Schlumbergera × buckleyi (T. Moore) Tjaden
Christmas Cactus, True Christmas Cactus, Holiday Cactus
Epiphyllum × buckleyi
Schlumbergera × buckleyi is a much-branched epiphytic cactus with fleshy spinless branches divided into flattened leaf-like segments with rounded marginal notches. The branches start outgrowing upwards, then sprawl downward over the container edges in pendant chains as they lengthen. The stem segments are up to 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long and 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) wide. The trumpet-shaped flowers with narrow petals develop on the ends of the stems. They are bright magenta to pink, bilaterally symmetrical, and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °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 sterile, well-draining potting soil.
Holiday Cactus can easily be propagated by cuttings. First, pinch off a stem section with 2 to 3 jointed segments. Let the cuttings dry for a few hours, then push them into a small pot with the same planting mix as the adult plant.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Holiday Cactus.
This succulent is a hybrid of Schlumbergera truncata and Schlumbergera russelliana, originally produced in the 1840s by William Buckley at the Rollisson Nurseries in England. Extensive hybridization and selection have resulted in more than 200 named cultivars, differing mainly in flower color, ranging from white through pink to fire engine red and even peach, yellow, and orange. Most cultivars bloom around Christmas, but some bloom earlier or later than Christmas.
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