Christmas cactus ~ What's in a name

Christmas cactus


* Those who split botanical hairs may insist that what we see labeled as Christmas cacti are actually Thanksgiving cacti. These would be your master gardeners or your 'Big ol' green thumbers'

* This line of reasoning holds that the only true Christmas cactus is Schlumbergera x buckleyi, a cross made by William Buckley in England in the late 1840s. That particular cross bears little bumps, rather than points, along the stems. Its flowers dangle, rather than curve outward. And, when given the same treatment, it begins blooming about a month later.

* But to most people, the plants and flowers of all the many offspring of the genus Schlumbergera look nearly the same. The care is the same, too, as well as the general timing of the beautiful blooms. Given the countless crosses and permutations of the various Schlumbergera species, the terms Christmas and Thanksgiving hardly seem to matter.


* Don’t toss your Christmas cacti after the holidays. The brilliant plants are definite keepers. Provide bright, indirect light, let the soil dry out between waterings, and your plants may live for generations.

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