The Q&A Archives: Zygocactus

Question: iIrecently bought a zygocactus that was full of blossoms at purchase. However, after about a week's time, half of the buds dropped off, could you give me some hint on how to take care of it? I watered the plant twice since purchase.

Answer: Your Zygocactus is commonly known as Christmas Cactus. It's a forest-type cactus with leaf-like flattened segments which are 1 1/2 - 2 inches long, and attractive blooms with swept-back petals. This plant prefers temperatures between 55F and 70F degrees and bright light. They need a resting period to produce next year's blossom buds, so after all the flowers have fallen off, keep the plant in a cool room (55F degrees is ideal), and water only when the soil begins to dry out. Then in April, begin watering more frequently, keeping the soil on the moist side. Take your plant outdoors in the spring and summer months, placing it in a shady spot. Bring it back indoors in the fall and keep it cool (55F) and dry until November. Bring it back into a bright, warm spot and it will bloom in December and January. The blossom loss is natural for your Zygocactus. It has been forced into bloom and is doing what it's supposed to do. When it stops blooming altogether, begin withholding water and move it to a cool place so it can rest and produce next year's blossom buds.

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