Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) is an ornamental, flowering cactus resembles other species of the genus Schlumbergera in that it has leafless green stems which act as photosynthetic organs. The stems are composed of strongly flattened segments, which have two or three “teeth” of varying shapes along their edges and at the ends. The ends of the stems are “cut off” (truncated) rather than pointed. Individual segments are about 4–6 cm long by 1.5–3.5 cm wide. The flowers are up to 8 cm long and 6 cm across. There are six to eight tepals, which may be of various colors, including shades of red, orange, pink and white. The fruit is red, pear-shaped, and about 1.2 cm long or exceptionally up to 2.3 cm long. The shiny seeds are black, each with a diameter of about 1 mm.
Species: S. truncata
Scientific Name: Schlumbergera truncata
Synonyms: Epiphyllum truncatum, Zygocactus truncatus, Cactus truncatus, Cereus truncatus.
Common Names:False Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Crab Cactus, Claw Cactus, Linkleaf, Yoke Cactus.
How to grow and maintain Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus):
It thrives best in the bright, but indirect light. Direct sunlight should be avoided, as it can cause brown spots.
It prefers to grow in neutral, Well-drained soil. Use a mixture of 1 part potting soil and 1 part fine-grade fir bark.
To set flower buds, the plant needs cool 60-65°F/16-18°C days and 45°F-55°F/7-13°C nights. Once buds set, 70°F-75°F/21-24°C days and 60°F-70°F/16-21°C nights. Plant death can occur at below 50°F (10°C).
Water regularly, keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. After flowering, water sparingly until new growth begins in spring.
Fertilize every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. After blooms have dropped, stop fertilizing for a month.
It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Take stem cuttings from one to four segments. Allow the cut ends to dry for 24 hours before placing upright in moist perlite. Rooting occurs between 3-4 weeks. It is rarely propagated by seed, sow seeds in the spring.
Re-pot every year or every 2 years in the mid-summer. Never re-pot during the bloom or following resting period. Re-pot by removing only the loose soil around the roots. Transfer immediately to a wider pot.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus. Add an insecticide to the water 2 to 3 times a year to combat pests as well as a systemic fungicide to prevent the orange and brown spotting that sometimes affects them.