Zygocactus is widely known in Russia under the names Decembrist or Rozhdestvennik. He is loved for his unpretentiousness and beautiful appearance, and also for the unusual flowering time, in mid-December. This feature has made it a popular Christmas present. But few people know that it can bloom at other times. To do this, you need to know the rules for caring for zygocactus at home.
Description of the plant
In botany, this culture has a scientific name - Schlumberger's zygocactus. This name was given in honor of the famous collector Frederick Schlumberger. The birthplace of the flower is the tropical forests of Brazil, Guatemala and Jamaica.
This amazing cactus has no thorns and belongs to the species of epiphytic plants. In its natural environment, it grows on the trunks of other trees and does not need soil. Therefore, the roots of the Decembrist are thin and fragile. This feature is compensated by an airy root system capable of absorbing moisture from the environment,surrounding flower.
With proper care at home, the Schlumberger zygocactus reaches a height of 40 centimeters. Its branched stems look like green leaves connected to each other.
The flowers of the plant are multi-tiered, decorative, they will look great in a flower pot. In nature, there are Decembrists of red or pale pink color. But yellow and purple zygocactus suitable for home care have already been bred. In the photo - a white Decembrist.
Diversity of species
There are several popular plant species:
- Truncated - stem segments have jagged edges. The flower is multi-tiered, its petals are slightly curved.
- Kautsky - similar to a truncated one, but smaller in size.
- Buckley - the stems are smoother and the flower is soft pink.
- Prickly pears - large (up to six centimeters) purple flowers appear on cylindrical lobes.
All types of zygocactus (Decembrists) are perfect for home care.
Rules of care
Caring for zygocactus at home requires creating an environment similar to natural for it. Despite the fact that the plant belongs to cacti, it does not like moisture and does not tolerate direct sunlight.
It is best to organize a place for him near the windows facing east or west. If the side is south, you need to draw the curtains in the afternoon. Particular care should be taken during periods of budding and flowering, because sunnyheat can damage tender shoots. However, if there is not enough light, the cactus will not bloom.
Water Christmas tree
In the Brazilian subtropics, the Decembrist absorbs a lot of water from humid air, this feature must be taken into account when caring for zygocactus at home. The plant needs to be watered regularly. But you need to make sure that the soil has time to dry out between waterings, otherwise the roots will begin to rot.
Decembrist does not tolerate water containing lime or chlorine. Perfect for rain. But if it is not possible to assemble it in a city apartment, you can also use tap water, previously aged for up to ten days.
Pruning the plant
To form a beautiful bush, the cactus is pruned in June, when it does not bloom. It is best to remove stem links, new shoots and extra branches with light twisting movements. Later they can be used for propagation from cuttings.
If the plant is sick, cut off the affected leaves at any time of the year.
A young plant in the period of active growth is transplanted annually. Each time, for this, they take a pot that is four centimeters larger than the previous one. A flat, shallow dish is best, because the roots of the cactus grow in width. Holes should be provided at the bottom for air circulation.
Adult plant does not need frequent transplants. Once every 4-5 years is enough. To do this, choose the time after flowering, for example, in February or March.
To the bottom of the potpour a layer of drainage of at least two centimeters. To do this, you can use:
- expanded clay;
- small pebbles.
Already after the dishes are filled with soil. When caring for zygocactus at home, you can use both purchased soil for forest cacti, and made yourself. The composition must include:
- river sand;
- leaf ground.
The main thing is that the soil is loose and contains enough nutrients. For this purpose add:
- crushed charcoal;
- pine bark;
The plant is placed on the ground, spreading the roots evenly. Gently sprinkle the earth along the edges and tamp with light hand movements. The first time you can water the cactus after two or three days. Each transplant is a serious stress, the zygocactus must be given time to get used to.
In order for a Zygocactus flower to form when cared for at home, the same requirements are necessary as in its natural habitat. First of all, this is a decrease in temperature and daylight hours.
As soon as the first buds appear, the plant is transferred to a place where there are no direct sunlight, and the temperature remains within 20-22 degrees during the day and 15-20 at night. After that, the cactus is no longer moved, otherwise it will drop the buds.
To keep the buds intact, you should not change the light in the room and regularly moisten the soil. hot anddry air near the battery will result in no flowering.
If the Decembrist is in a room with a temperature below 15 ºC, the buds appear even with a long daylight hours. But after such stress, the flower will recover for a long time and may not bloom for several years.
The efforts of flower growers will certainly be rewarded. After all, the lush and colorful flowers of the Decembrist look very advantageous in the interior. Below is a photo of the Schlumberger zygocactus.
Home care involves flower reproduction.
Methods of budding
Christmas tree reproduces well in the following ways:
Seeds are usually used to breed new Decembrist varieties.
Propagation by cuttings
When propagating with the help of cuttings, the formed stems, consisting of 3-5 segments, are carefully unscrewed. The cut points are slightly dried and placed in a moist substrate. The container with the cuttings is placed in a cool, shaded place.
You can cover the dishes with a glass jar or a plastic bottle with a cut neck. This will create an artificial greenhouse. But it should be remembered that if you do not periodically lift the jar, the seedlings will begin to rot.
When a young cactus has roots, it can be transplanted into a regular pot. But it is better not to choose a very large capacity. Too much moisture will only damage the flower. Below is a photo of a zygocactus.
Reproduction in home care is possible through vaccination.
Propagation by grafting
This method will be of interest to experienced flower growers who want to experiment. Schlumbergera is grafted to other types of cacti. It can be prickly pear, hylocereus or pereskia.
A cropped scion of a zygocactus, consisting of at least two links, must be sharpened and inserted into a previously cleaned and split stem of another plant. The vaccination site is fixed with a needle and wrapped with a plaster.
The grafted plant should stand in a cool room for two weeks. A sign that everything went well will be the shoots appearing on the Schlumberger. Then the patch can be removed and cut off the excess leaves from the stem.
If grafted in early or mid-spring, the new plant will begin to flower as early as winter. The result of proper care for zygocactus at home is in the photo.
Enemies of the Decembrist
With proper care at home, zygocactus is quite resistant to pests and diseases. But some problems still visit him. First of all, these are fungal and bacterial diseases. Among them:
- late blight;
The causes of such diseases are too wet earth, poor ventilation in the pot. Such drugs as Vitaroz, Maxim and Topaz, as well as fungicides, are fighting with them. The lesion occurs, as a rule, on the roots of the plant.
Bacterialdiseases are dangerous because they cannot be cured. The only effective remedy for them is to recognize the problem in time and remove the affected part of the plant. To do this, it is important to know the symptoms.
The disease begins at the base of the Schlumbergera stem. A dark spot forms on it, which spreads further, discoloring the segments or giving them a red tint. If the bacteria have already spread greatly, you can save the life of your beloved Decembrist only by propagating with cuttings.
Caring for zygocactus in home pots can also be complicated by pests. These can be spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies and scale insects, and when grown outdoors, snails and slugs.
You should not use dubious folk remedies - soap or vodka to remove them. This will only harm the plant. Among modern medicines, "Fitoverm", "Aktar" or "Aktellik" can help.
Decembrist does not need frequent feeding. Young plants are transplanted into fresh soil every year, they can not be fertilized separately. But mature ones may need additional nutrition.
The procedure is performed from March to August, twice a month. Then I gradually reduce the amount of fertilizer, and completely stop for the flowering period. Mineral supplements for cacti containing potassium can be used. Ready-made fertilizers are sold in flower shops.
Seasonal features of care
Schlumbergera needsadjusting the conditions of detention depending on the time of year. The flowering of the plant is affected by the temperature of the room and the length of daylight hours. Therefore, artificial lighting is not required during the cold season.
From the beginning of September, a gradual decrease in watering begins, a large amount of moisture is no longer needed. But there is a need for cool fresh air. Therefore, you can safely leave the Christmas tree on the terrace or balcony at this time. The main thing is that the temperature in the room does not fall below 10 ºC and does not rise above 23 ºC, otherwise the flowering will be disrupted.
As soon as the first buds begin to appear, the cactus is again transferred to the room. In the care for this time should be limited to regular watering and gentle wiping with a damp cloth. If any of the buds or flowers is damaged, it is carefully unscrewed. It is very important for the plant proper care at home. Photos of Zygocactus - a he althy flowering plant - are truly beautiful.
After flowering comes a dormant period. It lasts up to two months. At this time, the Schlumberger should be in a cool room with limited lighting. Watering - moderate. In the spring, it's time to propagate the Decembrist and transplant it into new soil.
In summer, the sun's rays and hot, dry air are especially dangerous. For a pot, it is better to choose a shady place on a balcony or terrace, protected from drafts and strong winds. The soil should not dry out, but water stagnant in the pan is also unacceptable.
Zygocactus needs regular spraying to maintainair humidity. In summer, this procedure can be repeated three times a week. In winter, 1-2 times a month is enough.
When performing such simple procedures, the Decembrist will delight others with magnificent bright colors for many years.