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Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri

Previously known as:

  • Epiphyllopsis gaertneri
  • Hatiora gaertneri
  • Rhipsalis gaertneri
  • Schlumbergera gaertneri
Phonetic Spelling
rip-sa-li-DOP-sis GART-near-eye
Description

Easter Cactus is an epiphytic house plant that needs light shade and well-drained soil. It tolerates occasional drying, but overly wet soils will cause root rot. It blooms in the spring around Easter, hence the common name.

It is often confused with Thanksgiving (Schlumbergera. truncata) and Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) but you can tell the difference because the flattened stems have rounded scallops. Christmas Cactus has teardrop-shaped scallops and Thanksgiving Cactus has spiny, crab-claw-like edges on its stem segments. The Easter Cactus is less popular and less frequently offered for sale. It is more finicky than either of its cousins and drops stem segments if it is over- or underwatered. Grow it in a bright but not direct light, in a moist, well-draining cactus potting mix. It prefers high humidity so misting, putting a saucer with rocks and water under the pot, or placing the plant in a bathroom can be helpful. When it is actively growing fertilize it once a month. The plants can be placed outdoors in a shady location for the warm summer months. An outdoor "holiday" will harden the new growth and help the flower buds form. Move it back indoors, away from artificial lights (plants are daylength sensitive) in the fall. The Easter Cactus does not form its flower buds until the following year around February or March, when the days start getting longer. The plant will typically bloom between late March and May.


Quick ID Hints:

  • Stem segments (cladodes) elongate, crenate
  • Leaves inconspicuous, brown bristle-like
  • Flowers broad diameter, short-tubed, scarlet

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This plant may be susceptible to spider mites, aphids, and scale. Root rot and gray mold can occur. It is important to have good air circulation and humidity control. Scorched leaves can result from direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

More information on Schlumbergera.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Columbia'
    orange flower
  • 'Scorpius'
    bright red blooms
  • 'Sirius'
    white blooms
'Columbia', 'Scorpius', 'Sirius'
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#succulent#epiphytic#interiorscape#low maintenance#pet friendly#herbaceous perennial#fantz#cactus#Christmas decorations#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#perennial#long lived
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Columbia'
    orange flower
  • 'Scorpius'
    bright red blooms
  • 'Sirius'
    white blooms
'Columbia', 'Scorpius', 'Sirius'
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#succulent#epiphytic#interiorscape#low maintenance#pet friendly#herbaceous perennial#fantz#cactus#Christmas decorations#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#perennial#long lived
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhipsalidopsis
    Species:
    gaertneri
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    S. Brazil
    Distribution:
    Introduced into the Honduras
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Epiphyte
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Succulent
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Rounded
    Weeping
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Oblong, ca 0.5", red.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Funnelform-campanulate, 1.5 to 3 inches in diam., tube short, perianth parts numerous, intense scarlet, stamens inserted at base of the tube. It blooms in the spring, around Easter.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Soft, deciduous, brown, bristle-like. See stem section.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Cylindric, angled, segmented. Cladodes flat, oblong or elliptic, truncate, 1.5 to 2.5 inches long and 0.75 to 1 inch wide, weakly crenate (rounded scalloped edges). These round margins and the presence of bristles at the tips distinguish it from other species.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil