PROPAGATION AND CARE OF HOLIDAY CACTUS 101 forum: what's the difference between a holiday cactus and a christmas cactus?

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Dec 29, 2013 11:48 AM CST
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey
This introduction should help you learn to identify the different cactus.

Holiday Cactus is sometimes called Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus or Zygocactus. The "true" Christmas Cactus is an inter specific hybrid of Schlumbergera truncata and Schlumbergera russellinana that originated in England over 150 years ago. It is a common houseplant but seldom grown commercially. Identifying a Christmas Cactus can be done by looking for segments that have rounded margins and no pointed ends, ribbed ovaries and purplish brown anthers.

A segment is the green part growing off the stem. This is one of my photographs.
Thumb of 2013-12-29/JB/98754d

The anthers are the pollen bearing structure of the flower. This shot came from The Green Thumb 2.0
Thumb of 2013-12-29/JB/0ab68b

This is a shot of the entire stem of a Schlumbergera x buckleyi which shows the location of the ovary. This is part of an article called Recognition and Culture of the Holiday Cactus - Paul's notes.
Thumb of 2013-12-29/JB/a98fe8

The latin name for Christmas Cactus is Schlubergera x buckleyi, the "x" indicates that is is an inter specific hybrid.

Most Holiday, Thanksgiving Cactus or Zygocactus are actually Schumbergera truncata. The difference is also seen in the stem, (tiny pointy edges on segments) the overies (rounded and no ribs), anthers are yellowish.

The blooming time for these cactus is about 5 weeks earlier than the Christmas Cactus.

All of the above can be found in various places on the internet. If you have the time and want to learn in a more professional manner, please begin to research the internet. It is all there, you just need to take the time to find it.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them. Next post will be about the actual methods of propagation for these beauties.
Dec 29, 2013 1:05 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Very informative! I will be sending your link to a couple of my friends who should be interested in this. Thanks for taking being so specific in your descriptions and photos, JB!
Dec 29, 2013 1:28 PM CST
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey
Thank you NAP, I am hoping to be able to share some information people can use in a manner they will understand them and not be afraid to sound stupid if they ask questions. I found it difficult at times when some of the old timers explained things to me on other sites to understand what the heck they were talking about. I want to make it easy for everyone, hopefully.
Dec 29, 2013 2:18 PM CST
Name: Joyce Steadman
Dundalk, Md
I am so happy to see this, as I know nothing about these beautiful plants! So keep talking, please, so I may learn and buy more!
Dec 29, 2013 5:44 PM CST
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey
We will have fun I promise and we will learn as we go. Happy New Year. Thanks so much for your interest.
Dec 29, 2013 7:52 PM CST
Name: James
JB, enjoyed your article very much. I got one of these plants about 5 or 6 years ago after Christmas on a clearance table at Lowes ".50 cents" and enjoyed for about 3 years. But lost it a couple years back. I think I must have over watered it. Hope one of these days to be able to get another deal like that. They are such a beautiful plant.
Dec 29, 2013 7:58 PM CST
Name: Sharon
I will return!! Thanks, JB!
Dec 30, 2013 9:55 AM CST
Name: Audrey---Doe 41--- Warren
South East Missouri
I'm a Charlie's girl, too!
I haven't seen any in Wal**Mart for a year or two. I might want to get one from you! How old do they have to be before they bloom? I had a beautiful one, years ago, but my cat killed it!
Dec 30, 2013 10:10 AM CST
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey
Hello Audrey, I know how cats can be. I have a dog like that. He destroys anything but plants. Good for him. I may have to smack him if he did. My plants are my real love.

You can find blooms on the very young cactus depending on the part of the plant they took off to start that plant and did it have a bloom end on it. Usually they bloom in a year or so. Again, depending on their location. My greenhouse is full of blooms on all the babies. My stock plants (the old ones) are not blooming because I cut all their good ends off when I made the starter plants. Also, the stock plants are getting new buds now because they have had a rest and grew some new growth and are not in direct sun. I will be doing a thread on blooming also. Big Grin
Feb 19, 2014 7:54 AM CST
Name: Charleen
Alford, Florida
Walk in Peace.
What a wonderful place to learn about Christmas Cacti .Thumb of 2014-02-19/Ridesredmule/ef7722 This was blooming in January.
Hugs and mule nuzzles.
Feb 19, 2014 7:58 AM CST
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey
Hey Char, how are you kiddo? That is one pretty little salmon christmas cactus you have there. It may keep blooming a few more weeks because of this stupid weather and the hybrids seem to like less heat and more light, not necessarily sun. My older plants get no sun except for about 10 minutes in the morning and they are still blooming. All are hybrids too. Charle sends his love to Charlie. Lovey dubby

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