Soil well drained

A few words about the substrate. Of course, not only a good location is enough, but the soil is also responsible for healthy growth and the plant’s willingness to flower. Features should be

  • sandy to loamy
  • fresh to moderately moist
  • well drained
  • nutritious
  • no waterlogging
  • no lime
  • pH between 5.5 and 6.0

A mixture of is well suited

  • Cactus soil with clay granules or sand or
  • Garden or commercial potting soil mixed with sand
  • Mixing ratio 1 part sand : 4 parts substrate
Tip: The Christmas cactus is also ideal for hydroponics.

Moving outdoors

Although the Christmas cactus is very sensitive to cold, so it is not hardy either, it can confidently move outdoors in the bucket in the summer. The change of location can take place when the temperatures no longer fall below 10 degrees at night. However, it is advisable to slowly get him used to the temperatures before he completely relocates outdoors for the summer. To do this, he should initially only spend a few hours outside. In the case of a stay in the open air, he also makes the same demands as with culture in the room. The bucket should then be brought back into the house when the night-time temperature drops towards 10 degrees. This move serves as a rest for the Schlumbergera. Unlike other plants, it is not in winter, but in summer.

darkness required

In order for the Christmas cactus to form many buds, it needs darkness for about six weeks from the end of September/beginning of October. The Schlumbergera is a so-called short-day plant. It only forms buds when the days get shorter, usually from mid-September. Then the Christmas cactus also makes other demands on its location and care. A spot in a cool bedroom or other room would be ideal. he needs during this time

  • Temperatures around 15 degrees
  • reduction in watering
  • no fertilization
  • at least 9 to 12 hours of darkness daily
  • no more artificial lighting

Only when the first buds appear can the cactus become brighter again, put in a normal room and the temperature rise to 20 degrees. Also more has to be poured. These conditions can be maintained until summer when the plant moves outdoors.

Note: In the case of short-day plants, the formation of flowers always depends on the prevailing temperature and the length of the day.

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