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Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Posted by mike5210 7 (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 10, 06 at 9:27

Hello All,

I need some help! Although I have been very successful in hybridizing many different types of plants, including orchids, I have failed miserably at attempting to do Christmas Cactus...Could someone please tell me what the secret is? I've pollinated several flowers but have had no success. I have tried different times of the day also. What gives?

Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Do you know the parts of the reproductive organs of the flowers? You use a brush or a cats whisker to hold the pollen, and remove some pollen from one plant and move it to the stigma of the other. It may be self fertile, so you will need another unrelated plant for the father. You should find the pollen on fresh anthers. This is a very simple explanation. Most of these plants are self fertile or complete some are self sterile. Norma


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Although I'm very familiar with the reproductive parts of a flower, I didn't know about the Self Sterile traits of the christmas cactus. Thanks to your suggestion, I have now tried to cross two different plants. Thanks so much for your reply.. I'll let you know if it works.

Mike


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

You can just set the two plants close together and smoosh two flowers together. You will soon know if the pollination took, the base of the flower will quickly swell. It takes a long time for the seed to ripen.


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Schlumbergera are not self-fertile, so the attempt with two plants should be much more fruitful.


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Hi Mike,

Some hybridizers have altered the chromesomes in their newer hybrids so that they either don't set seed or the seeds are sterile and will not germinate. Follow the previous suggestions and keep trying with other schlumbergera combinations.

June


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Hello,

It appears that the end of the stigma "splits" as the flower ages. At what stage is it most receptive? Is it best to apply pollen while the stigma ends are still clumped, or wait until they separate? I am trying both, but figure there is a "best" way.

Thanks,
Bill


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

I don't know the terms but I circled it in the image below:

I was told that when it (the circled area) opens into a "five point star", the ovaries are receptive and you dust pollen onto it.

I attempted it last year with a pink thanksgiving cactus and a yellow thanksgiving cactus. The pink resulted in nothing but the yellow ended up having three fruits. Two of them fell off earlier on and one continued to plump up for months until it fell off. I opened the fruit, saved the seeds, and... lost them. I'm still peeved about that but all I can really do is try again.

I was told that you can't fertilize the plant with itself. You have to do it with a plant that is of a different color.


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Thank you very much for the information. I think I applied the pollen a bit too early, as most of them had not opened into a star shape. However, I did use pollen from different plants.
Thanks again,
Bill


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RE: Pollinating Schlumbergera

Hi cactus growers!

Since this is my question too, I thought I would resurrect this thread. I've been trying to cross pollinate several of my Shlumbergera varieties. None seem to take. There is definitely pollen being transferred, I can see it. The stigmas dont seem to open into the star shape - Im wondering if special growth conditions are needed to make that happen, or if opening it mechanically is successful?

Currently I have white, red, salmon, and pink, all in bloom at the same time. It would be interesting if at least one combination resulted in success!


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

eukofios: "open into the star shape"? The stigmata of Schlumbergera do not open up as they do in many other cacti (Astrophytum capricorne, for example), if that is what you mean. It is not necessary, I have just transferred some pollen with a brush to the outside of the stigma, and that's it. I cannot say exactly what went wrong with your attempts, of course. Do the flowers just dry up and fall off?


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Tjicken-
yes, they just dry up and fall off. I recently tried applying more pollen on stigmata of current flowers. We'll see what happens.


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Success! This time there are fruits. I pollinated about 10 flowers on 3 different plants, each with pollen from a different color pollen parent.

Now about half of those have small fruits starting to form.

I think now it's a matter of waiting quite a long time until the fruits enlarge and ripen -

White variety (with green fruit)
schlumbergera fruit 3

red variety (with red fruit)
schlumbergera fruit 1

pink variety (fruit color intermediate)
schlumbergera fruit 2

Interesting how that worked out with the fruit color.


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

I have been hybridizing christmas cacti for over 10 years now and have had good success. One thing that I have noticed is that some colors seem to be sterile as far as nothing will pollinate them I have one white variety that nothing will pollinate it. It is however able to pollinate other plants. Also I have an orange colored flower that seems to pollinate but the fruit aborts. Anyhow here are some pictures of offspring from my crosses.
Photobucket
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Photobucket
note that my phylloclades are smoother in the margins than most. One of the original plants in my breeding was a christmas cacti the others have been crab or thanksgiving cacti.


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Beautiful! THe orange one is especially cool. I've never seen that color in a holiday cactus before!

How long does it take for the fruit to ripen, and are there any special methods needed for sprouting the seeds?


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Usually I let the fruit sit on the plants until June or July. I slice the fruit out and scrape the small black seeds out onto a paper towel to dry for a few days. I then scrape them off and put them in storage for a while. Then usually in the fall or winter I start up a batch from one of the previous years in a small 4" pot. I use potting soil that I get moist prior to putting the seeds in. I then sprinkle the seeds on the surface and then I usually sprinkle some fine peat moss or light material in a thin layer over the seeds then I cover them with saran wrap and place them on my seed starting pad with flourescent lights lights over them. This is a picture of my set up.
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This is a picture of some seedlings from 05's crosses started in 06 but the picture is actually spring of 07. I did both easter and christmas cacti that year from seed
Photobucket


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RE: Christmas Cactus Hybridizing

Cool setup - If mine make it to ripening, I plan to try the same thing. Thanks for sharing. Yours are especially interesting in that you have hybrids between xmas and thanksgiving species. I also use yogurt cups for seedlings and cuttings.

I found an article online about Schlumbergera from seed, link below.

This is fun. I also did the same thing starting a clivia hybrid, but that is a different forum, and they take much longer to mature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Schlumbergera from seed


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