Issue: Novem1er 24, 2001

Christmas cactus bloomed early


My Christmas cactus has already bloomed! What is wrong?


Yours is probably the Thanksgiving cactus rather than the Christmas cactus. There are two common species and many varieties in the genus Schlumbergera. This is an interesting group of cacti native to New World tropical rain forests. Because they vary in their natural geographic habitats, some are genetically programmed to bloom earlier, others later. Therefore, there are some that will bloom early, at Thanksgiving, and others that bloom later, at Christmastime.

There are also many different color forms, and if you look at the different species, you will notice that their flattened stems (which serve as leaves) vary in appearance. Some will have points on the lobes along the edge, others will be rounded. The Thanksgiving cacti (Schlumbergera truncata) often have pointed lobes, while the Christmas cacti (Schlumbergera bridgesii) are more often rounded.

By having both Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti, you can extend the period of bloom of these exotic tropical cacti.

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Please join us on Southwest Yard & Garden, a weekly garden program made for gardeners in the Southwest, broadcast on KRWG-Las Cruces on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.; KENW-Portales on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.; and KNME-Albuquerque on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.

Send your gardening questions to Yard and Garden, ATTN: Dr. Curtis Smith NMSU Cooperative Extension Service 9301 Indian School Road, NE, Suite 112 Albuquerque, NM 87112

Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator.

Please join us on Southwest Yard & Garden, a weekly garden program made for gardeners in the Southwest on: KNME-TV Albuquerque at 9:30 p.m. Saturdays, KENW-TV Portales at 10 a.m. Saturdays, and KRWG-TV Las Cruces at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays (repeated at 1 p.m. Thursdays.)