Big Box Stores Christmas Cactus

marquest(z5 PA)December 14, 2011

I know some of you were looking for yellow Christmas Cactus. I found one at HomeDepot this week. If you have one in your area you might be able to pick up some colors you are looking for. They had white, a purple and this light yellow one.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

These are Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), and not the true Christmas Cactus at all.
Infact, I've never seen an actual Christmas Cactus sold at a generic nursery or big box store.

Now, that's not a reason to avoid these beautiful plants! Just make sure to label them properly.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:32PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I know Josh you keep telling me that. LOL That is the problem of using common names. I only have one Christmas Cactus and I only think it is a true CC is because it just started to bud up last week. For the last 5 years it always blooms late Dec-Jan.

I had 4 Easter cactus but I had a hard time keeping them alive I only have 2 of the 4 left and they look kind of sick.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:50PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Look at the leaf-margins. If spiky, it's a Thanksgiving Cactus; if smooth, Christmas Cactus.
The Easter Cactus is genus Rhipsalidopsis, and looks decidedly different from the Schlumbergeras.

So, Marquest, are you growing these in bark? I truly believe bark is the answer to increasing
vitality in these jungle cacti.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 2:18PM
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Are the True Christmas cactus even available to buy ? I have one,but I have had it for years,never see them anymore to buy. So, every plant I am buying that says Christmas cactus is really thanksgiving?
Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 4:50PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Sharon.
They're available once in a while from certain vendors...but it isn't common.
If the leaf-margins on your plants are spiky, then you have Thanksgiving cacti, indeed.

I'll link a very helpful page: Recognition and Culture of the Holiday Cacti


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 5:16PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Thanks Josh, I love this link, it's just THE best on this topic.

I have to say my experience duplicates Sharon's, the only Holiday Cacti I usually see for sale (at box stores) are actually TCs (jagged edges) labeled as CCs.

However, somewhere in my travels I picked this one up, can't remember where. Its leaf edges do suggest the real CC in their roundedness. I think it may have come from my Indoor Gardening Society meetings & their Plant Sale Table.

Here's the pic.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 6:09PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

No Josh I am not growing them in bark. I might try that and save my last Easter Cactus. They keep rotting even though I do not water them. I am not a big water person because I am not home most of the time. My plants usually die from underwater and that is why I have not tried the gritty mix everybody talks about.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 6:41PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Marquest,

First, let me belatedly comment on how pretty a bloom that is opening the thread.

Second, try bottom watering your EC. Someone here suggested it in the last year & it's helped mine survive. I too struggle mightily w/ the EC, got 2 last year, was careful, but lost one & then started bottom watering the other & is just as you say. It's alive, looks awful, wayyyyy tooo embarrassing to show.

Also, you & I are not so far from each other (thinking climate-wise). We're both dealing with dry indoor heat. I use pebble trays under Holiday Cacti & Hoyas. Have you tried this? I believe it helps a lot.

Hi Josh,

I've been adding some bark, but I guess I need more. What else is in your CC mix if I could ask pls?

May I ask Josh if you use the same mix for your CC as you do your Hoyas?

Here's a shot of the edges of some cuttings recently given me by a lovely & generous GWer who wished for me to have the 'real thing', a true 'cc'. I really appreciated that spirit. (Ridiculously slow new growth, but it's a start.)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 8:46PM
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Hi this is my old fashion flowers have opened....this plant is about 7 years old, and its a piece from a very very old plant..I got it a a gift from a friend... I have been posting pictures of it in another thread..showing it budding and then starting to open..this picture was just taken tonight...

hope this helps you see the different leaves...linda

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:35PM
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greenjay(Zone 6)

~Emerald 1951 That's simply beautiful !!!!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Hi....thank you but I have to thank all here from GW that helped me keep it alive and growing...and blooming....
thanks to all........linda

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Wow! Absolutely beautiful as always Linda!

Karen: Yours look very healthy and I see new growth. Very nice.

My mixes are usually made of just bark, or bark and pumice combined. Mine seems to love being watered frequently even during the winter months in a mix like this without fear of rot.
I too also use this mix for my Hoyas which thrive in it.
I just love these plants and I am in the process of looking for a pure white one, TC that is. I have a couple CC starting to put out flowers and an EC that seems to be loving the greenhouse. Not sure of the color of flowers on this one though. The CC is budding like crazy right now.

Marquest, what can I say but beautiful! I LOVE the color and it looks like on the yellow side. It's a beauty there. By the way, it's good to see you again:-)


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:35PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Do you mean straight bark? The kind in which one grows orchids?

I have three Easter cacti and they are growing in regular old cactus/succlent mix. Seem to be doing fine but I'm open to a new way.



    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:58PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Karen!
That is the seminal web-page for identifying these jungle cacti, isn't it! Such a helpful, simple page.
Your plants are looking good.

Linda (Stone's river) and Karen, bark is the main component of both Hoya and Holiday Cacti mix.
I used fine-grade "Orchid Bark" (by E.B. Stone), and then I add some "grit" to increase durability and drainage.
I don't always use the same exact formula - but I always start with screened/rinsed bark (70 percent at least).
To the bark, I add a bit of Pumice, Perlite, or Turface. In the past, I would add a pinch of African Violet soil,
Orchid mix, or a pinch of other potting soil, but I don't do so anymore. Now I keep the mix free-draining.

In two of my Christmas Cactus pots, I am growing in pure bark, no amendments. One is a random pot of cuttings;
the other is a "bonsai" CC that I rooted from a woody cutting to see if it was possible.

Mike is also growing his jungle cacti in bark or bark with a little amendment (similar to what I do).
Since we're on opposite ends of the continent, we figured we'd give it a try and then compare our notes -
so far with excellent results. We both fertigate regularly, and water thoroughly without fear of root-rot.

Emerald, I never get tired of your plant! ;-)


    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:57AM
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