The real decoration of home flower collections is the Decembrist. Relatively unpretentious in the care, the plant blooms with bright flowers in the coldest time of the year - it begins to bloom in November, ends in January. It blooms long and plentifully. These remarkable qualities did not go unnoticed by scientists; many varieties were brought up that delight in a variety of colors.
The correct name for the Decembrist is Zygocactus Schlumbergera (lat. Schlumbergera). There are several names among the people: crab cactus, Barbarian braid, barbarian color, Decembrine, Christmas tree.
The plant received its last name because the most active flowering occurs in December-January. And they call him “barbarian” because the beginning of flowering often coincides with December 17, when the Orthodox celebrate Varvarin Day.
Originally from Schlumberger from rainforests located in southeast Brazil. This fact explains the unusual time of its flowering - summer is in full swing in this part of the globe.
Decembrist belongs to a large group of succulents. This is not a specific botanical category. So called plants that are able to accumulate fluid in the tissues and in this way survive dry periods without any problems.
Although it is referred to cacti as a schlumberger, it does not have spines; they are replaced by hairs. And unlike desert cacti, Decembrist is very fond of moisture.
In nature, zigocactus often resembles a vine, its flowers are mainly red and white. It grows on other woody plants, but uses them only as a support for the roots. The flower is not a parasite; it receives nutrients from the environment through leaves and a special system of aerial roots. Such plants are called epiphytes.
Natural Schlumbergera can rarely be found at home, since it is difficult to care for, requires the creation of a special microclimate, and differs in quite solid dimensions (up to a meter).
At home, the Schlumbergera does not grow above 50 cm, it branches strongly. The root system is rather weak and not very large, prone to diseases, but at the same time it is easily restored.
Flowers can be tiered with long elegant stamens. Petals, depending on the variety, have a very different shape: pointed, rounded, curved. Buds are formed at the ends of flat stalk branches having a link structure and combining the functions of leaves and peduncles.
Breeders bred a lot of varieties, surprising a variety of colors - from pink and orange to purple. Here are just a plain blue Christmas tree does not yet exist.
The scientific classification of zygocactus is very complex, this plant has been described by botanists from different countries since the beginning of the XIX century. For amateur gardeners, a simpler version has been created in which the main types of plants created artificially are distinguished. For a long time in home collections it was possible to meet them.
But easily selectable and very popular plant arouses constant interest of scientists, therefore, to date, many varieties have been bred.
This is the oldest view. It was this persistent and unpretentious zigocactus, pleasing with a long flowering period - from November to March - that they began to call the Decembrist.
A strong lush plant up to fifty centimeters in height tolerates a change in habitat , caring for it does not present any difficulties.
The leaves of the plant are succulent, dark green in color. The buds and flowers of the Buckley zigocactus are large (up to eight centimeters); they can have different colors, mainly pink and purple.
The species “Truncated” is appreciated by flower growers for the variety of colors and unusual plant structure.
Flowers of this variety have two tiers and graceful curved petals. The exquisite appearance is complemented by pointed light green carved leaves. The “truncated” look is called for the special beveled shape of the flower tube.
Pleases with this succulent and color scheme. Inflorescences can be purple, pink, white, raspberry, orange, combined.
Another interesting decorative feature of this species: after flowering, it is still decorated with small berries-fruits for some time. They are not edible, but not toxic, safe for children and pets.
Gentle large flowers of the “White” type can almost completely cover the entire green mass of the plant. An abundantly flowering bush of delicate colors is able to make a festive note in the most austere interior.
Absolutely not capricious, but outwardly very attractive stunted Decembrist (no more than 30 centimeters) is a real find for beginner florists. Inflorescences delight with red, purple, pink shades. Stem leaves are juicy and bright green.
The species was bred exclusively by the efforts of nerds. In nature, Schlumbergera does not have yellow flowers. Sunny, bright large "stars" look especially original in frosty winter days.
Unusual flowers of this Christmas tree resemble lush terry cloves with white or pale pink petals and yellow stamens. The plant looks great in a spacious room, giving it a formal and solemn appearance.
Visible and bright flower. Particularly expressive is the contrast between red or orange bell-shaped inflorescences and dark green leaves.
The similarity in the conditions of existence and in care allows you to create an unusual, spectacular mix of Decembrists of different types. Two or four varieties can be planted in one container, achieving unique compositions by combining several shapes, sizes, colors of the petals, and the height of the stems.
The names of the Schlumbergera varieties reflect both the origin and decorative features of the plant. There are a lot of varieties, their description is more about differences in color and shape of the petals. The links of the stem may differ in size, less often - in shape and color.
For the cultivation of yellow varieties of Schlumbergera, it took many years of selection work. The Decembrist “Golden Fever” (or “Gold Rush”) is famous for its multi-tiered large velvety flowers. Saturated yellow shades of the petals with a soft crimson middle and bright green leaves give the plant a special highlight.
A very compact variety with surprisingly delicate colors: large white flowers have a long pink pestle and delicate yellow stamens. Pleases with long flowering (up to four months).
White-pink, not very large flowers of this variety resemble bright tropical birds that landed on green stems for a moment. Very sweet, elegant and beautiful variety. It blooms generously and for a long time.
Charming, very delicate flowers of peach and pink shades with an orange border have rounded curved edges and therefore appear larger. The stems are long, drooping. A rather rare variety with an unusual color is a real find for lovers.
One of the most famous and unusual varieties. Crossing bright pink and snow-white zygocactus, scientists expected that the main color of the petals would be pink, turning closer to the middle in pearl. It turned out the opposite, but no less beautiful: smoky petals framed with raspberry fringing. Samba brasil combines wonder and elegance in an amazing way.
This variety is distinguished by its compact crown and bright red inflorescences with a light stripe in the center of each petal. Stem segments are short, glossy, saturated green, very durable. The buds of one of the varieties of the variety - Kris Kringle II - are painted in orange tones.
The variety has vertical resistant shoots with small segments. The flowers are also not very large, painted in salmon and peach tones.
This variety is a real gem among the Decembrists. Elegant bright large flowers with rounded petals of lilac and lavender shades will undoubtedly decorate any room.
Red-orange flowers of this variety will paint bright tropical colors on any frosty day and create a sunny mood on New Year's holidays.
"Dance of the Madonna"
The unique three-color variety causes unchanging delight. Bright blue petals have a burgundy or purple border, and the stamens are fiery red. The lushly flowering plant really resembles the frozen steps of a passionate dance.
General care rules
The lush and bright flowering of Schlumbergera is easy to provide with a very simple care. For this, it is necessary to bring the conditions of its existence as close as possible to the natural ones, taking into account the life cycle of zigocactus.
In October - November, the plant rests. It should be watered no more than once a week, and the room temperature should be reduced to 18 degrees.
November and December are the time when buds appeared. It is necessary to monitor the condition of the soil and water it abundantly as it dries. In early December, a wet “fog” should be created around the plant more often and the temperature should be kept at least 25 degrees.
From December to February - the flowering period . The plant loves light, but direct sunlight should not fall on it. At this time, it must be located on the south, south-west side, to ensure high humidity and diffused lighting. It is impossible to change the location of the pot at this time - the plant can drop buds.
From March to August, the plant grows actively. At this time, you can transfer the Schlumbergera to the north or east side, water well, regularly feed (every two weeks).
The branches of the Christmas tree will reach the sun, so that the crown develops symmetrically, the pot must be rotated about once every 20-30 days.
Beautiful plant formation, flowering stimulation is facilitated by a special procedure - plucking stems. You cannot cut segments with a knife, you need to break them off, but it’s better to carefully unscrew them. An operation is performed in early summer, damaged, extra shoots are exposed to it. Thus, by the time of flowering, larger and brighter buds are formed on healthy young stems.
The watering regime should be carefully observed. Although Decembrist refers to cacti and is able to accumulate moisture, frequent drying of the soil harms the plant. But he does not need too much watering either.
It is necessary to water the Schlumberger with warm clean water (you can stand, boiled, room temperature). Cold water cannot be used for these purposes: the roots can rot, and the buds can stop developing.
In addition to root watering, Decembrist needs constant spraying. In summer, this procedure is carried out every two to three days. Leaves can be washed under a warm shower, covering the soil with polyethylene. A flowering plant should not be subjected to such a procedure.
When choosing soil, it should be remembered that in nature epiphytes grow on trees, so an easy and loose mixture of peat, sand, humus and garden soil will be ideal for them. Soil should occupy two thirds of the volume, and drainage should be one third.
The Decembrist pot should be wide and short, with several drainage holes.
Fertilizing the Christmas is needed, like all other plants. Fertilizers are suitable for cacti or succulents, but the dosage indicated in the instructions must be reduced. The optimal regimen is once a month, during the growth period - once every 14 days, in October - early November, the plant should not be fertilized.
It also happens that, despite all efforts, the Decembrist stubbornly does not want to bloom. To “wake up” the plant, experts advise moving it to a cool place in mid-September and leaving it alone for one to two months. Toward the end of November, place in diffused sunlight and increase watering.
Growing a Schlumberger, you must remember that the flower is really unpretentious and tenacious. It is a great neighbor for other house plants.
But abundant flowering, bright color of the petals can provide only the correct and timely care. The plant will die only in the most extreme case, but it is quite capable of stopping flowering.
Decembrist is a long-lived flower. In favorable conditions can live more than fifteen years. Well-groomed and pleased with the conditions of existence of the Schlumberger at the time of flowering, it resembles a bright firework and is able to decorate any interior.
See more about species and varieties of the Decembrist in the next video.