Coming from the rainforests of Brazil, zigocactus, popularly known as the Decembrist or Christmas cactus, has long and firmly won the hearts of lovers of indoor floriculture. Beautiful multi-tiered flowers adorn the plant for two to three winter months. With simple proper care, the Schlumbergera blooms every year. But sometimes the Decembrist wilts, stops blooming and, in the end, dies.
Causes of the disease and their elimination
Mistakes in leaving
The most common problem is related to improper care. Like all cacti, Decembrist calmly refers to dry soil or rare top dressing. According to experts, the rule applies to zygocactus: it is better to not complete than to transmit. To preserve the decorativeness of Schlumbergera, you need to know the causes of the problem.
Dry leaves cause excessive sunlight, too dry air and stressful situations. To avoid drying out of the leaf plates, it is better to put the flower on the windowsills of the western or southwestern windows. If it is impossible to put the pot with the plant away from the bright sun, the epiphyte needs to be shaded.
If the Christmas tree has soft leaves or he drops them, then the plant has problems with the root system or is infected with parasites.
Too wet soil at excessively low or high air temperatures causes rotting of Schlumbergera roots and the development of putrefactive processes in the pot. This happens due to overflow and when the flowerpot overheats, when the roots rumble and burn. Most often, overheating of the pot occurs because the flower is in the sun or directly above the central heating battery. In overheated earth, fermentation processes easily occur, leading to the death of the flower. Also, an excess of nitrogen leads to the burning of the roots .
Damage to the root system can be determined by observing the plant: if the flower is unstable or leaves the soil, it means that the roots of the cactus have decayed. You can reanimate the Christmas:
- by rooting healthy living segments to produce new seedlings;
- replanting the diseased flower in another dish, removing the dead part of the roots.
Another reason lies in fungal diseases. If the zygocactus wilted, became pale and rots at the root, then the plant is infected. Most often, the Decembrist gets sick:
- late blight;
- pitium (a type of root rot);
In general, infection of a plant occurs through infected soil. Some diseases develop very quickly. So, a pitium can destroy a flower in a few hours. The disease begins with root damage, then the buds and leaves wither and fall off. As a result, the plant dies. With late blight, the trunk of the plant turns yellow, starting from the root neck, the leaves become soft and fall off. With fusarium wilting, the leaves of the zygocactus are not fleshy, but dry and covered with light green or yellowish spots.
For the prevention and control of diseases late blight and pitium, Decembrist is treated with drug solutions:
- “Skor” - 0.5 ml per half liter of water;
- "Maxim" - 5 drops per two hundred gram glass of water;
- "Topaz" - 1 ml per 5 l of water;
- “Vitaros” - 0.5 ml per 0.5 l of water, twice with an interval of 10 days.
With Fusarium infection, treatment can help only at an early stage of the disease. The flower can be treated with a solution:
- the drug "Mikol" and other antifungal agents.
In case the disease is started, it is impossible to save the Decembrist. All that remains is to burn the diseased plant, and disinfect the soil and pot.
To prevent infection of the flower, a few days before planting, the soil substrate should be treated with boiling water, and a couple of days before planting in a slightly moist soil, add the Trichodermin biological product or its analogues.
Not only fungus or root decay leads to the death of Decembrist. If the leaves dry and turn yellow, and when viewed on them, yellow-brown spots up to half a centimeter in size are visible, which means that a sucking pest, a scale insect, has wound up on the flower . Despite its miniature nature, this parasite does significant harm, and if you do not pay attention to the problem in time, the plant will die. The most suitable medium for propagation of scale insects is very humid air . But the insect does not like high temperatures, which can be used to prevent the development of the affected area.
To combat the parasite, mechanical cleaning of the leaves with a cotton swab dipped in a solution of Karbofos or Tanrek is suitable. If insecticides are not available, home remedies will do.
- Dissolve 40 grams of laundry soap and 5 drops of kerosene in 1 liter of water. Stir well. Wipe the affected areas with a mixture;
- In a glass of water, insist one finely chopped onion for 2-3 hours.
Often, late blight disease is accompanied by a spider mite lesion. A small insect of green, red or brown color reproduces well in warm and very dry climates, causing stunting, wilting and shedding of leaves. To combat this parasite, they are sprayed with Fitoverm, Apollo and other tick-borne insecticides containing phosphorus and sulfur. After a few days, it is necessary to re-process. The duration of the break depends on the temperature in the room:
- at 19 ° C repeat treatment after 8-10 days;
- at 28 ° C and above, wait 3-4 days.
From folk remedies for combating spider mites, spraying the leaves with a solution of laundry soap is used.
Leave the applied solution until it dries completely for a couple of hours, after which the Christmas tree is carefully washed with clean water, removing the remaining soap, and covered with a plastic bag for a week or a little longer. After 7 days, re-treat and simultaneously increase air humidity.
A white coating on the leaves and nodes of the plant indicates that the zygocactus attacks the mealybug. A pinkish oval pest with transverse stripes on the back, covered with a whitish fluff, is a sucking insect and causes considerable harm, especially during flowering. In the damaged plant, flower buds dry and fall off, the leaves dry, and the plant itself is covered with a white coating of dried mucus.
Prevention of damage by a powdery parasite consists in the regular removal of dead leaves and timely watering of the plant.
If the pest has already been wound up on a Decembrist, then double spraying of a zigocactus with a solution of Confidor or a similar drug will help to cope with it.
What if the leaves turn red?
Sometimes in an apparently healthy plant the leaves begin to redden. There are several reasons for this.
- Too much bright light when the Schlumbergera comes to life after violent flowering. This usually happens in the spring and summer. To protect the flower from redness, you need to rearrange the plant, where the light is scattered.
- A lack of phosphorus leads to a decrease in chlorophyll, and the leaves turn red. Properly selected fertilizers will correct the situation, and the plant will delight the rapid growth of bright greenery.
- Red leaves indicate excessive soil moisture. The regulated irrigation regime will solve the problem.
Young shoots may also have a reddish color along the edge, but nothing needs to be done here. As soon as the leaf grows up, it will turn green.
In order for the Decembrist to actively grow and delight in rich flowering, you need to follow several rules for caring for the Schlumberger:
- the size of the pot should be slightly larger than the root of the plant and have a good drainage pillow;
- watering through a pan if necessary when the soil dries;
- spray, wipe the leaves and sometimes gently bathe the flower in the phase of active growth, covering the soil from excessive moisture;
- protect the flower from excessive heat, direct sunlight and drafts;
- to feed with suitable fertilizers, taking a break before the flowering period;
- transplanted once every four years, when the flower has entered the dormant phase;
- the flower does not like unnecessary movements, especially during flowering.
Zygocactus can be attributed to unpretentious plants, so the implementation of such simple actions will help maintain the Decembrist in a healthy form. And if suddenly the plant gets sick, do not lose your head. For any task you can find a solution.
About why the Decembrist withers, see the video below.