When I posted a blog about ‘our jungle cacti’ back in November last year, the zygo cacti were not in flower. Obviously here in Melbourne (Australia), zygos flower in late May (which is the last month of autumn) to winter time. While Epiphyllum and Rhipsalidopsis flower around November to December.

In the Northern part of the world, zygocactus is also called Christmas cactus, but here in Australia during Christmas time, zygos are not in blooms at all. For this reason, I suppose here we don’t call this plant Christmas cactus.

The most common zygocacti that available here are from the species Schlumbergera truncata. It is also called Zygocactus truncatus. Other common species are S. bridgesii and S. reginae. They are available in various hybrids in many shades of colours; red, pink, mauve, salmon, white and purple.

All zygocactus plants are characterized by soft and thick leaves that grow in segments with pointed parts that make them look like crab claws. This is why zygocactus is also called Crab’s claw cactus.

In the wild in Southeast of Brazil, these jungle cacti are epiphytes which grow in tree hollows and crevices in the jungle.

Growing requirements:

  • To be grown in containers such as hanging baskets or pots.
  • Well drain potting mix (I use half good grade potting mix and half orchid mix).
  • Fertilize during growing season with complete slow release fertilizer. (I use the same fertilizer for orchids lately, and it seems that it works quite well).
  • Water well only when soil starts to dry.
  • Partly shade position away from frost. Never indoor as it needs cool night air to bloom.
  • As the flowers grow only from the tip of the leaves, it is necessary to prune by breaking segments of the leaves to encourage new branches to grow.
  • Can be propagated from section/segment cuttings in propagating soil.

Some people believe that zygocactus will not flower well if it receives too much light at night. So it is better to keep them away from street lights or other outdoor lights. I am not so sure if it is true or it is just a myth.

Link for my previous post about Jungle Cacti:

https://kiyanti2008.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/our-jungle-cacti/

Note (added May 27): For those who live in colder zones, this is a good link to read how to grow zygocactus:

http://www.helium.com/items/159095-growing-christmas-cactus

Happy Gardening!!

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