These are the easiest to grow of all leafy, and are remarkably floriferous. The form part of a segmented . Both these plants come from Brazil. Zygocactus is the true Christmas ; Shlumbergera a month or two later and is known as the Easter . They can be obtained with of delicate shades of white, pink, and flamingo reds and oranges. They are highly useful for providing colour in mid-winter and early spring.
- Growing season 22-24 °C (72-75 °F)
- Minimum winter 10 °C (50 °F)
Soil: Soil-lessto which 10% sand has been added.
Where to: It needs plenty of light but should be protected from hot sun. It likes a fairly even temperature.
Watering requirements: Use lukewarm water to keep the soil just moist to thumb pressure until the buds form; then increase the amount slightly as the buds swell, avoiding the leaves. Excessivecauses buds to drop. Never spray.
General care: Feed very occasionally with liquid fertilizer heavily diluted. It must be kept in the same position and never handled or moved. Carefully twist off dead blooms.
Rest: It rests when flowering is over. Reduce water. After six weeks, re-pot into compost with a little sandy grit added. Do not use too big a pot; this stimulatesgrowth and reduces the flowers.
When it looks sick:
- The leaves assume a corrugated appearance : This is the effect of under- . Water the plant but avoid over-watering.
- The flower buds drop : This happens if the plant is moved or rotated after the buds have formed. Cease at this point.
- Pale sickly looking leaves result from over feeding : Stop and water with soft water.
- Mealy bugs : Deal with them.