Christmas Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Crab Cactus
Schlumbergera truncata (Haw.) Moran is the correct and accepted name for this plant commonly known as the Christmas or Holiday Cactus. It was named and described as such by Reid Venable Moran in Gentes Herbarum in 1953. It was first named Epiphyllum truncatum and described by Adrian Hardy Haworth in Supplementum Plantarum Succulentarum in 1819.
The genus, Schlumbergera Lem., was named and described by (Antoine) Charles Lemaire in Revue Horticole in 1858. Plants of the World Online lists nine accepted species of Schlumbergera.
One of my neighbors gave me this cactus in 2012. We had gotten acquainted because she had a really nice yard with lots of flowers. We also traded a few plants now and then.
Flowering is triggered by a combination of temperature and darkness. Naturally, the day length decreases as cooler temperatures come in the fall. Both are important to trigger buds to develop. Night temperatures between 55-65° F and around 12-13 hours of darkness is ideal. If temperatures rise above 90° F the buds could fall off.
This plant is tolerant of dry conditions and should not be over-watered, especially during the winter. Information online says to water when the soil is dry to the touch but should not be allowed to dry completely out. Watering should also be decreased during the winter months. Their main growing period is between April to September.
Origin: Southeastern Brazil
Zones: USDA Zones 10b-11 (35 to 40° F)
Light: Light to part shade
Soil: Well-drained potting soil.
Water: Water when soil is almost dry
The Schlumbergera truncata likes to fairly pot bound and doesn’t need repotted until after 3-4 years. There are several common names including Christmas, Cactus, Holiday cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus, etc. Some think they are all different plants so may have several, maybe because of the different flower color. However, they are all the same species. There are a few different cultivars available.
I gave this cactus to a friend when I moved from Mississippi back to the family farm in Missouri in 2013.
I went to Wager’s Greenhouse on September 13 to take a few cuttings of Stapelia gigantea. We trade plants off and on. Anyway, I looked around and saw she had a nice selection of Schlumbergera truncata. I had not brought any home from anywhere until now because I didn’t want one with pink flowers. Wagler’s had a selection of pink, white, orange and peach so I decided to bring home a peach…
I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10 because an “F” was in the forecast. The Schlumbergera truncata had already grown quite a bit.
I had the Schlumbergera truncata in my bedroom for a while but thought it would do better in the kitchen windowsill. Next thing I knew there were a few buds.
Hmmm… It doesn’t look like peach to me.
Well, as you can see, this is pink and not peach. I went back out to Wagler’s to see if they had any peach or white left and there was none. She had gotten several shipments in but she said this man kept buying most of them so she didn’t have any left. I told her the one I bought that was supposed to be peach turned out pink. Someone must have put the wrong label in this pot or they got mixed up somehow.
Even though their main growing period is between April and September, this one has grown A LOT since it flowered. It is going to need a bigger pot soon.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.