Zygocactus: How to Take Care & Grow | A Detail Guide
The Zygocactus is a plant that is difficult to forget, both for the most popular name with which it is identified and for its beauty. Many large and brightly colored flowers usually extraordinarily color the winter too. And among the best-known varieties, you can find the Zygocactus, which is always ready to make it known during the most awaited holiday period of the year in an elegant way.
The Zygocactus stems also develop upwards in the early stages of life and then assume a drooping posture during their growth. The colorful flowers grow at the very end of these stems (they can measure up to 8cm in length), which cancel out the “wild aspect,” making it fascinating.
Many gifts are received at Christmas, and even the Zygocactus is ready to give something incredible: a spectacular winter flower.
Tips for Growing the Zygocactus
The species and the various cultivars of the holiday cactus do not present particular difficulties of cultivation and care. Still, it is necessary to practice some fundamental tips to enjoy the beauty of a lively flowering. It’s only through this means that the plant will be able to color your environment during Christmas.
Cultivation in Pots
It is recommended that you grow the Zygocactus only in pots. Yes, they are very resistant plants, but their origin is tropical. Recreating their perfect natural habitat in the garden all year round is difficult (they hate frost and love humidity levels of 50-60 %.). The Schlumbergera truncata also do best growing in moderate to high humidity – above 50%, if possible.
Everything is simpler in pots: it will be possible to move the plant to every different corner of the house (even on the balcony, but never under direct sunlight) to always guarantee the ideal light and the perfect temperature. You don’t need large pots, just high-quality soil. Repotting must also take place every 2/3 years.
When the Zygocactus is cultivated in pots, the temperature must never drop below 10 ° C. Even if, in homes where the temperature is much higher, it is an indication to give if you intend to let the plant take the air by placing it on terraces or balconies. After flowering, it is advisable to let the Christmas Cactus rest in an environment where the temperature does not exceed 15 ° C. Furthermore, the Zygocactus needs a minimum temperature from October to March. It will not fully develop its flowering.
In September – October, take your Zygocactus to a cool room where it receives bright lighting and make sure it does not receive artificial light at night to alter its photoperiod. Depending on your geographical area, it can be a complicated issue since you must also bear in mind that below five ºC, they can suffer years in their leaves.
In general, the Zygocactus grows in particularly shaded places. Correct exposure to sunlight is essential to avoid suffering the plant and ensure the necessary conditions for the development of flowers. In most cases, it is advisable to place this cultivar in a very bright place, but never under direct sunlight. The secret Filtered light near a window.
The substrate must be, as previously mentioned, of excellent quality and specifications for the type of plant. A soil composed of a higher percentage of peat, with some parts of sand (or other draining material) on the bottom, is perfect. The aim is to avoid dangerous stagnation of water, which are the leading cause of plant death. As it is succulent, the Zygocactus requires ideal drainage. It does, however, appreciate a lot of organic matter. Therefore, plant it in pots with holes filled with gravel and sand at the bottom and the remaining two-thirds completed with vegetal soil. If these conditions are met, the Zygocactus can grow a lot and live for years in small pots.
The Zygocactus has the incredible ability to store a lot of water to overcome even extended periods of drought easily. Since it loves humidity, it is advisable to proceed with constant watering. The Zygocactus’ watering must occur when the soil begins to dry in the upper part, without ever abounding. Christmas Cactuses need between 50 to 60 percent humidity, so if your home has drier air, you would need to create this level of humidity artificially.
The reproduction of the Zygocactus takes place by cuttings. It is not a very difficult operation; proceed in the best possible way.
Here’s how to make no mistake:
After flowering, i.e., in the spring period, it is possible to take the cuttings. This is the best time, which coincides with the pruning phase (withered flowers are eliminated).
Place the cutting in a container (placed in a very bright place) full of water to cover 2/3 of it.
When the new roots have reached the cutting length, it is time to plant the new flower in a small container filled with very fertile soil and drainage material at the base.
Water abundantly and administer specific liquid fertilizer. The temperature must never drop below 20 ° C during the day and never below 15 ° at night.
Continue to water as described in the previous paragraph.
Alternatively, you can take the opportunity to reproduce this cactus through cuttings of the healthiest knots you see.
Cut the healthiest leaves and take them to a container with a substrate with coconut fiber mixture. You can use natural rooting agents to speed up the formation of roots, and soon you will have many suckers to take to new pots. Finally, try to change the pot to a larger one every 2-3 years so that your cactus develops fully.
The specific fertilizer must be given to the Zygocactus once a month during the growth phase and then every 15/20. This operation should be interrupted in the month preceding flowering. It is also recommended that you opt for a fertilizer rich in potassium to be diluted with the water used for watering.
Many wonders: how should the pruning of the Zygocactus be done? In the simplest way possible! That’s right. This is not natural pruning but the cleaning of the plant. The damaged parts and dried flowers will have to be removed.
How to get it to bloom
As a tip, when you see the first flower buds appear, increase the periods of light a little more and fertilize weekly with flowering fertilizers to give the plant a contribution of energy. This will be very noticeable when it comes to the amount and duration of flowering in the Zygocactus.
Once its flowering period has passed, it is better to remove the small formed fruits or flower remains before the new growth shoots appear during March. Of course, it would be best if you took your Zygocactus outside in the spring and summer months, where it was not very exposed to the sun. They will surely give the plant an opportunity for better growth.
Parasites, diseases, and other adversities
Beware of abundant and inconsiderate irrigations, as they could lead to plant root rot and cause very dangerous fungal infections. To avoid resorting to specific medicines (only in extreme cases), it is advisable to observe the advice given above.
Another danger for the Zygocactus is insects, specifically aphids, ready to attack the plant in spring. In these cases, it is advisable to resort to specific insecticides to defend the plant.
Zygocactus: FAQ Section
How often do you water a Zygocactus?
This point is decisive for its proper development. It would help if you tried to water more often from March to October. This is because they are the months of growth and development of the plant, and it is also when the ambient temperature raises the most. Therefore you should try to water every week or ten days.
Always keep your geographical area in mind too. You will not water with the same frequency in a warmer coastal area than if you have it in a mountainous area with lower temperatures and where the evaporation in the substrate is done more slowly. It is also best to observe the substrate and keep it slightly damp without completely saturating it with water.
It would help if you reduced watering considerably in the winter months because the plant does not need it, and you can flood it. So water every 3-4 weeks and it will be enough. If you can, the best is always rainwater. If you do not have it, you can use waters that are low in Calcium or add nutritional supplements that neutralize it and make the water softer (lower pH).
What do you feed Zygocactus?
You can feed Zygocactus with flowering fertilizers.
Do you water a Christmas cactus from the top or bottom?
It’s best to water a Christmas cactus from the top and then letting the water trickle down.
In conclusion, Zygocactus is an adorable plant whose care can be easily affected by the steps highlighted above.
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