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 cactus. 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 sameand never handled or moved. Carefully twist off dead blooms.
Rest: It rests when flowering is over. Reduce water. After six weeks, re-pot intowith a little sandy grit added. Do not use too big a pot; this stimulates growth and reduces the flowers.
When it looks sick:
- The leaves assume a corrugated appearance : This is the effect of under-watering. 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.