Holiday cacti are very easy to propagate. Cuttings of 2 or more segments are laid out to dry for about a day, then while maintaining the polarity of the plant, stuck in a peat-based potting medium which is kept slightly moist until rooting occurs.
However, contrary to what has been indicated on this page, most commericial cultivars are indeed patented.
Flowering occurs naturally when nights are long during the winter months. This is a tropical plant which must be protected from frost/freeze.
On Dec 3, 2012, hcall from Fuquay-Varina, NC wrote:
My Christmas Cactus is now a family heirloom and is over 100 years old. It was my Great Grandmothers and I can remember as a boy, seeing in on her front porch all summer. She would bring it inside at the end of October and it would be in full bloom every Christmas. I've had it now for about 25 years and it's survived 4 moves across country to ne homes. It's has 8 main woody stems that are 5 mm (1.5 in) in diameter, and the foliage is more than 1 m (3.5 ft) across. I've cut it back severly, twice since it's lived in my home. Waiting until spring and triming it back to the woody bark, I always leave about 20% of the foliage so it can produce food and begin to push out new growth. Making sure to water with some liquid fertilizer for the first summer after it's hair cut. It really invigorates the plant and keeps it healthy for the next 100 years. Great Grandma Trier's Christmas Cactus is now in our will. It will be passed on the the next generation when it's ready.
On Dec 6, 2010, Alexwtf_93 from Susanville, CA wrote:
first of all, to get this plant to bloom, dont bother with the whole 'light-dark/ limited day length thing' i grow it indoors in bright light, and when the weather is warm put it in a shady place outside and keep it well watered, when it gets below 40 degrees i put it in the same place it was in the house befor going outside, and i sometimes feed it whatever fertilizer i have ..with this type of care, i've got it to stay in bloom for almost 6 months... the plant is over 3 feet across and still growing, so i think it is very happy with the care-neglect i give it
On Oct 14, 2010, bitis from oxford United Kingdom wrote:
Someone up there said the leaves become red with too much light, this is not allways true, new leaves start off red...almost pink untill they are a certain size, well this is how mine behaves...
I am so suprised with this plant, my father has a 25 + year old one, which he places outside in the border every summer, then brings it back inside just before we start getting frosts, and i have never seen a christmas cactus with so many blooms, this one has pink blooms, and they are very very nice and also you can barely see the green when it does flower.
So i took 2 segments only from it, planted them with a tiny bit of rooting powder, this was about 3 months back..... the bottom segment was plants half way down...so only half of the bottom section was under the soil.
Now it has allready started developing the bark covered tree like stem, and is fanning out, each stem has 5 - 7 segments on it and they also have started to double up, amazing plant , very strong , maybe a little slow to grow, but its one of those you sort of ignore , then all of a sudden you look at it and it might be 2x as big , but my baby one has not got any buds on it yet but then heck its 3 months old
I will say this, they are very low maintenance, as long as you dont make the mistake of thinking it actually is a cactai, they seem to like quite a lot of water, but also they seem very hardy...considering its a tropical plant, mine is on the windowsill, and it gets quite a lot of sun but also quite a lot of cold air...
But the best part is how deceptive they are...lol, all year round they look a little boring i suppose, compared to many plants, but in winter its almost like they wake up shaking their little green fists and screaming "i will show YOU who is boring, check this out "
i 100% reccomend these plants to anyone....and i reccomend letting them dry out a little more than some people say , when they are very young, because this drives them to root deeper, and search for water, then when you do water it, and give it a little food it will soak it up and explode into growth, but i am no professional, i just get very lucky with all of my plants :)
My family planted this vine at our new home, in an area of they yard where nothing, not even weeds would grow. We planted it 5 years ago this spring, after a leaf here and there over the years I was going to pull them out this spring but decided not to. That was a good call, not sure if weather or water. However something happened and the vine exploded! The vine was so this and lush this summer, I have it now growing all along the fence. The number of bees, humming birds, and butterfiles have also exploded. Neighbors have come over to enjoy it and have also planted them. For flowers that need shade having them planted or hanging on a sheppards hook infront of the vine is a great way to sheild them from the sun. They may be slow to start but for color, privacy, and sun block for other plants this is a great vine!
On Sep 24, 2010, jskyieeyes3 from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
i started off with 2 small clippings of this plant that my neighbor had given me from one of his. (he has about 4 in hanging baskets that were all once one plant, and he just kept dividing it because it had gotten so big!) the clippings easily rooted in a small pot of soil, and i was pleasantly surprised when it bloomed last winter! i honestly didn't think it would yet, simply because they were two small clippings (only around 3 inches in length each), and so immature in their growth. i enjoyed the beauty of their blooms through january, and so much so that i went out and bought a big christmas cactus from home depot. =) my clippings produce purple-ish blooms, and the one i bought produces red blooms. i look forward to seeing both of them bloom again this winter, and they make attractive foliage plants the rest of the year. being a fan of cacti, this plant was right up my alley.. =)
On Nov 15, 2009, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:
I have put four of these in my border because they add great colour in the wintertime. They are just starting to bud now, and as long as we continue to get no frost, they will have large showy flowers by Christmas (aptly enough).
These are great to mix with Cyclamen, Primrose and Pansies.
These are fairly hardy too, I didn't realise they flower at such low temperatures, I've had them flower at 6C (43F) outside.
If it get frosty the flowers die quite quickly, but in areas where frost is infrequent they could well put on a decent display.
They're almost indestructible, but turn a strange red colour if placed in too much light so if sited indoors, or outdoors, it's best to put them in shade.
On Nov 11, 2009, ML42 from Indian Trail, NC wrote:
I bought this plant last year and keep it in my office at work near a large window. The information that came with the plant says to fertilize monthly. About a month ago I noticed one bloom. It never opened up and fell off the other day. Not sure how well it's going to do. But on the plus-side, it is evergreen and looks good even without blooms.
On Aug 27, 2008, AnalogDog from Mountlake Terrace, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:
Possibly the most popular plant in North America. It is not necessary to put the plant into the dark to force blooming. These plants will naturally set buds and bloom if given a winter rest which is cooler and drier than normal, and a summer which is warm with good indirect to part sun light. Mine typically bloom in the fall and spring.
On Apr 16, 2008, northlake from Orlando, FL wrote:
I never saw any seeds on my plants. I took rooted cuttings from four different colors and put them in one pot. Although they bloom at different times, it's very interesting. Right now the white are in bloom. Only problem is the blooms are on one side of the pot.
On Feb 3, 2008, koipondgardener from Quincy, WA (Zone 7a) wrote:
We have one in the spare bedroom in a south facing window. Every year for the past few years, since we got it, the plant has bloomed wonderful white with pink around the edges. Never has this plant been on a dark light schedule and still rewards us with blooms. I think it's blooming without intervention is because the spare bedroom hardly ever has the lights turned on at night and the heating vents in the floor are closed in the room keeping it cooler. I enjoy this plant and it's blooms. It is easy to grow too!
On Jan 24, 2008, green_dragon from Trumbull, CT wrote:
I think I have this particular variety. A real show stopper when it cranks out the flowers.
I have found in general for the (Cristmas Cactus group) that not only daylight length, as some suggest, makes the plant bloom but it also has to do with night-time temps. If your cactus is not blooming well, try leaving the plant about three weeks in 55 degree night temps in the fall (Dont let em freeze though) then bring indoors and move the plant to a bright warmer location and keep evenly moist. I have had my plants bloom 2, sometimes 3 times in a 12 month period by experimenting with night temps near a cold basement window, but it tends to wear out the plant a bit.
Science!...It seems to work.
On Jan 3, 2008, Vic77 from North Tonawanda, NY wrote:
We have here more then 30 pictures, some of the them is TRUE Christmas cactus...Which one? I also think the shape of the flower is also different
I am guessing the pictures by :
eloopj ,sandy130 ,trilian15,ladyannne are true cactus flowers
And they are different from :
kniphofia, jnana, hankpage, IslandJim
and I think vince has the real cactus also.
Great pictures and good tips how to make it bloom!
Thank you people!
My grandpa has had one of these beautiful plants for years (I need to find out how long and where he got it). Today, I was at his place for Christmas and asked to take a few starts of it. I know that this may not be the ideal time to attempt this, but figured that such a hearty plant would work. I started four. We'll see! Of course, here in western Oregon this is just going to be a houseplant.
On Dec 26, 2007, BBrandon77 from Knoxville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
Most of the pictures for this plant on this site are the wrong plant! A few are the real thing. Real Schlumbergera x buckleyi don't have points on their segments.
On May 10, 2005, NormaLuikart from Edinburg, VA wrote:
From Norma in Shenandoah Valley of VA
I purchased my plant about 5-6 yrs. ago. Have had good luck with it blooming after the Xmas holiday and pretty heavily. Mine is bright pink...beautiful! I keep it in a south window or window with indirect sunlight. I have had to repot it about 3x and it is now in a 10" pot and is bursting at the seams!
I am wondering if these plants can be divided? Anyone have any ideas? When you propogate from leaves, how much of the spike do you cut off and do you place in water until roots show or potting soil? Can you cut these plants back? Mine is just getting so huge that if I repot again, I won't have table sturdy enough to hold it! I usually fertilize once every 1-2 wks. during the summer, and it really takes off then...guess I will be ready for a 12" pot next! How do you all show your plant...plant stand, table, hanging?
I am going to try putting it outside on our southeast-facing deck for the summer in a few weeks. Will see how it does. Will try the darkness routine after I bring it back inside next fall and maybe I will get more flowers around the holidays.
Sure would appreciate in suggestions any of you may have as to better care and tending of this beautiful behometh!
On Feb 26, 2005, Liila from Lantana, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I started my plant from cuttings taken from my grandmother's 50+ year old plant in Finland. I have it in Florida and it has been blooming in waves since December, full of buds at present and ready to bloom again. I keep it in a shady spot of honor right by the front door. It likes to be placed in a spot and then *left* there. Even here in Florida, it sticks to the blooming schedule! I don't drive myself crazy worrying about shortened days and light, either. This plant is a definite must for anyone who loves to have plants that become ever more firmly entrenched in family history through the years.
On Dec 21, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:
A friend gave us a small plant in a 4" pot last year at Christmas. This Christmas it is covered with blooms! Must have at least 35 and it is still a smallish plant!!!!!!
We did not move it from the spot on the deck of the back lanai where it has lived since we got it. We water it when we remember and have never had to put it in a dark place for any period of time.
To show it off better while it is covered in blooms, I placed the plastic 4" pot in a larger ceramic container and covered the top of the pot with green moss. We hope to transplant to a larger pot after it finishes blooming. At this time it is gracing our lanai dining table.
On Feb 24, 2004, mkjones from Aurora, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I recently bought the "Thanksgiving Cactus," or the crab-clawed pinkish/coral version of this plant. It bloomed for Thanksgiving, and has now rebloomed again in February after being placed in a southeast windowsill and being given plenty of water. Lovely!!
On Feb 1, 2004, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:
I have a large, bright-true-red flowered plant that my son gave me for Christmas several years ago that blooms profusely. I always slightly fertilize all of my house plants with liquid house plant MiracleGro 8-7-6 (dark green bottle with yellow lable) at half strength every time I water, so I don't have to remember a fertilizer schedule, and all of my house plants grow beautifully, and this Christmas cactus blooms every year. I recently read that these jungle ephiphytes need fertilizer as often as every 7 to 10 days, so apparently I had been unknowlingly doing the right thing for it all along, hence have had no problem with blooming.
Sunset's Western Garden Book says that "to ensure bud set for late December bloom, keep plant where it will receive cool night temperatures (50F - 55F degrees) and 12-14 hours of darkness per day during November." I've found that an unused extra bedroom, right near the window, works just fine.
On Jan 31, 2004, maisoui11 from Modesto, CA wrote:
i took a start from my mother's very successful christmas cactus about 4 years ago.
4 years later, it is EXACTLY the same size, and has never bloomed. I give it the right amount of water and light that everyone recs, but, while my mother's continues to thrive, mine is stagnant. Any ideas about how i can get this little guy to bloom/grow?
thank you so much :)
On Jan 4, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
San Antonio, Tx.
I have never grown one of these plants, but was going to give some tips on how to induce blooming. Because the previous comments contain these tips, all I can say is that the blooms are so exquisite that I am almost enchanted by them when seeing them in person. The photos I posted are of a plant that has been in the same container for over 26 years.
I have a Christmas Cactus that is at least 65 years old and came down through my husband's family. How much older we don't know. It was doing fine in a south window, but in the last four months it has been losing its leaves and is not getting any new growth. The leaves turn brown along the edges, turn a light green and flatten. Then they fall off the plant. I do not notice any new growth. I would really hate to lose this family heirloom.
Like the "Thanksgiving Cactus" and "Easter Cactus" S. x buckleyi has arching foliage with brilliant flowers that cascade in whorls of colored petals. All varieties require similar care to that outlined below. Their leaves however, vary in shape. The Christmas Cactus is very similar to the Thanksgiving cactus, most people don't realize they are different plants. The Christmas cactus has the common red-colored flowers, while the Thanksgiving cactus come in many bright colors.
In February-March, when flowering is over, the plant needs to rest. Water sparingly without letting the stems shrink. If possible, move it to a cool, bright location.
In April/June, start to water more. The winter period is over and the cactus will start to grow again. New shoots at the tip of each stem are visible. Repot in April, if needed, and then feed a couple of times during these months. Use a standard cactus soil mixture so that water can easily drain. Roots are weak and will easily rot if soil is too wet.
July-August, starts rest period number two. Reduce watering and place in a warm, sheltered spot in the garden, if possible. Protect it from the burning sun.
September-February, if th ecactus has been standing outside, bring it in. As soon as there is any sign of flower buds, start to increase watering again. It must never lack water at this time or moved around much; otherwise buds may drop.
Key things to remember:
Place in high light (southern exposure) in Fall and winter, and medium light in spring and summer. Keep dark 12 hours per day from October 1 until bloom.
Keep soil evenly moist except in fall; then let it dry slightly between waterings. Raise humidity.
Maintain temps. in the low 70's (F) during the day and no lower than low 50's (F) at night, except between October 1 and bloom. Then, keep temperatures below 53 degrees F all day if possible.
Feed less in Fall. Never move or turn plant when it is in bloom; it will drop buds and stop flowering. Propagate by stem cuttings or seed.
If the cactus starts to shrivel in its rest period, it needs more water. Give it a good soak in a large bowl of water, then lift it and let it drain after about a half an hour.
Crown rot is a sign that the roots are rotting. Either the plant has been overwatered or soil mixture is wrong. The plant cannot survive this, so take cuttings from healthy stems before it is too late.
The buds fall off when plant has been moved around too much or has insufficient water.
On Dec 15, 2002, Roselaine from North Vancouver, BC (Zone 8a) wrote:
Oh, yes and yes, again! Right now there are around ten of these(different shades in the blooms) and they tend to thrive much better in the cooler part of my glasshouse...Merry Christmas, December, 2002! Elaine
On Dec 7, 2002, ranch45 from Interlachen, FL wrote:
I live in north-central Florida (U.S.), and in the summer it gets extremely hot here. I had mine in the house and it was doing well, however, when I placed it in partial shade outside, it grew to almost double.
I was told in order for this plant to bloom, it must have 13 hours of darkness; starting in September. I have brought the plant into the house again, leaving it in a bedroom which is not used at this time ~ meaning that it would get the proper amount of darkness. I started this process in early November and the plant is ready to burst at the seams with blooms.
On Jan 25, 2002, IndaShade from Kylertown, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:
S. x buckleyi is the common and old fashioned "Christmas Cactus" that your grandmother may have had, blooming at Christmas or a little after. The phylloclades are smooth and crenate. S. x buckleyi is well-suited to a a hanging basket, with a pendulous habit. The flowers are symmetrical and are also pendant. The flower color of most of these plants is fuschia or purple, sometimes with a tinge of orange, although we are now seeing a bigger diversity of colors coming from hybridizers.
This plant is indeed a TRUE Cactus, being an epiphytic jungle cactus and not the spiny desert plants that most everyone thinks of when they hear the word "cactus." Being from the rainforest,they like to drain quickly but do not like to be dry for long periods of time. However, you CAN kill them by overwatering. (Ask me!) The soil should feel like a damp, wrung out sponge most of the time, with the top inch of soil drying out on occasion.
Cooler temps in the fall may indeed be beneficial to this plant, but the most important thing when attempting to induce budding is a long night/short day photoperiod, with 12 hours or more of darkness. My Holiday Cactus will usually bloom again indoors in 65-70°F temperatures in the spring when the day/night hours closely approximate those in the fall - proof that no "cooling off" treatment is necessary to induce buds.
On Aug 31, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
This is the true "Christmas Cactus", not to be confused with Schlumbergera truncata, which is often referred to as "Holiday Cactus" or "Claw Cactus".
This is a 19th century hybrid between S. russelliana and S. truncata, created by William Buckley, of the Rollison Nurseries in England. They are easy to grow houseplants, and normally flower in early winter.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, (2 reports) Blountsville, Alabama Colony, Alabama Foley, Alabama Hayden, Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama Peoria, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Citrus Heights, California Corning, California Fremont, California Merced, California Modesto, California Pleasant Hill, California San Diego, California Santa Monica, California Susanville, California Thousand Oaks, California Whittier, California Beulah Valley, Colorado Stamford, Connecticut Bartow, Florida (2 reports) Bayonet Point, Florida Cape Coral, Florida Eastpoint, Florida Eatonville, Florida Fish Hawk, Florida Greater Northdale, Florida Keystone Heights, Florida Lake Placid, Florida Lutz, Florida Meadow Woods, Florida North De Land, Florida Ormond Beach, Florida Rockledge, Florida Saint Cloud, Florida South Venice, Florida (2 reports) Spring Hill, Florida Tampa, Florida Umatilla, Florida Valrico, Florida Warrington, Florida Bethlehem, Georgia Warner Robins, Georgia Honomu, Hawaii Volcano, Hawaii Eagle, Idaho Pesotum, Illinois Indianapolis, Indiana Basehor, Kansas Estelle, Louisiana Kenner, Louisiana Westlake, Louisiana Lewiston, Maine Cresaptown-bel Air, Maryland Woodland, Minnesota Airport Drive, Missouri Auburn, New Hampshire , New York Chester, New York Crown Heights, New York Deposit, New York North Tonawanda, New York West Henrietta, New York Lake Toxaway, North Carolina Raleigh, North Carolina Sherrills Ford, North Carolina Cleveland, Ohio Peggs, Oklahoma Bandon, Oregon Newberg, Oregon Kylertown, Pennsylvania Beaufort, South Carolina Bluffton, South Carolina Hilton Head Island, South Carolina Parris Island, South Carolina Simpsonville, South Carolina Baileyton, Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Lafayette, Tennessee Broaddus, Texas El Paso, Texas Elgin, Texas Lubbock, Texas Marshall Creek, Texas Port Lavaca, Texas Rowlett, Texas San Antonio, Texas (2 reports) Victoria, Texas Bentonville, Virginia Edinburg, Virginia Lake Barcroft, Virginia Bellevue, Washington Edgewood, Washington Kalama, Washington Seattle, Washington Star City, West Virginia