September Plant

September 25th, 2010

Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus truncatus)

Christmas Cactus -Schlumbergera Species

Of course, this should really be the plant of the month for December, but here in Melbourne it flowers towards the end of winter and into early spring.  In fact, it tells of the beginning of the spring and is a welcome patch of colour for the end of our winter months.  The Zygocactus is a Forest Cacti and in its home in Brazil are found attached to trees in woodlands and jungles.  So it is not surprising that they are so different in form and requirements form the spine-covered desert cacti.

Forest Cacti

Perfect for hanging baskets it has leaf-like stems and a trailing growth habit.  Flower colours include pink, mauve, purple, orange and red.  The plant needs short days and long nights to start flowering, a bit like me really.

Cuttings root easily.  After it has flowered you can take stem cuttings in the summer.  They really don’t mind if you forget to water them, in fact they prefer to be a little on the dry side and it is only once they begin to flower that they need a little more frequent water and a little liquid fertiliser, say worm poo, but at about half the strength of what you use for other plants. 

Forest cacti – perfect for adding to that enchanted corner in your garden.

Happy gardening!


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