Named after Frederick Schlumberger, a Belgian amateur gardener of the 18th and 19th centuries. There are many coloured hybrid Shlumbergeras to choose from. Some have rounded stem segments, others have more pointed type. The flowers also differ considerably in shape and flower colour may be white, pink or red. The many hybrids of Schlumbergeras all flower in mid Winter, but another species known as Easter Cactus, blooms in Spring.
Water well whenever the compost shows signs of drying out during late Spring and late Summer. Keep dry in Autumn and water again in Winter to encourage flower production.
Feed monthly with high potash fertilizer once a month in Summer. Do not feed while flowering.
Re-pot after flowering every other year using peat based compost. Handle root ball carefully as they dislike having their roots disturbed.
When the plant is not in flower take cuttings from 2 segments cutting at joint with sharp knife. Dust both cut ends with hormone rooting powder containing fungicide and leave to dry for 2 days. Place cuttings gently into almost dry soilless compost, plant them 1 cm deep. Water after 2 weeks.
Place Shlumbergera in a shady spot outdoor between late Spring and Summer, but move them back indoors before the cold weather starts. Once indoors, keep it cool and dry until the buds appear. Make sure the plant is not subject to artificial light at this time, otherwise flowering may be upset.
To combat pests use insecticide and to prevent the orange spotting use a systemic fungicide 2-3 times a year.
Flower buds drop off after they have formed. This can result from such causes as draughts, sudden changes of temperature or either dried out or waterlogged roots. Another possibility if the plant is turned around when buds are small, the effort for the buds themselves to try to face the light, will weaken them.
Ideal for hanging basket or on a shelf in dining room, lounge or kitchen.
Spray at least once a week to keep plant fresh and dust free. Spray with distilled or rainwater more often in warm weather, in the evenings.
Cactus and succulent compost.
Scientists were able to revive a flowering plant from the fossilized fruit found in the stomach of an Arctic ground squirrel who was trapped in ice around 32,000 years ago.