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Easter Cactus Schlumbergera truncata

Other plants called Easter Cactus:

Previously known as:

  • Cactus truncatus (Haw.) Link
  • Cereus truncatus (Haw.) Sweet
  • Epiphyllum altensteinii Pfeiff.
  • Epiphyllum delicatum N.E.Br.
  • Epiphyllum elegans Cels ex C.F.Först.
  • Epiphyllum guedneyrii Houllet
  • Epiphyllum purpurascens Lem.
  • Epiphyllum ruckerianum Lem.
  • Epiphyllum ruckeri Paxton
  • Epiphyllum salmoneum Cels ex K.Schum.
  • Epiphyllum smithianum Marnock
  • Epiphyllum truncatum Haw.
  • Epiphyllum truncatum var. wagneri Rol.-Goss. ex Guillaumin
  • Epiphyllum violaceum Cels ex C.F.Först.
  • Zygocactus altensteinii (Pfeiff.) K.Schum.
  • Zygocactus delicatus (N.E.Br.) Britton & Rose
  • Zygocactus truncatus (Haw.) K.Schum.
Description

Succulent with showy flowers that bloom in the winter.  A tough houseplant that easily propagates.  

  • Site: Needs bright light, humidity (i.e. bathrooms may be a good place for them if there is light and a shower/bathtub for them to get humidity from), temperatures between 57-72 degrees Fahrenheit, and little water.  However, this plant is hardy in zones 10 to 12. Do not confuse this cactus with others because it will not do well in very hot environments.
  • Form & Size: Technically, the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) does not have a maximum height, but they tend to be small and then when they grow more, they weep instead of upright.
  • About:
    • What is it? The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) is epiphytic, meaning they grow on trees, other plants, or rocks but generally not in soil (however some are grown in soil).
    • Stems: The "leaves" of a Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) are technically not leaves: they are cladodes, a type of stem. The whole stem makes a bit of a Y shape. They are sessile (attached to each other, flattened, lobed, truncate, feel smooth, are a bit serrated in their margins, glossy but not glaucous, segmented (those segments are called phylloclades), thick, have hairs coming off of them on the end, and are roughly 1-1.5 inches each side. On the stem are areoles where outcomes hair and flowers.
    • Flowers: The Schlumbergera truncata's buds form on the terminal end of the stem. Flowers are zygomorphic (meaning if you cut them in half, you get 2 equal parts), showy, colorful, tube-like, perfect (have stamen and pistil), composed of tepals (since it is hard to tell what is a petal or sepal, people tend to say tepals) that form a corolla (just meaning that all the tepals look like one single part instead of separate parts), have pericarpel (the part below the pistil and above the stem), and tend to bloom in early winter (hence, its name, Christmas cactus, since it generally blooms around Christmas time). The entire plant's blooming for the year (not individual flowers) only stays about 5 weeks.
    • Could it bloom before the winter? Technically, Schlumbergera truncata is thermo-photoperiodic meaning that the blooming time recognizes to start by how much light and darkness it receives and what the temperature is at. For this plant, if the temperature is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit overnight or if the plant receives no light (including light bulbs) for about 14 hours, then blooming is likely to start.

Blooms twice a year, as days shorten (ca November in Raleigh) and as days lengthen (February). May be forced into blooming by exposure to night temperature of 40 degrees for several successive nights.

Quick ID

  • Cladophylls with acuminate teeth
  • Flowers elongated tube, zygomorphic
  • Flowers anthocyanin hued, apex strongly oblique
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#white#pink#showy flowers#yellow#houseplant#white flowers#succulent#pink flowers#red flowers#yellow flowers#epiphytic#tough plant#interiorscape#winter interest#high humidity#winter flowers#thermo-photoperiodic#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#white#pink#showy flowers#yellow#houseplant#white flowers#succulent#pink flowers#red flowers#yellow flowers#epiphytic#tough plant#interiorscape#winter interest#high humidity#winter flowers#thermo-photoperiodic#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Schlumbergera
    Species:
    truncata
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Brazil's rain forests
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    humidity
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Weeping
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    asymmetrical petals
    Flower Description:
    The Schlumbergera truncata's buds form on the terminal end of the stem. Flowers are zygomorphic (meaning if you cut them in half, you get 2 equal parts), showy, colorful, tube-like, perfect (have stamen and pistil), composed of tepals (since it is hard to tell what is a petal or sepal, people tend to say tepals) that form a corolla (just meaning that all the tepals look like one single part instead of separate parts), have pericarpel (the part below the pistil and above the stem), and tend to bloom in early winter (hence, it's name Christmas cactus as it generally blooms around Christmas time). The entire plant's blooming for the year (not individual flowers) only stays about 5 weeks.
  • Leaves:
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Technically, this plant does not have true leaves. What you think are leaves are stems. See stem section.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy tips
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The "leaves" of a Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) are technically not leaves: they are cladodes, a type of stem. The whole stem makes a bit of a Y shape. They are sessile (attached to each other, flattened, lobed and truncate, feel smooth, are a bit serrated in their margins, glossy but not glaucous, segmented (those segments are called phylloclades), thick, have hairs coming off of them on the end, and are roughly make a 1-1.5 inches each side side box. On the stem are areoles where out comes hair and flowers.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Humidity