Decembrist care at home: when flowers delight us even in winter

    Outside the windows there is a fierce cold, everything is white with snow, trees and bushes are sleeping in snow clothes, dead birds try to hide from the wind. Winter! It was at this time - in November-January - that the Decembrist bloomed. That’s why he is nicknamed so that in the very cold it flaunts the life of flower growers with the bright colors of summer. Home care for this truly prodigal flower is uncomplicated.

    Where are you from, handsome?

    Decembrist pleases flowering in the long winter

    This perennial lush flowering plant is grown in our country only in closed ground - at home or in greenhouses, because its homeland is a tropical sub-equatorial forest of South America. Many names were given to him by our lovers of floriculture. For the time of flowering, unusual for our region, it is called Decembrist, Christmas tree, Christmas and forest cactus, barbarian color. Botanists used to call this epiphytic cactus a zygocactus, now it is assigned to the genus Schlumberger and officially bears this name.

    The plant has an original appearance. Its branching drooping stems consist of separate flat elements of complex shape, similar to leaves adhered to each other. At their ends, flower buds form. Interestingly, in a Decembrist flower, the petals and sepals are identical in color and have such a similar structure that it is almost impossible to distinguish between them. Another feature of this cactus is that it has no thorns.

    There are many signs and superstitions that discourage flowers from the institution of the Decembrist. One of the creepiest is that a flower can predict death in a home. Such an event is allegedly scheduled if the zigocactus blooming earlier, for no apparent reason, began to dry, or even died. We live in the modern world, so mysticism can be left behind the threshold: perhaps your flower just got sick!

    Differences from Ripsalidopsis: table and photo

    Blooming Ripsalidopsis

    The Decembrist is often confused with a very outwardly similar plant, Ripsalidopsis. This is also a cactus, but it belongs to another genus - the hator. He is also called the Easter egg. However, they are very different. These differences are shown in the table.

    Flowering periodend of November - beginning of FebruarySpring
    The shape of the stem segmentsprotrusions of the edge of the segments of the stem pronounced pointedprotrusions of the edge of the segments of the stem rounded smooth
    Flower shapetubular at the basestar symmetrical

    The external difference in the shape of the stem elements and colors can be seen in the photos below.

    On the left is ripsalidopsis, on the right are two varieties of zygocactus

    The flowers of these plants are different among themselves.

    Decembrist to the left and above, Ripsalidopsis asterisk to the right

    Under natural conditions, the Decembrists grow in a humid shady forest of the tropics, so when growing them you need to create similar conditions: diffused light, humidity, moderate heat, free access to fresh air. Zygocactus plants are epiphytes. They settle on branches and trunks of other species, but do not parasitize on them, do not receive nutrients from them.

    In vivo growth

    In nature, there are six types of Christmas trees: truncated, Kautsky, Rousselian, orssishiana, prickly pear and microsphaerica. Numerous hybrids are bred in the culture. They have flowers of various colors and shades: white, yellow, red, pink, raspberry, orange, salmon and so on. All of them can be grown at home. They are not very difficult to care for, you should only follow a number of simple rules. In good conditions, the life of the plant is up to 30 years.

    Photo gallery of some varieties of Decembrists

    Decembrist microsphaerica

    Decembrist Orssichiana

    Decembrist Kautsky

    Decembrist opuntia

    Decembrist Russeliana

    Decembrist Truncated

    Rules for caring for Decembrist at home

    Each plant has periods of active growth, flowering, fruiting, and dormancy. Schlumberger is no exception. She will feel most comfortable and reward with abundant flowering, if the conditions of detention correspond to the periods natural for her existence:

    SeasonLife cycleIlluminationHumidity and frequency of wateringTemperatureTop dressingNotes
    September OctoberRest, preparation for floweringShadingDo not spray, water moderately when the ground dries slightly15–18ºС, but not lowerOnce in October, fertilizer for cactiFree access to fresh air, but without drafts
    november-januaryBloomScattered lightConstantly spray, water, avoiding the complete drying of the earth18–22ºСFlowering plants fertilizer for cacti to feed every 7-10 daysDo not move the flower, do not rotate the pot
    February - early MarchRest after flowering, pre-vegetation periodShadingModerate watering when the ground dries slightly15–18ºСSingle fertilizer for cactiThe formation of the crown of the plant, remove the finite elements of the stems
    March-SeptemberVegetationScattered lightRegular watering18–20ºСComplete fertilizer application every two weeksVentilation. Possible transplant if necessary
    July AugustPart of the growing seasonScattered lightRegular watering, spraying with soft and warm water, warm shower18–25ºСComplete fertilizer application every two weeksTake the plant out into the open air or ventilate the room regularly

    Those flower growers who are not able to strictly follow this scheme can adhere to the following not so burdensome rules:

    • you can not organize a rest period;
    • the temperature in the room should be within 15-25ºС, but without sudden jumps in one direction or another;
    • in the room in which the Decembrist is kept, there should be fresh air, but the occurrence of drafts should be excluded;
    • a sufficiently high level of humidity should be maintained, because the plant is tropical and absorbs water with both aerial roots and green shoots;
    • spray water should not contain chlorine and lime; if there are no other options, cooled boiled water can be used.

    Planting and transplanting zygocactus

    Planting a young flower is not difficult, because they are mostly propagated by fragments of stems of uterine plants. Only to create new hybrids, flower growers grow a Christmas tree from seeds.

    It is especially convenient to do this during the period of formation of the bush after flowering, when adult plants are not pruned but gently unscrew the terminal segments of the stems to give the flower a beautiful appearance.

    The resulting cuttings leave to dry laid out one at a time from 1 to 7 days (growers have different recommendations on this subject). After the formation of callus, they are planted, only slightly buried in the soil, in small pots with fertile soil, covered with a transparent film or a glass jar and placed in a slightly shaded place. The temperature here should be between 15–20ºС.

    For successful rooting cuttings need daily ventilation and frequent watering. In most cases, this method of landing gives a positive result.

    Note that the recommended period for the formation of adult bushes, and, accordingly, the planting of young plants, falls on February - early March, when severe frosts are still likely. If your young Decembrists grow up simply on the window, follow the weather and with a strong sharp cooling take them to where they will not suffer from an undesirable temperature jump.

    You can get acquainted with the practical experience of such a planting of zigocactus and learn more about the nuances of the process in the video.

    Decembrist propagation by cuttings: video

    It is better to transplant the Decembrist during his active growth, that is, in the spring. Young plants are relocated to a new pot annually, matured - once every two to three years, and very adult large bushes - once every five years.

    Schlumberger bought in the store are often found in transport containers and soil, where they are not always comfortable. Such plants should be transplanted regardless of the time of year after all flowers have withered.

    For planting, the Decembrists choose low wide pots, since their root system grows in the upper soil layer. However, an overly wide pot is not suitable, since in this case the zygocactus will begin to actively grow shoots and grow to the detriment of flowering. It is recommended that the new vessel be 2-3 cm wider than the one in which the plant was before transplantation.

    The soil for planting a Christmas tree should be slightly acidic; air and water should easily penetrate into it. Many gardeners for transplant take ready soil for cacti. You can prepare the soil mixture for Decembrist yourself, mixing in equal proportions turf and leafy soil, coarse sand, peat. It will not be superfluous to add charcoal as a natural antiseptic.

    It is good if pieces of expanded clay, broken bricks, polystyrene or other drainage material are present in the soil, which will certainly fill the lower third of the flower pot. Drainage in flower pots is necessary for almost all plants, but for Decembrist this is especially important, since it, like all epiphytes, does not tolerate water stagnation. The drainage layer will protect the roots of the plant from decay.

    Plant Transplant Process: Video Guide

    Schlumberger Care: Everything in Detail

    Like every living organism, Schlumbergera for its growth, development, full existence requires appropriate care. Consider the significant points of this process.

    Watering and feeding

    It was already mentioned that the quality of water used for irrigation and spraying is very important for the Decembrists. It should not have lime and chlorine. Most often, water that has settled for a day or two or filtered is used for this purpose. In extreme cases, there may be cooled boiled water. In any case, it should be at room temperature about 16–20ºС.

    For feeding, it is recommended to use fertilizers for cacti and complex. Some gardeners in the period of laying the buds make fertilizers for flowering plants.

    The regime of watering and feeding is different at different stages of the annual life cycle of the plant.

    In autumn, in September and October, the Decembrist rests, is at rest, is preparing for the upcoming flowering - buds are laid. At this time, the spraying of the Decembrists is completely stopped and very moderately watered, giving the top layer of the earth even a little dry. Fertilizer is applied once closer to the flowering period.

    Flowering plants (flowering from November to January) are often watered to prevent the soil from drying out, and are constantly sprayed to maintain moisture. Also often at this stage the plant is fed with nitrogen-free fertilizers with a frequency of 7-10 days.

    When all the flowers fade, the Decembrist enters the dormant period, rests and prepares for active growth in spring and summer. They try not to disturb him, once they fertilize and water very moderately, only so that the earth becomes wet again.

    Throughout spring, summer and until the beginning of autumn, Schlumberger grow actively. To provide them with nutrients, complex fertilizers are applied every two weeks. At the same time, plants are regularly watered, and in the heat of July-August they are often sprayed and bathed under a warm shower.

    To make Christmas even more beautiful

    You can give the plant a beautiful shape by shortening the stems that are not branching and directed towards the center of the pot, twisted or too long shoots. This process is carried out, as a rule, after the flowering of the Decembrist, but you can pinch it during the period of active growth in June-July. Closer to the resting period before flowering in August, such an operation is undesirable so as not to reduce the number of future flowers.

    The excess segments of the stems are by no means cut off with a knife or scissors. You can remove them only with your hands, one gently holding the stem itself, and the other twisting the removed part around its axis. Separated parts of the Decembrist can serve as material for growing new bushes.

    For the formation of a symmetrical zygocactus bush, uniform illumination of all its parts is of great importance. To do this, during the growing season, a flower pot with a plant is occasionally turned in different directions to the light source. You can’t do this when buds and flowers have appeared, they may fall.

    How to make pinching Schlumberger

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    Most enjoyable period

    The crown of the florist’s efforts is the flowering of the Decembrist, when against the background of black and white winter graphics, flowers flash out of the plant on the plant with bright colors of the tropics. Here he is given maximum attention. He is carefully and promptly watered, sprayed, fed and proud of the result of his labors throughout the year.

    Peduncles of wilted flowers are recommended not to be removed at all, they will disappear themselves when the time comes. The plant should not be disturbed during flowering; buds and flowers may fall. In extreme cases, to maintain the aesthetic appearance of the Decembrist, the operation to remove faded flowers should be carried out extremely carefully.

    And what a disappointment a beginner grower experiences if the bush has not bloomed. The annoying question immediately arises: “Why?”. To answer it, you need to analyze the whole process of growing Decembrists and find the error.

    Decembrist did not bloom

    The most common miscalculations:

    • insufficient natural lighting when the penumbra created for the plant on the advice of experts is too dense;
    • lack of nutrients, that is, irregularity and untimely feeding, when the green mass is growing, and the buds are not laid;
    • insufficient watering and moisture during the growing season, especially in the hot season;
    • a long (more than five years) failure to transplant a plant, the soil during this time is depleted even if there is top dressing, the roots are weakening, there is no time for flowering;
    • frequent rearrangements of the flower pot with Decembrist, they always negatively affect the plant and even more unacceptable when buds appear;
    • a too large pot, which the zygocactus will tend to fill with roots, which will only lead to an increase in the number of stems;
    • damage to the roots by rot, pests or a high concentration of fertilizers.

    Having identified a mistake in the cultivation, it is not difficult to eliminate. The actions in the first six of these cases are logically understandable. Even with the last mistake — the assumption of root decay — there is a way out: an emergency transplant, in compliance with all the rules of this operation for Decembrists.

    "Leave me alone"

    After a period of active growth in the spring and summer in the fall, the Decembrist rests, gathers strength before flowering, lays flower buds. Autumn care of the plant is extremely important, it depends on whether the Schlumbergera blooms this year. During this period, the plant is less demanding on the amount of moisture and light, wants coolness and air. It will signal the grower herself about the need for watering with a slightly wrinkled surface of the segments of the stems. Knowledgeable gardeners recommend replacing weak tea with water during this period. This will help to bookmark more flower buds. It is considered useful to mulch the soil under zigocactus with sleeping tea.

    If in the summer the Decembrist grew up on a balcony or in a garden, then he should be left there until the temperature drops to 10 ° C. Even a short decrease to 3-5 ºС will not harm the Christmas tree.

    Toward the end of October, the Decembrists are advised to feed them with fertilizer for flowering plants. This will contribute to abundant flowering and prolongation of its term.

    Errors and their correction

    Not only the lack of flowering of the Decembrist can be a signal that the plant has any problems. If the Schlumberger is improperly taken care of, the rules for its cultivation are violated, she often signals this with her appearance. We need to understand what caused these changes and try to correct them.

    Plant conditionPossible reasonHow to fix the situation
    Sluggish stalk segmentsProblems with the root system:

    • Rotting roots from excessive watering at low room temperature.

    • Overheating of the roots in the sun or near a radiator.

    • Excess fertilizer that can literally burn roots

    We change the conditions of the plant:

    • Dry the soil or transplant the plant by placing it in a warmer place. Water less.

    • Remove the plant from the sun or put it farther away from heating appliances.

    • Transplant the plant into new soil, change the feeding regimen.

    Falling segments of stems• If there are no pests and diseases, then the phenomenon may be caused by problems with the root system.

    • Stress from a sharp change in the conditions of detention, the location of the flower.

    • Lack of some substances in plant nutrition

    • Transplant the plant by examining the roots. If there is rotten or dried up, remove them and wash off the soil, rinse the root in hot 40–55ºС water and dry. The plant should be planted in new soil and in a new or well-sterilized pot.

    • Analyze the situation and eliminate negative factors.

    • Transplant the plant into a nutrient soil containing all the necessary elements. Fertilize on time.

    Stem segments turn yellow• Excessive watering.

    • Insufficient humidity

    • Allow the land to dry, change the frequency and volume of irrigation.

    • Spray the plant more often. Keep away from heating appliances in a cooler place.

    The stalk segments turn red• Excess fertilizer.

    • Excess light.

    • Lack of phosphorus

    • Change the feeding regimen and their volume.

    • Place the plant in a shaded place.

    • Applying appropriate nutrition.

    Unfortunately, there are times when it is already impossible to fix the error. The only way out in this situation would be to separate the most healthy parts from the plant and plant them like cuttings for growing new plants.

    Diseases and pests of the Decembrists

    In fact, the Decembrists rarely get sick, and insects do not attack them often. Problems can arise when using old contaminated soil or with excessive watering that weakens the plant.

    Photo gallery: Decembrists diseases and pests

    Decembrist Infectious Disease

    Spider mite

    Late blight disease

    Fusarium Disease


    Scale infection

    Table of diseases and control measures

    Disease or pestManifestationsPreventionControl measures
    Fungal (late blight, phytium, fusarium) diseasesGray or pale color of stems, falling of many segments, wilting of the plant with sufficient soil moistureThe main preventive measure is the regular inspection of plants in order to detect infection at the initial stage and immediately begin to fight it.

    2–3 treatments of plants with fungicides with a seven-day interval between them

    Fungicide treatment
    Bacterial infectionsSlippery spots on the shootsThe main preventive measure is the regular inspection of plants in order to detect infection at the initial stage and immediately begin to fight itIn the initial stage, you can remove diseased shoots, begin treatment with antibacterial drugs. With a strong infection, it is not possible to save the plant, you can only grow a new one from a healthy shoot
    Spider miteRusty plaque on a plant-Treatment with Actellik, Neoron, Fitoverm
    MealybugWhite lumps between shoots-Insecticide treatment
    ShieldBrown spots on stalk segments-In the initial stage - treatment with a soap solution, with severe infection - systemic insecticides. With a very strong infection, the plant is thrown away

    Reproduction of zygocactus by cuttings

    It has already been mentioned that during the formation of a bush after flowering in February, pieces of stems separated from the mother plant are used as cuttings for propagating Decembrists. Such a process is fundamental to increasing the number of Christmas bushes. Only when new hybrids are bred are plant growers grow zygocactus from seeds.

    This flower can also be propagated during the period of active vegetation - in May-August. For this, a part of the stem from 1–4 segments is unscrewed from the plant.

    The cuttings are separated by twisting

    Cuttings are left to dry the place of separation of it from the mother plant. Sometimes at the place of separation there are aerial roots of the plant. They do not break off, in the earth they will develop into full-fledged roots.

    Laid out for drying for several days

    Dried cuttings are ready for planting.

    It's time to plant in the ground

    A small but wide enough pot is selected for the plant, into which drainage is poured into a third of its height.

    A third capacity fills the drainage

    The soil is taken purchased or prepared independently from a mixture of equal shares of sheet and turf land, peat and sand. It is slightly moistened.

    Lightweight, water and air permeable

    Part of the soil is transferred to a flower pot.

    Everything is ready for planting the cuttings

    For better root formation, you can use a stimulator of their growth.

    To make the Decembrist easier to take root

    The lower part of the handle is slightly dipped in water.

    The bottom of the handle should be slightly moistened.

    Then they dip in a stimulant poured into a separate vessel.

    Roots grow faster

    The next stage is planting the cuttings in the ground. The soil around the handle is sprinkled and compacted.

    Cuttings in the ground

    The final stage is the creation of a mini-greenhouse for a young plant. To do this, it is covered with a transparent film or a glass vessel.

    The mini-boy is ready

    A pot with a plant is placed in a place with light shading and a temperature of 15–20ºС. Further care for the young Decembrist will consist in regular ventilation of the greenhouse and timely watering.

    Reviews about growing Decembrist

    Review: Truncated Schlumberger Indoor Flower (Decembrist) - Pleasing to the eye

    Advantages: does not require special care

    Minuses: no

    This flower has been living with me for several years. He is known under various names: "Cancer neck", "Decembrist", "Christmas", zygocactus Schlumberger. When the Decembrist does not bloom, he looks rather strange - and not like a cactus and a plant. But during flowering, the Crayfish neck pleases with its delicate peach flowers. In addition to proper care, a flower needs to be given attention, sometimes even talking, then flowering will be 2-3 times a year. The cancerous neck is unpretentious in care, despite the fact that its native place is tropical forests. She should grow near the windows, but not on the windowsill. A stand is ideal. This flower does not require a special comfortable mode, which is comfortable for a person, then comfortable for him. In summer, you can take it out into the air, but do not leave it in direct sunlight. Watering should be moderate, although he likes moisture, but an excessive amount of water can lead to rotting of the roots. Leaves, especially in summer, need to be moistened with water through a spray bottle. The flower needs to be fertilized; fertilizers for cacti are well suited for it. Beautiful and unpretentious flower, I advise you to purchase.


    Review: Truncated Schlumbergera flower (Decembrist) - The mystery of nature!

    Pluses: Bloom well with minimal maintenance.

    Disadvantages: Not identified. My wife loves to plant indoor plants, and she practices the following approach: the maximum result - at the minimum cost of care. And she does a great job of it. For about two years now, three Decembrists (the official name of Schlumberger truncated) have been decorating the window sill of our bedroom. Previously, they were with my mother, who made a titanic effort so that they grow well, scrub and bloom wildly. But the result was very modest: on each flower there were several buds somewhere at the beginning of winter. Whatever mom did: feed, regularly water, move, so that they had more light ... Nothing helped! When mom was gone, we took the Decembrists to ourselves. We practically do not carry out any care for them. Water once every two weeks - that's all. Nothing more. And lo! Decembrists began to bloom so that every time we can not stop looking at them. Now is the middle of October, and they have already bloomed. Look what a beauty. For a long time we could not understand what was the matter? Why, with minimal care, the Decembrists develop so well, bloom and feel great? And in the summer we generally place them in Spartan conditions - we put them on an open balcony and do not go out there for three months. Watering is natural: rain, water from drainpipes. As an experienced florist-biologist told us, Decembrists should not be touched at the moment when they begin to bloom. Not the slightest touch should be allowed! Only water. And then occasionally, little by little. Then there will be a result - plentiful flowering. In conclusion, I want to say that our Decembrists coolly decorate our bedroom. Every day we admire them! To all lovers of indoor plants, I recommend purchasing this wonderful flower, and with proper care it will decorate your life, give the house coziness and comfort.


    Decembrists are not whimsical at all, they do not require constant attention, they grow quite actively during spring and summer, they reproduce very easily by plucking branches from 3-4 segments without flowers and placing it in water. Quite quickly after this, white roots appear, which are perfectly rooted in moist soil.


    I would like to hope that this article spoke in sufficient detail about all the features of this plant and the nuances of caring for it. Let the Decembrists growing in your country annually please with lush flowering.


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