Schlumbergera truncata or Thanksgiving Cactus is a beautiful epiphytic cactus from Brazil. This cactus is very similar to S. bridgesii, but the margins of the joints are sharply 2-4 serrate. There are many cultivars and flower color can range from white to pink to reds and purple. Plants can range from 6-18 inches (15-45 cm) tall and most are usually 9-15 inches (22-38 cm) wide. These cascading cacti are great in hanging baskets and are very easy to grow. They are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 10b-11.
Blooming: This cactus blooms from late October into January. Flowers are zygomorphic, hooded and tubular. Individual flowers will reach from 2.75-4.75 inches (7-12 cm) long.
Culture: Schlumbergera truncata needs light shade to partial shade with a very well drained soil mix. We use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of peat moss and sand with bark nuggets added to ensure good drainage. We keep the plants moist at all times and fertilize every week with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. In August we move the plants to the coolest location in the greenhouse to help in initiating flower development. At this time we change fertilizer to a 15-30-15 diluted to one-half the recommended rate until the flowering period is over. When flowering is over we allow the plants to dry somewhat, but never enough to cause the joints to shrivel.
Propagation: Schlumbergera truncata is easily propagated by cuttings.
Schlumbergera truncata was featured as Plant of the Week November 26-December 3, 2009.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.