Learning to properly care for the zygocactus
In winter, on the windowsills, you can often see bushes, strewn with bright pink, crimson or white flowers at the ends of the branches. This is zygocactus – a plant of the genus epiphytic cacti. Here it is more often called the Decembrist – by the time of flowering, or Schlumberger, and in European countries – the Christmas flower.
Description of the plant
In nature, zygocactus is found in the rainforests of Brazil. There it grows on tree branches, like other epiphytes. Their root system is superficial, weak. Schlumberger branches are flat, segmented with serrated edges. This type of cactus has no thorns. Flowers are tubular, multi-tiered, located at the ends of the stems. The color of the flowers is white, pink, light red. There are orange and light purple varieties.
The plant got to Europe two hundred years ago thanks to a botanist collector and quickly gained popularity thanks to the lush and so rare in the northern hemisphere winter flowering.
How to properly care for a zygocactus
This plant is unpretentious, but for abundant flowering, you need to follow a number of rules and know the periods of the life cycle in which care for it differs. There are four such periods:
- End of winter and spring. Rest time. During this period, the flower needs bright or diffused lighting, low temperature – + 12-15 ° С, moderate air humidity and rare watering.
- Summer. Time of active growth. Dim light, high humidity, frequent watering and spraying. The temperature should be increased to + 17-22 ° С.
- Autumn. During the dormant period, it is better to expose the plant to the northeast or northwest window, lower the air temperature again to + 12-15 ° С, reduce watering and reduce humidity.
- The beginning and the middle of winter. During the flowering period, the temperature should be raised to + 17-22 ° С, the air humidity and watering should be increased.
During flowering, spraying should be done carefully, avoiding water getting on the flowers. Rearranging the flower to another place is undesirable.
How to transplant a flower correctly
Zygocactus is transplanted at the end of winter, after it has faded.
Young plants are transplanted every year, adults after a few years.
Choosing a new pot for the Decembrist, stop at a wide and shallow one, since its roots do not develop in depth, but in breadth.
The soil for it should be light, breathable, slightly acidic. At the bottom of the pot, about a third of the depth is poured drainage – brick chips, small expanded clay. Charcoal powder can be added. It will make the substrate even easier and disinfect. A little fresh soil mixture is poured on top of the drainage, the plant is taken out along with a small lump of earth, the excess is gently shaken off and installed in a new place. The roots must be spread carefully. Then, little by little, fresh earth is poured and compacted. After planting, the Decembrist is watered and sprayed.
Observing the rules for caring for zygocactus at home, you can achieve the same abundant flowering as in the photo below:
A strongly overgrown Decembrist is easy to shape. Just pinch off excess shoots or shorten them by twisting the segments with your hands. This must be done carefully..
A well-formed bush will be evenly illuminated, less sick with various rot and bloom in unison.
Reproduction of the Decembrist
At home, it is easy to propagate zygocactus vegetatively. It is better to do this before the beginning of a period of active growth – in late spring or early summer. To get cuttings, you need to carefully twist a part of the stem with 2-3 segments with one hand, holding the rest of the stem with the other hand..
Cut the zygocactus with your hands only, without the help of scissors..
The resulting cuttings are dried for two to three days, then placed in a small container with wet sand, slightly deepening. The planted stalk is covered with glass or foil, creating a mini-greenhouse. Before the roots appear, the seedlings are placed in a bright, warm place, avoiding direct sunlight. Ventilate the greenhouse with cuttings regularly and moisten the sand. Rooted cuttings are transplanted to a permanent place.
Pay attention to the correct planting of zygocactus cuttings in the photo:
Why does the Decembrist not bloom
There may be several reasons:
- Before flowering, the zygocactus must go through a dormant period. At this time, he gains strength and lays flower buds. If the Decembrist did not collect the buds by November, it means that during the dormant period the temperature was too high or excessive watering.
- Try to rearrange the pot as little as possible..
- The soil is too poor. Feed the plant with a complex fertilizer containing boron.
Subject to these simple rules for the care of the zygocactus, every winter will delight you with a festive scattering of flowers..