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Christmas cactus, a Cactus that we may have already received for the Christmas holidays or we have given it away. This is no coincidence: the plant we are going to get to know it produces flowers at that time so it is perfect to make a good impression on those who give it.
Christmas cactus: plant
He is not originally from the country of Santa Claus but from a completely different area: comes from Brazil and in botanical jargon it assumes the more "technical" name but certainly less likeable than Schlumbergera. Its family is that of the Cactaceae. In Europe this Cactus that blooms in winter has arrived to furnish our homes, in fact, we find it as a houseplant rather than as an element of gardens or flower beds.
Christmas cactus: reproduction
The reproduction of the Christmas cactus takes place by cuttings and to ensure a greater probability of success we proceed in spring. At least two sections of leaves should be taken, even better if three, and should be placed in a bowl full of water, two out of three even completely submerged.
The cuttings so arranged must be in the sun but not exposed to direct light which could damage their development. A little patience and the roots will begin to sprout and reach a length equal to the starting cutting. Then you need a new small container with two parts of specific soil for succulent plants and a part of sand, the cuttings settled there with their roots must be irrigated making sure that the temperature is around 21 ° C during the day and not too low at night.
The new Christmas cactus it must also be fertilized once a month, from spring to autumn.
Christmas cactus: soft leaves
It can happen that the leaves get damaged when we leave this plant too exposed to direct sun, will appear in the case of burn species. On the other hand, the appearance of soft leaves, caused by excessive watering, is different they rot the roots and can even cause the death of the plant. Another cause of soft or tanned leaves are fungi which, however, act "from inside" and the first evident damage is a symptom of a dramatic situation.
Christmas cactus: care
To grow the Christmas cactus with love and attention it is necessary to guarantee it an environment in which the temperature is around 20 ° C. If the room is bright, the flowering lasts longer, but it always happens in winter. In the warm months this cactus is also good on the balcony or in the garden, but in late autumn it is better to move it indoors, because it does not withstand frosts at all.
Christmas cactus: pruning
Pruning should never be done except when the flowers are fading that is towards spring because it should be remembered as the Christmas cactus, being native to the tropical forests of South America, its seasons are "a little confused".
When watering it is necessary pay close attention so that no stagnations are created, as far as the soil is concerned, as well as being well drained, it is better that it is at an acid pH and possibly contains peat.
Christmas cactus: flowering
We have already said that it happens in winter, more precisely between December and January. When they appear the flowers can be of various colors, from pink to red and from purple to purplish red. There may be a danger that the flower buds will wither before they bloom, so let's keep our cactus sheltered from both drafts and heat sources, we avoid it being near a door that is opened or even a fireplace or stove.
Christmas cactus: diseases
If swallowed give it pets, this plant can create problems. It is therefore best to place it where neither dog nor cat can reach its leaves. The most common and obvious symptoms are diarrhea or vomiting, in case we notice them better contact the vet.
Christmas cactus: price
A plant like this it can live even 20 or 30 years if well maintained, it is therefore not priced like a disposable cactus. The cost of each piece depends on the size and also on the color, as some are rarer than others. Less than 10 euros is unlikely to cost.
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