Sunday, June 10, 2012

Zygocactus, Schlumbergera

 The "Zygoes" have been flowering their heads off for the past few weeks. They are one of those plants which come into their own for six weeks of the year and make a a big splash of flowers and then go to rest for the remainder of the year. All the showy hybrids are descended from two epyphitic species Schlumbergera truncata and Schlumbergera russelliana which are native to South America and primarily Brazil. Like other epyphites they make good container plants and have low water and fertilizer requirements. Of course if you want a truly spectacular specimen it is worth giving it some fertilizer over the summer months before the buds start to form in autumn. Zygoes look good in hanging baskets or in pots with a narrow neck so that the flat sprawling leaves are able to splay out in all directions without being encumbered. There are lots of interesting coloured forms available from pure white to salmon pink, orange, red and peachy toned ones. They grow best in semi shade and can be rested when not in flower under trees and are able to cope with just occasional rainfall to survive well. The book below gives all the best detailed information on them and though it was published twenty years ago the cultivation notes and history on the genus is still valid and current.

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