Christmas Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Zygocactus

Schlumbergera x buckleyi

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Schlumbergera (shlum-BER-ger-uh) (Info)
Species: x buckleyi (BUCK-lee-eye) (Info)
Synonym:Zygocactus x buckleyi
Synonym:Epiphyllum x buckleyi
Synonym:Schlumbergera bridgesii


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:




White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From leaf cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)

Blountsville, Alabama

Foley, Alabama

Hanceville, 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

Pueblo, Colorado

Stamford, Connecticut

Bartow, Florida (2 reports)

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Deland, Florida

Eastpoint, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake Placid, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lithia, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Maitland, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Ormond Beach, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Port Richey, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Tampa, Florida (2 reports)

Umatilla, Florida

Valrico, Florida

Venice, Florida (2 reports)

Bethlehem, Georgia

Warner Robins, Georgia

Honomu, Hawaii

Volcano, Hawaii

Eagle, Idaho

Pesotum, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Basehor, Kansas

Kenner, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

Westlake, Louisiana

Lewiston, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Ijamsville, Maryland

Isle, Minnesota

Joplin, Missouri

Auburn, New Hampshire

Chester, New York

Deposit, New York

New York City, New York

North Tonawanda, New York

Poughkeepsie, 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 (2 reports)

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Greeneville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Lafayette, Tennessee

Broaddus, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

Roanoke, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Victoria, Texas

Bentonville, Virginia

Edinburg, Virginia

Falls Church, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Morgantown, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 13, 2015, kittyhawkjd from Kensington, NY wrote:




On Nov 5, 2013, reward6 from Ottawa
Canada wrote:

If you have several Schlumbergera that bloom at different times or even the same time but different colours, you can start new pots with a mixture of cuttings that will give you (at your choice) a pot with two or three different flower colours or a pot that will bloom for a very long time if you have early or late season flowering Schlumbergera.


On Dec 3, 2012, gregokla from Hulbert, OK wrote:

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 i... read more


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 only half of the bottom section was under the soi... read more


On Sep 25, 2010, youngB from Pueblo, CO wrote:

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 plant... read more


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 f... read more


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 Mar 1, 2009, wreinha from Macomb, IL wrote:

I have a christmas cactus that I brought last year and it had bloomed last winter and I trimmed it back after it bloomed and now it is starting to get new growth on it.


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!


On Dec 26, 2007, bubbylar from Newberg, OR wrote:

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.

His plant is amazing with large deep pink blooms.


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 Dec 13, 2007, cacTYEpete9 from Chester, NY wrote:

I have had my Christmas Cactus for over 16 years! I have annually @ least 2 blooms and on a few occasions 3-4 blooms a year!! I will be uploading a few pictures under the name of "cacTYEpete9".


On May 31, 2007, jokar from Darien, IL wrote:

Would like to find out more about this plant.
Have one from my Mother who died in 1965. It is in a large pot on a bar stool and the plant almost touches the ground.

The leaves are smoother than most seen here. It does not have the pointy edges.

Bloomes before Xmas and early spring. Also sometimes in January.

Would appreciate any information that could be given.

Thank you,


On Nov 14, 2006, trilian15 from Helsinki
Finland wrote:

Common name is Christmas Cactus (hybrid between S. russelliana and S. truncata).

- Latin name is Schlumbergera x buckleyi - genus: Schlumbergera (old name Zygocactus), species: x buckleyi.


On Sep 24, 2006, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is an artificially produced hybrid of Schlumbergera russelliana & Schlumbergera truncata


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...... read more


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... read more


On Jan 31, 2004, maisoui11 from Modesto, CA wrote:

hi there,
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.


On Oct 6, 2003, segerson wrote:

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.


On Mar 15, 2003, singasong wrote:

I've had my plant for nine years and it gets more magnificent every year. It blooms around Christmas and then again in March. Right now it is in its full second bloom!


On Feb 24, 2003, Sunshine12 wrote:

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 sh... read more


On Jan 14, 2003, manyquestions wrote:

I have a huge (12" diameter pot) that I got as a cutting from my great-great-grandmother's plant 12 years ago.


On Dec 16, 2002, snowelk2002 wrote:

I have some pink, white, and red cultivars. They are really easy to propagate.


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 Nov 12, 2002, CoyoteSpirit from Citrus Heights, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

In my Zone 9 garden I have these plants growing in a sheltered area hanging from an oak tree - they always bloom and have never failed.


On Nov 1, 2002, tetla25 wrote:

In order to get the Christmas Cactus to bloom it has to be in a cooler temperature, for example, on a window sill. It will not bloom if kept warm.

Water regularly about once weekly. Don't go for long periods of time without watering - this plant is not a true cactus and needs regular moisture.

The Christmas Cactus produces beautiful, unique flowers in many different colors. This plant is a joy for all!!


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 ... read more


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.