Schlumbergera russelliana (Hook.) Britton & Rose
Epiphyllum russellianum (basionym)
Schlumbergera russelliana is a cactus with stems composed of strongly flattened segments, which have a small number of notches along their edges. Individual segments are up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide. The flowers hang downwards and are radially symmetrical, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) across. The tepals, which are of various shades of pink, are arranged in two groups, giving the appearance of a "flower within a flower." Plants flower in the spring.
Growing 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 planting mix as the adult plant. See more at How to Grow and Care for Holiday Cactus.
It is endemic to a small area of the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil, where its natural habitat is moist forest.
- Back to genus Schlumbergera
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