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Favorite Houseplants: The Easter Cactus

Outdoors is not the only place you can enjoy spring flowers. Along with cheerful bulb gardens, there is the Easter cactus (Schlumbergera gaertneri), a snazzy spring-blooming member of the Cactus family and one of about 9 species in the Schlumbergera genus. 

Most people are very familiar with the Christmas cactus (S. bridgesii) and Thanksgiving cactus (S. truncata). Both of these long-time, winter-blooming favorites set bud in response to shorter days and cooler temperatures. However, the Easter cactus sets buds as days become longer and temperatures warmer. In other words, springtime.
The Easter cactus sets buds when
days are longer and temperatures warm up.

How does it grow?

A perennial native to Brazil and hardy to zones 10-12, the Easter cactus is an epiphyte - a non-parasitic plant that grows on other plants or structures and gets nutrients and water from rain, air, etc. It has branching stems comprised of segments called cladophylls.

The Easter cactus grows in light shade in nature. As a houseplant, it requires a bright window and well-drained soil.

These plants sometimes come double-potted in decorative pots that lack drainage holes, so be sure to remove the plant from the decorative pot so it drains well when watered.

Holiday Cacti

Author: Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator, Horticulture

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