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Schlumbergera gaertneri

Previously known as:

  • Hatiora gaertneri
Phonetic Spelling
shlum-BER-ger-uh gert-NER-ee
Description

Easter Cactus is an epiphytic house plant that needs light shade and well-drained soil.  It tolerates dry soil 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 to its stem segments.  The Easter Cactus is less popular and much harder to find for sale.  It is more finicky than either of its cousins dropping stem segments if it is over or underwater.  Plant it in a bright but not direct sun window in moist well-draining cactus potting soil.  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.  To get knock out flowers move the plant outdoors in the summer to a protected shady location. This will harden up the new growth and help the flower buds form.  Move it back indoors in the fall.  The Easter Cactus does not form its flower buds until the following year around February-March when the days start getting longer.  The plant will typically bloom between late March and May.


Quick ID Hints:

  • Cladophylls elongate, crenate
  • Leaves soft, brown bristle-like
  • Flowers broad diameter, short-tubed, scarlet

 

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

More information on Schlumbergera.

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Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#perennials#succulent#epiphytic#interiorscape#low maintenance#pet friendly#herbaceous perennials#long lifespan#fantz#cactus#Christmas decorations#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#perennials#succulent#epiphytic#interiorscape#low maintenance#pet friendly#herbaceous perennials#long lifespan#fantz#cactus#Christmas decorations#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Schlumbergera
    Species:
    gaertneri
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    S. Brazil
    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 Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a, 12b, 12a
  • 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, 1.5-3" diam., tube short; perianth numerous, intense scarlet, stamens inserted at base of 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. Cladophylls flat, oblong or elliptic, truncate, 1.5-2.5 x .75-1", 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
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil