Schlumberger (lat. Schlumbergera) is an epiphytic plant, belongs to the cactaceous family (Cactaceae Juss), native to the tropical forests of Brazil.
It grows on tree branches, at an altitude of 1000-2500 m. There, despite frequent torrential rains, a dry, hot climate remains.
The stem is branched, shoots are flattened, without thorns, with jagged edges. It blooms at the very peak of the tropical summer, when our Christmas holidays begin and the first frosts come. The flowers look very attractive, resembling a white, red or dark pink bell, with long hanging stamens.
Other names: Schlumbergera, Decembrist, Christmas cactus, Zygocactus, Varvarin color.
Schlumberger - popular types:
Truncated Schlumbergera (Schlumbergera truncatus) is a plant with drooping stems, reaching a height of 50 cm. The stems consist of many flat segments, the edges of which are covered with denticles. Blooms in white, yellow or purple flowers. Flower length is about 5cm.
Schlumberger Russeliana (Schlumbergera Russelliana) - an epiphytic plant has branched, hanging stems, the length of which can reach 1-1.2 m. Segmental margins without spines, with a pronounced central vein. During the flowering period, pink, burgundy or purple flowers appear, oblong in shape with a long green tube.
Schlumberger bucklei (Schlumbergera bucklei) - flower height 40-60cm, distinguished by shiny, branched stems formed from flat segments. There are no thorns, only faint protrusions are visible at the edges. During the flowering period, the plant looks more elegant, thanks to the emerging flowers with pink-purple petals.
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The Christmas cactus will decorate the space of your home with its presence. Numerous buds during flowering against the background of frosty window patterns create a fabulous mood and inspire a joyful pastime. Succulent green dangling shoots look best in hanging planters. Schlumberger adds special charm to the apartment in company with other plants, unlike other representatives of its genus, it organically fits into group compositions.
To grow a tropical plant at home, you only need the desire and knowledge of the basic rules of care. The main thing is to maintain sufficient humidity, lighting and the indispensable observance of a dormant period, which is noticeably different in terms of time from most other indoor plants.
Lighting. The Christmas cactus prefers a bright spot without direct sunlight. It will feel more comfortable in partial shade, the light should be diffused. The ideal place is the window sill of the western or northern window, in the case of placing a flowerpot with a flower on the south side, shade with a tulle curtain.
Temperature. Withstands fluctuations in temperature from 2 ° C to 40 ° C, but do not abuse it. The most optimal temperature for the growth and development of a flower is 18-30 ° C.
Air humidity. Loves humidity, so it reacts well to spraying with warm, settled water. Try to spray regularly all year round, especially in the autumn-winter period, when the air becomes dry and this can cause buds to drop. Only the spraying technology changes somewhat: the distance at which you spray is increased so that excess moisture on the buds does not provoke rotting.
Watering. From the beginning of flowering until the end of this period, you need to water abundantly, just like deciduous plants, but do not overdo it, because the roots of the plant can quickly rot. From spring to autumn, watering is reduced, this contributes to the successful laying of flower buds. From September to November, Schlumberger needs cooler and drier conditions.
Top dressing. During the flowering period, add a flowering plant food. The rest of the time, it needs complex fertilizers for cacti, once or twice a month, except for the dormant period (February - March).
Transfer. It is necessary to transplant young plants annually, immediately after flowering ends, and give the plant a dormant period. Adult flowers require replanting every 3-4 years, after the end of the dormant period, at the end of March. Choose a container that is not too large, since the Schlumberger's root system does not grow too much. A low, narrow flowerpot will do. Use expanded clay as drainage. The soil should be light, breathable, you can use a store-bought ready-made mixture intended for cacti.
Trimming and shaping. It is not recommended to prune, stem decay may begin. Formed by plucking overgrown stem segments. Plucking each time after flowering helps to form stronger stems and a more lush next flowering. Thanks to the care and formation, the zygocactus will delight with its beautiful appearance for many years.
Bloom. From the end of November to January, the room in which the Schlumberger grows will turn into a fairytale palace. Flowers are attached at the ends of the stems. Despite the short lifespan of each bud (a couple of days), due to their large number, the flowering period is delayed by 4-6 weeks.
Reproduction. The zygocactus is propagated by grafting, immediately after flowering. Cuttings with several segments are carefully pinched off from the mother plant and dried a little. Then they are planted in the ground, not too deep. Cover with a glass jar on top, observe the temperature regime of + 15 + 20 degrees, place in a shaded place and ventilate periodically.
Diseases and pests. The plant is resistant to diseases and pests, but sometimes it can be damaged by insects or fungal diseases. Most often it is affected by a spider mite, if you notice that the plant is covered with a rusty bloom, treat it with a special agent: "Actellik" or "Fitoverm". Another enemy of Schlumberger's is the mealybug. To save the flower from the attack of this parasite, use the drug "Aktara".
The pale color of the segments, their wilting and dropping, indicates a disease with a fungal infection, the flower should be sprayed with the fungicidal preparation "Topaz". In case of bacterial damage, the root collar acquires a slippery structure, in this case, cuttings from the apical shoots should be re-rooted, soaking them in a weak solution of potassium permanganate before planting.
Schlumberger in winter. The Christmas cactus will bloom in early winter, so make sure it is watered abundantly and regularly sprayed and fed. The optimum temperature at this time is 18-22 ° C. Do not forget that the zygocactus brightens up frosty days with its violent flowering, you need to take care of it throughout the year.
Interesting Facts. The indisputable advantage of Schlumberger is not only a bright appearance, but also its lifespan. With proper care, the plant will delight with its annual flowering for twenty years or more.
PHOTO OF SCHLUMBERGER