Zygocactus

Zygocactus or Schlumbergera is an epiphytic cactus native to Brazil where they grow on rock crevices and tree boughs and are pollinated by humming birds. They have been in cultivation since the early 1800’s.

Easy to grow and care for plants that are perfect in pots and hanging baskets. Grow them on the patio, under trees or even indoors. The leaves are connected in flat segments, 4-6cm. long. They are bright to mid green.

Zygocactus or Schlumbergera are a hardy choice, with brightly coloured flowers. Each bloom is around 8cm long. The flowers open at the ends of the leaf stems. Ideal flowering conditions are bright, filtered light with short days and long, cool nights (11-13 hours of darkness, including bright artificial light). Buds will drop if the temperatures are too high or the soil too dry.

The leaves will turn yellow if they are getting too much sun. Water to establish, then allow the soil to become dry on top before watering again. Ensure you plant in a good quality, well drained potting mix. Adding a little peat moss for acidity is beneficial. A light application of water soluble fertiliser early spring and late summer is helpful for blooms. Allow pot to become overcrowded before potting on. Keep an eye out for fungal disease and treat with your choice of fungicide.

Ideally pop them outside in a shady spot for summer and bring them indoors when flowering in autumn and winter for a bit of colour. Also known as Crab Cactus.