Thursday, February 17, 2011

Subdividing Schlumbergia xBucklyi

S. xBucklyi is an important plant in the Christmas cactus world as it is truely a cactus that blooms at Christmas, unlike S. truncata cultivars, which are often known as 'Thanksgiving Cactus" due to their blooming habit. S xbucklyi lost the fight because it did not breed true, with flower color changing from plant to plant, and the flower is pendant, rather than more upright on truncata.

It is easy to recognize as the two horns are missing on the top of each leaf, which is distinctive.It is a cross between S truncata and S russelliana by William Buckley at the Rollisson Nurseries in England around 1840. S truncata took over rapidly, but forcing bloom at Christmas and having color lines that ran true.

As you can see from the photos, the plant was over grown before I got it around Christmas 2009 for $20. Watch Craigslist.org for great plant deals. Well I gave the plant a hair cut in the summer of 2010, and decided to subdivide it this winter. I had no idea what I was going to run into, but it became easier that I thought, and I divided it into 8 plants that reside in 6-8" pots. It got interesting, as all the branches converged at the bottom of the pot, where the majority of roots were. I cut the plant multiple ways, and sawed the wood under the soil, using rooting hormone before repotting. That's one of the secrets of old Christmas cacti, cutting wood below the soil will generate roots, above soil, it creates a place for more leaves to grow.

These will be sold at a local Cactus club meeting, holding back of course, one plant for me. But do watch out for those old Christmas cacti which have smooth leaves without the horn.

More information can be found at: http://cactus.biology.dal.ca/paulS/christmas/christmas.html