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Schlumbergera opuntioides


Scientific Name

Schlumbergera opuntioides (Loefgr. & Dusén) D.R.Hunt


Epiphyllanthus obovatus, Epiphyllanthus opuntioides, Epiphyllum opuntioides, Zygocactus opuntioides

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Rhipsalideae
Genus: Schlumbergera


Schlumbergera opuntioides is a rare cactus with stems that look like those of an Opuntia. The stems are leafless, green and made up of distinct segments. Young segments may be relatively flat, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) thick. The segments become more cylinder-shaped as they age, as well as becoming more woody. The plant may form a shrub up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall. The flowers are pink to purple, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) in diameter.


USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

These plants are easy to grow and are often passed down through the generations. With Holiday Cactus, the million-dollar question isn't how to grow it, but how to make it bloom. With a little extra attention during the fall months, you can have your plants blooming for the holidays. Don't expose these plants to freezing temperatures! Despite their love of cooler temperatures, they are still tropical plants that won't withstand freezing conditions. They like about 50% to 60% humidity, which can be achieved using a pebble tray. Never place your Holiday Cactus near a heat register, exterior door or drafty window and keep it out of burning sunlight.

Don't fall into the trap of constantly repotting into a bigger pot. Holiday Cactus likes to be root-bound and repotting every 2 to 3 years (even back into the same pot) is plenty. If you repot, use a sterile, well-draining potting soil.

Holiday Cactus can easily be propagated by cuttings. Pinch off a section of stem that has 2 to 3 jointed segments. Let the cuttings dry for a few hours, then push them in a small pot with the same potting soil as the adult plant.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Holiday Cactus.


Schlumbergera opuntioides is endemic to the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil, where its natural habitats are humid forests and rocky areas.


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