Good old Christmas cacti, or schlumbergera, can live for a very long time – they’re like an old friend on the windowsill, celebrating the festive season along with us by producing glorious, silky pink or red blooms.
They’re easy to maintain and unfussy, probably because in their wild habitat of jungle woodland they have to be easy-going in order to survive.
They’re a pleasure to have around the house, so why not propagate yours to populate your windowsills further, or to make some Christmas gifts in advance?
It’s better than buying them and friends and family will appreciate the gesture.
It’s ridiculously easy to do, and something children might find fun as a little project. Be warned though, once you’ve started you won’t look back, seeking out schlumbergera to propagate – it’s so addictive!
You can either take individual segments of stem to use as your base material, or snap off little sections of three to make a fuller plant.
You might want to leave each segment to dry for a day, which will seal up a little, meaning it’s less likely any of them will rot when planted.
Then pot them up in a well-draining seed or cuttings compost, mixed with a little Vermiculite or sharp sand.
Your cuttings will root either sooner or later – they may take up to around 12 weeks, after which you can pot them up and show them off.
Step by step
- Remove one or two sections of cactus stem, twisting and pulling each one off carefully.
- Plant in cuttings compost, inserted half way in with the spiky edges facing upwards.
- Water in carefully and pop in a warm spot at around 20C (68F) with indirect sunlight.
- Leave them for a month or two and when they’ve rooted pot each cutting up individually.