Q. How do I take cuttings of a Christmas cactus?
Christmas cactus or Schlumbergera is a popular houseplant grown for its colorful winter blooms. Hybrids of the original species are native to moist tropical forest regions. Also called jungle cacti, they are grown for their colorful winter blooms which flower in early or late winter. To propagate, take cuttings at any time in the spring or summer. Do this by removing two or three joined segments from a well-grown plant, and allow to dry for a few hours. Then insert the bottom segment gently into a 3-inch pot of the recommended mixture. Several cuttings may be inserted around the edge of a larger pot, if desired. Care for the cuttings as mature plants. They should start growing in about a month.
A peat-based potting mixture can be used made more porous with an addition of one part coarse sand or perlite to three parts of the standard potting mix. This well-drained mixture will help keep the shallow root system from rotting. Although Schlumbergera is generally a winter-flowering plant, its stems grow most actively from spring to early fall. During the entire year, except for a short period following the end of the flowering, water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service