Schlumbergera opuntioides – Cactus Plant
Schlumbergera opuntioides is an ornamental, flowering plant and a species of plant in the Cactaceae family. It has leafless green stems, made up of distinct segments, which act as photosynthetic organs. However, most other species have stems which are consistently strongly flattened, whereas in S. opuntioides, although young segments may be relatively flat, being 7 cm long by 1.2 inches wide, but only up to 9 mm thick, the segments become more cylinder-shaped as they age, as well as becoming woodier. The plant may form a shrub up to 4 feet tall.
The blooms are pink to purple in color, up to 6 cm long and up to 4.5 cm in diameter. The fruit is green, more or less spherical with four to five ribs. The brown to black seeds are about 1.75 mm long.
Species: S. opuntioides
Scientific Name: Schlumbergera opuntioides
Synonyms: Epiphyllanthus obovatus, Epiphyllanthus opuntioides, Epiphyllum opuntioides, Zygocactus opuntioides.
How to care and grow Schlumbergera opuntioides?
It thrives best in the bright, but indirect light. Direct sunlight should be avoided, as it can cause brown spots.
It prefers to grow in neutral, Well-drained soil. Use a mixture of 1 part potting soil and 1 part fine-grade fir bark.
To set flower buds, the plant needs cool 60-65°F/16-18°C days and 45°F-55°F/7-13°C nights. Once buds set, 70°F-75°F/21-24°C days and 60°F-70°F/16-21°C nights. Plant death can occur at below 50°F (10°C).
Water regularly, keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. After flowering, water sparingly until new growth begins in spring.
Fertilize every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. After blooms have dropped, stop fertilizing for a month.
Schlumbergera opuntioides can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Take stem cuttings from one to four segments. Allow the cut ends to dry for 24 hours before placing upright in moist perlite. Rooting occurs between 3-4 weeks. It is rarely propagated by seed, sow seeds in the spring.
Re-pot every year or every 2 years in the mid-summer. Never re-pot during the bloom or following resting period. Re-pot by removing only the loose soil around the roots. Transfer immediately to a wider pot.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus. Add an insecticide to the water 2 to 3 times a year to combat pests as well as a systemic fungicide to prevent the orange and brown spotting that sometimes affects them.