This pretty succulent plant is one that to me, should almost be called the shrimp plant, or even prawn! Because the prolific blooms that are borne on it late autumn to early winter really do resemble those sea creatures… I once saw one in water on its own and really thought for a moment it was a shrimp that had been left to soak there!
This plant, the Schlumbergera, is often called the Christmas Cactus, solely due to the fact that this is when it generally comes into flower in the Northern Hemisphere and so is a popular plant with nurseries and florists to promote as Christmas gifts.
These plants grow naturally in jungle-type woodlands, and are epiphytic – usually attaching themselves to trees. Unlike the desert cacti, they like semi-shade.
I have two, at the moment, one which usually sits on my kitchen window-sill and the other in the bathroom. The one in the bathroom gets a little more light, and also more humidity. I repot them as soon as they seem to be unable to retain water easily, just potting them onto the next size pot, and feed them fortnightly with a water soluble fertiliser like Baby-Bio. This seems to work for me, as you can see in these photos.
If they seem to be getting a little dusty (as mine do, from time to time) a gentle shower of not quite tepid water does the trick to freshen and perk them up!
Inexpensive, easy to grow and colourful, these are lovely little plants that with a little care, can give years of pleasure.
For information on how the pro’s recommend you care for and propagate the Schlumbergera, please copy and paste the following into Google! Christmas cactus ( Schlumbergera ) /RHS Gardening (Haven’t been able to do it in the usual way…) It is on the RHS website.