There are several conditions that must be met in order to propagate the Christmas cactus. This flower loves moisture and sunlight but does not tolerate drafts, cold and stagnant water.
The Christmas Cactus, also known as Schlumberger’s zygocactus, Schlumbergera truncata, Thanksgiving cactus is a forest cactus native to Brazil, growing in the tropics and subtropics. The main feature, which is why many growers love it, is that its flowers bloom in January.
They replace each other almost all winter and delight the eye with bright colors against the background of white snow outside the window. It is because of its unusual flowering time that it got its name.
There are many options for the shades of this plant, so each housewife will be able to choose a suitable Christmas Cactus for herself.
Mostly Christmas flowers are white, pink, yellow, or orange, but there are also rare shades created thanks to breeders. This plant is known, it can be found in almost every apartment, but not all growers know how to propagate the Christmas Cactus correctly. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
The plant takes root and grows well if properly cared for.
Can You Propagate Christmas Cactus?
Yes, There are several ways how to Propagate Christmas Cactus:
- Segments (air layering);
- Parts of the root
Steps by step Guide for propagating Christmas cactus
soil for Propagating Christmas Cactus
It is better to plant the Christmas Cactus in a mixture of sand, peat, and leafy soil. You can also add crushed charcoal and expanded clay, and then mix everything thoroughly to make the soil homogeneous.
Such a substrate practically does not accumulate moisture and is breathable. Experienced flower growers advise calcining the soil in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes to disinfect it.
A third of the pot should be occupied by drainage. The Rozhdestvennik does not like stagnant water, as in nature he lives in trees and between stones, where there is practically no soil.
You can use specialized loose soil for forest cacti or soil for orchids for planting. This plant prefers slightly acidic soil. Therefore, before planting, it is better to do an acidity test using special strips that are sold in gardening stores.
Time and temperature
You need to propagate the Christmas Cactus after flowering. Otherwise, it may affect its growth and development. Each variety of zygocactus blooms at different times: November-January, December or March.
The best breeding season for the Christmas Cactus is the end of February. If this time is missed, then cuttings can be taken in the spring or early summer, before the time for the growth of the leaf mass.
The comfortable temperature for breeding Schlumberger’s zygocactus is 170-20 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is higher, the cutting will dry out, and if it is lower, it will rot.
The flower must be constantly sprayed, as it is very moisture-loving. You can shower the stems in the shower, covering the soil with something to keep the water out. In winter, you need to spray it once every two to three days. But during breeding, if there is too much moisture, the cutting will rot.
Should be high and not wide. Plastic cups up to 200 g can be used. This volume of cuttings is enough for a year. There must be holes in the bottom of the container to drain excess water.
Do not use a pot that is too large, as the flower can rot in it. Also, if the roots of the Schlumberger do not cover the entire volume of the earth in the pot, it will not bloom. Therefore, for transplanting, take a pot slightly larger than the previous one.
Here is a detailed article on What Soil To Use For Christmas Cactus?
How to Propagate Christmas Cactus (Schlumberger) by cuttings
The easiest way to propagate a Christmas Cactus flower at home is by cuttings. This way of propagation is a guarantee that the shade of the flowers of the young Christmas tree will be the same as that of the mother plant.
Choosing the time
It is best to choose cuttings in late February or spring after the zygocactus has faded. At this time, the Schlumberger leaf growth season usually begins.
Choosing a stalk and separating it from the plant
Select the stalk and separate it from the plant. Use long leaf cuttings on the shoots. These stems should be free of mechanical damage and with good turgor.
It is desirable that they have air roots, sometimes arising from high humidity in the room. Cuttings cannot be cut with a knife or scissors, so just take and unscrew the branch in two or three segments clockwise, holding the mother’s stem with your other hand so as not to break it. So the stalk will receive less trauma and will survive reproduction more easily.
Landing in the ground
After you have separated the cutting, simply plant it in the ground. Many growers dry it by placing it on a newspaper and leaving it in the sun for two to three days. This pause allows the cuttings to heal microcracks that have arisen during separation from the mother plant.
Once it’s dry, plant it in moist soil. The sprout must be covered with earth until the middle. You can place an inverted jar or plastic bag on top to create a mini greenhouse. Once a day, the jar or bag must be removed for several hours for airing.
If a sprout has sprouted new stems, it means that it has grown roots. Now it can be transplanted into a larger container if required.
Propagating Christmas Cactus in water (root christmas cactus in water)
You can put the stalk in water. Use a container with warm water, it should cover the stem to the middle. If the water has evaporated, pour in the required amount. If the water turns yellow and thick, it means that it has deteriorated. you can root Christmas cactus in water.
Change it and wash the cutting, then place it in a clean container. After 5-14 days, roots will appear on it. When they become longer than two centimeters, the sprout can be planted in the ground.
Make a depression in the middle of the potting soil and place the sprouted stalk there. Be sure to add plenty of water, but do not overfill. After that, you can put the pot on a windowsill or other place suitable for a zygocactus.
In order for the cutting to grow roots faster, you can use the growth activator Kornevin.
Why does the stalk of Christmas Cactus wither or rot
If the stalk begins to wilt, it means that a fungal infection has appeared in it. Treat it with a fungicide. If, after using the product, the Christmas Cactus continued to wither, it means that his root system has died. Draft or cold watering could be the cause.
Too much watering may cause the stalk to rot. In this case, it must be removed from the ground, cut off the decaying part, and dried again within two days. After that, plant it in new soil and water it less often than you did before.
Propagate Christmas Cactus by segments (air layers)
To take an air layer from the Christmas Cactus, it must be watered abundantly. The next day, you can select a few leaves and break them off. It is necessary to take those segments on which small white roots have grown. Thanks to them, the plant takes root faster and takes root better.
After the layers have been pinched off, they are planted in moist soil and covered with a jar or bag. Remove the greenhouse once a day to ventilate the sprouts. Otherwise, they can become moldy or rot.
Propagating Christmas Cactus by grafting
Reproduction of zygocactus by vaccination is used extremely rarely. For a scion, a Christmas Cactus with three segments is needed.
The upper part of the prickly pear is cleaned from its leaf buds, an incision is made in the upper part and a pointed Christmas tree stalk is inserted there. It is better to secure the vaccination site with a medical plaster.
Until the cuttings have taken root, the plant should stand in a room with a temperature of +18 degrees. Do not place the plant in direct sunlight, the light should be diffused.
Lateral shoots of prickly pear, which may appear, are removed so that the plant does not lose the necessary strength. The fixing bandage can be removed after new leaves appear on the Christmas Cactus.
Propagation of Christmas Cactus by seeds
This method is usually used only by breeders. But if you want to grow your own Christmas Cactus variety with a unique shade, then you will need to propagate the flower by seeds.
Remember that zygocactus is cross-pollinated. That is, at the time of flowering, two or three plants with different shades of flowers will be needed. Do not forget that the seeds will appear only from pollinated Christmas Cactus.
After flowering, the seeds ripen for six to eight months. They look like rose hips. When the berry becomes soft, it is removed and the pulp is removed from the seeds. They are usually planted in the spring.
Before planting, it is advisable to rinse the seeds in potassium permanganate. Then spread them over the damp soil surface. It is not advisable to sprinkle them with sand or cover them with glass or film.
The first shoots will appear in seven days. A pick is carried out every three months in the first year, then every six months.
The Christmas Cactus propagated in this way begins to bloom no earlier than in the third year of life.
Young bushes need to be replanted every spring. The flower tolerates it well and, thanks to it, is less sick.
See also the best time to transplant cactus with different methods at home.
How to propagate Christmas Cactus at home with leaves?
If it is not possible to get a normal stalk, flower growers resort to the propagation of the Christmas Cactus flower by a leaf, that is, in one segment. For cuttings, they usually try to pinch off two or three segments. Usually, propagation by cuttings is used, as they take root better, but the method using leaves also works.
Choosing a good leaf
Choose fresh, large leaves with good turgor, no scratches, or other mechanical damage. It is best to take leaves with roots.
Preparation and landing
Gently pinch off the sheet, turning it clockwise, then leave it for two or three days in the shade, laying it on the newspaper so that it dries up and overgrows the damage invisible to the eye.
Then, plant the leaf in moist, loose soil about half its length and cover it with a jar or bag to create a mini greenhouse.
Before planting in the ground, the leaf can be placed in Kornevin’s solution. When the roots appear, it can be planted in the ground in a permanent place.
In general, the propagation of a Christmas Cactus flower by a leaf is almost the same as using cuttings. This method is the least popular as cuttings take root better than leaves.
Propagate Christmas Cactus by part of root
This method can be used if the plant is sick or wilted, but the root remains intact.
For reproduction of the Christmas Cactus part of the root, you first need to prepare the soil. To do this, mix peat with earth and coarse sand and water it. After that, inspect the root and cut off the damaged areas.
Place the rest of the root in a potassium permanganate solution for half an hour. Then dry it by sprinkling the cuts with charcoal.
Plant the root in the ground at a shallow depth, after planting it must be watered and covered with a jar or bag on top, creating a greenhouse. As soon as new shoots appear, the greenhouse can be removed.
It will be possible to transplant the plant into a new pot only after it has grown.
Christmas Cactus Young plant care
You need to care for young shoots in the same way as for an adult plant. It can only be watered with warm water. If after twenty minutes there is still water in the pan, drain it.
Before watering, it must be defended for 24 hours so that all chlorine and its derivatives have time to disappear. If the air in the room with the Christmas tree is dry, you also need to spray the flower with warm water without chlorine. Water the plant only if the topsoil is completely dry, otherwise the Christmas Cactus will rot.
The buds that appear on cuttings that do not have roots must be removed so that the plant does not spend the strength necessary for root growth on flowering. Do not move cuttings pots until rooting is complete, which is complete one month after planting. The easiest way to understand that the flower is rooted is by the roots visible from the drainage holes in the bottom of the flowerpot.
It may seem that propagating a Christmas Cactus is difficult and time-consuming. But in fact, this flower multiplies very easily and takes root in new soil. By following the simple rules for caring for Schlumberger’s zygocactus, you will get a lot of emotions watching a plant blooming in the middle of winter.