The Christmas cactus, scientifically known as schlumbergera, earned its name because it flowers right around the festive season. It’s also known as Thanksgiving cactus and holiday cactus, for the same reason. Basically, this plant loves a celebration, erupting in pink buds that turn into red flowers to cheer up winter.
Unlike a lot of cacti, this plant doesn’t naturally live in hot, dry conditions. In the wild you’ll find it growing in shady spots in humid forests, generally in crevices in rocks or trees. Try to imitate those conditions in your home to keep it really happy and maximise flowering.
It likes its soil to be gently moist and adapts well to quite low light. In the growing season (roughly April to September) it likes some bright-ish light, to help it develop flowers, but the rest of the time it can live happily in semi-shade. The only thing it doesn’t like is direct sunlight, but otherwise it’s pretty easygoing. A monthly feed in spring and summer will help it grow more flowers. That little bit of extra work in the middle of the year will guarantee this plant a happy Christmas.
Did you know?
In the wild, Christmas cacti are largely pollinated by hummingbirds.