The six natural species of Schlumbergera
There are only six naturally occurring species of Schlumbergera:
- Schlumbergera kautskyi
- Schlumbergera microsphaerica
- Schlumbergera opuntioides
- Schlumbergera orssichiana
- Schlumbergera russelliana
- Schlumbergera truncata
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There are also a number of varieties that were bred as hybrids.
Growth as epiphytes
Some species of Schlumbergera grow as epiphytes on other plants. In doing so, they do not remove nutrients from the host plants, but rather provide for themselves through rain and dew.
Other species belong to the Schlumbergera that thrive in the ground, such as the species russelliana or truncata.
Caring for the Schlumbergera as a houseplant
The Schlumbergera has started its triumphal march as a houseplant because its beautiful mostly red and occasionally white flowers appear especially at Christmas time. Care in the house requires a certain amount of tact, especially if the Christmas cactus is to bloom for more than one season.
It values a bright location, but does not like direct sunlight in summer. You are welcome to put it outside as long as the temperatures are high enough.
There is plenty of watering in summer without waterlogging. In order for the Schlumbergera to develop flowers, it is placed a little cooler in winter at 10 to 15 degrees. The pouring quantities are now significantly reduced. Sometimes you can even achieve a second bloom if you only water the Schlumbergera a little for several weeks after the first bloom.
No more artificial light after the flowers have developed
A special feature of the Schlumbergera is that it needs short periods of daylight when it has developed flowers. As soon as flower buds appear, place them in a room where no additional light is turned on. If you do not have such a space available, cover the plant with a dark hood as soon as you illuminate the room with artificial light.
The Schlumbergera is closely related to other cactus species such as Rhipsalis, Hatiora and Lepismium. It owes its botanical name to the French collector of cacti, Frédéric Schlumberger.