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Floral Friday – Xygocactus

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

A plant with many names! To me it will always be Christmas Cactus, because when I was growing up in Canada we had a number of them in the house, and that’s when they bloomed. Here in Australia, though, mine is blooming right now; here, they’re known as xygocactus or Schlumbergera.

This particular plant has a sad history. It was quite small when I bought it years ago, with only a couple of flowers. There were other, bigger plants with more flowers, but I loved the colour of these flowers. It was doing well, getting bigger, more flowers each year — and then I dropped it. Eek! One-third of the plant broke off. Then I overwatered what was left, and the branches started wilting and falling off; another one-third gone. The wet soil was also infested with gnats. And it had terrible light indoors, a choice of blasting direct sun or dim curtained gloom.

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

The poor thing was not a happy plant!

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

So I hauled it out of the pot, removed as much soil as possible, repotted it into a larger pot with a more gravelly soil to increase drainage, and used the old cider/sugar/dishsoap traps to kill the gnats. And it began to improve, hurrah! What it liked best, though, was the move to an apartment with a balcony where it gets bright but not direct light.

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

Now it’s a very happy plant, as you can see in these photos.

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

It doesn’t normally get any direct sunlight, but I moved it so these photos wouldn’t be dull and flat.


If you can’t believe this plant was ever in the dire straits described above, have a look at it from 2018. Still bravely flowering, but just look at those pinched, wilted, wrinkled branches.

11 thoughts on “Floral Friday – Xygocactus

  1. Mine (Christmas cactus – it has the scalloped leaves) stays outside all through the summer in rain and shine and then indoors until May. It can flower any time between November and February.

    Did you know there are three kinds? The difference between the three cacti is found in the shape of the leaves. The Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumgera truncata) has very pointed and claw shaped projections on the edges of the leaf. The Christmas cactus (Schlumgera bridgesti) has leaf projections which are more scalloped or tear drop shaped. The Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertnerrii) has very rounded edges which are centralized on the leaf.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ours are always outdoors, in semi shade most of the year. They are currently in full flower (always autumn) and in their featured spots on our deck while they last 🙂 We know all about chunks breaking off (possums/birds/wind)!!

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