As we approach the festive holiday season, the Christmas cacti comes into full bloom, illuminating holiday dècor with its exotic and abundant blossoms.
This full-spectrum flowering plant often blooms just twice per year (most commonly prior to Easter and then again at Christmas), making this prodigious blooming plant symbolic of the nearing of Christmas.
With its profusion of butterfly-shaped blossoms, the unique flowers of the zygocactus stem outward from long, pendulous, sculpted dark-green branches.
Often bearing up to hundreds of flowers on any single plant, the many petals of this satiny-flowered tropical plant ranges in vibrant shades of salmon, pink, fuchsia, yellow, orange, red and white. Some varieties bear striking combinations of these colours.
The Christmas cacti are generally a low-maintenance, easy-to-grow, resilient tropical plant. Unlike the name infers, the zygocactus is not a true drought-tolerant cactus. The succulent leaves of the zygocactus do, however, allow for a reasonable amount of water storage.
The plant should be kept moderately moist and become dry between waterings. Be mindful of overwatering this plant. A zygocactus, especially during the non-flowering periods, will turn yellow and become flaccid with too much moisture.
It’s true that this cactus can be a difficult plant to bring to repeat blossom. Once the flowering season has passed, encourage the plant to re-flower by placing it in a cool, low-light location.
Resist watering the plant for six weeks following flowering. As new growth appears, transplant using fresh sterilized soil. Keep the soil moderately moist. Fertilize in the spring using a tropical-plant fertilizer prepared at quarter-strength.
As buds appear, move the plant to a well-lit location and begin misting with warm water. The added humidity will help transform buds into blossoms. You can hold the plant back from flowering by keeping it in a cool, low-light area.
The Christmas cacti will bloom for extended periods of time in cooler settings. Avoid hot drafts from fireplaces and heaters.
Christmas cacti are easy plants to propagate and make wonderful gifts to share.
The Christmas zygocactus is a revered plant that is traditional of the holiday season. Given its outstanding, showy performance, twice per year, this holiday plant requires very little care.
Surprisingly, even the smallest of Christmas cacti bloom abundantly. In a multitude of bright colours, along with the profusion of incredible tuberous blossoms, the zygocactus is one plant that is sure to catch your eye this holiday season.