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alexbyrne44

Is this a TRUE Christmas Cactus (schlumbergera x buckleyi)

7 years ago

I noticed someone selling this online near my area.. Is this a true christmas cactus or thanksgiving cactus? Any input would be greatly appreciated!


Comments (60)

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sorry, I do not have true CC myself. But -read and see here- about them. I got this plant few years ago from a former neighbour, they called it Christmas cactus. But the flowers tell the story...maybe it is some kind of hybrid, I do not know. Flowers are very much TC flowers:

    close-up of the leaves:

  • 7 years ago

    Thank you, Rina, that site is very helpful. I kept reading here on the forum that you can tell by the flowers which made me think the flowers would look very different from each other. Instead, to me the flowers look very similar but are at a different angle for the most part. Meg

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  • 7 years ago

    I don't think anyone, except a few true collectors, are growing species holiday cacti. The 'true CC' is an old hybrid between Schlumbergera truncata (with pointy segments) and S. russeliana (with rounded segments). It is called S. X buckleyi. Most forms have rounded segments, are comparatively late blooming, and produce blooms that do not have the pronounced flaring form of the hybrid group we call the Thanksgiving cactus. These are the earlier bloomers we see everywhere. They have a flared bloom form, and the segments tend to have pointy claws, but some are more smooth. There are two more species, S. orsschiana and S. opuntioides, both are also involved in some of the modern hybrids. If I was looking for a 'true CC', I would search for a plant that had been in home culture for a long time, has scalloped segments, a symmetrical bloom form and a comparatively late blooming period. There are also specialized nurseries that sell grandmother's Christmas cactus. I wish I still had my old one. It became too large for us at the time, and I sold it without taking cuttings :-(. Stupid me.

  • 7 years ago

    I can't distinguish btwn the flowers either, I've never been able to see the difference in the blooms, no matter how much I look & am usually pretty good w/ visual detail.

    That said, the segments (phytoclades sp?) look very different, btwn the jagged edges vs round or scalloped. HTH = hope this helps.

  • 7 years ago

    How lucky of you Meg! I can't wait to see some pictures. I must say I am very jealous of your find and hope you got a true Christmas Cactus on your hands!

  • 7 years ago

    Thanks, Alex. I hope you get yours! It looks like a great plant!

  • 7 years ago

    The difference in flowers is not equally clear in all cases, but in general, the petals of the CC are all reflexed to the same degree, so when you look them in the face they form a kind of circle. The pictures in this link show this well, I think.

    http://www.mattslandscape.com/detail/?plant_name=Schlumbergera%20X%20Buckleyi%20True%20Christmas%20Cactus

    Another good side view of the CC is here, see also at the bottom of the page:

    http://worldofsucculents.com/schlumbergera-x-buckleyi-true-christmas-cactus/

    The TC has its top petals almost like the CC, but the lower petals are much more strongly reflexed, completely back against the tube. When you look at it from the side, the effect always reminds me of a hummingbird poised in front of a flower. In my other post I called that flared, because the top petals look flared to me, but that was maybe not the best description. A good example of TC is here, especially the top picture. The second one shows the reflexed petals, but looks at the flower upside down.

    http://mattslandscape.com/detail/?plant_name=Claudia%20Schlumbergera%20Hybrid

    These examples are pretty clear, I think. The problem is that this is a general guideline. There are many TCs, all different hybrids, and hybrids of hybrids, so the difference is not always as clear. Still, I hope this helps a bit.

  • 7 years ago

    This helps. Thank you!

  • 7 years ago

    Alex, did you get the cc?

  • 7 years ago

    Another difference is the TC flower is bent upwards at the ovary. CC flowers don't have this kink in them and are much straighter as a result.

    Gill

  • 7 years ago

    Hi akrrm,

    I did not go get the CC. It was too long of a drive and I have found two people in the area I live to give me cuttings of their plant which are both true CC. So all worked out in the end! :)

  • 7 years ago

    Alex, I'm glad you got some cuttings.

  • 7 years ago

    Nice. Good luck with the cuttings.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My Schlumbergera x buckleyi 'Buckleyi', the true "Christmas Cactus" as described in http://www.mattslandscape.com/detail?plant_name=Schlumbergera%20X%20Buckleyi%20True%20Christmas%20Cactus

    A flower is a symmetric


  • 7 years ago

    Hello Oksana....can I ask, what are those pointed leaves in the background....do they belong to this plant or another as they look very TC like?

    Gill

  • 7 years ago

    We delivered a meal today to our 87 yr old gentleman who I referred to earlier. Here are two pictures showing hi plant.

    The first picture shows much of the plant which is pretty gangly. It's sitting on a stool and several branches are partially lying on the floor.

    The second picture shows his first bloom which hangs down. With that and the scalloped leaves, I think it's a true Christmas cactus. What do you think? Meg

  • 7 years ago

    Bloom is not quite open, but looks like it will be symmetrical. I think you are good!

  • 7 years ago

    The 'weeping' shape of the plant is a good sign too!

  • 7 years ago

    Thanks, gdinieontarioz5.

  • 7 years ago

    Just been reading more about these type of cacti....seems like another clue is pollen of a TC is yellow and that of a CC is pink....and of a hybrid???

    Gill

  • 7 years ago

    Hi, Jill and all!

    Yes, my 'Buckleyi' grows with 5 different TCs together in the one pot. TCs had shed their blossoms already. I made some pics for comparison.

    The bottom petals of the S. x buckleyi 'Buckleyi' have a yellow tinge or coating

    And pollen of a TC is yellow and that of a CC is pink as Jill had written

    Oksana



  • 7 years ago

    Thank you, Gill and Oksana. That's a great identification tip.

  • 7 years ago

    Wow, Gill and Oksana. This has become such an interesting thread!

  • 7 years ago

    Yeah, it is, but I've just got to figure out how to remember it now....Ha-ha!

    I often recall things by association, so as the TC has yellow pollen and Thanksgiving is 'kind of near' to Halloween and pumpkins are yellowish, well more so than pinkish, that will remind me. As for the CC's with their pink pollen, that colour is 'close' to the red I can associate with Christmas time....that should work...for me anyway!

    If anyone eLse has an easier way to recall them correctly, please do tell :-)

    Gill

  • 7 years ago

    That is pretty much perfect, Gill. I had the same problem about remembering. In Dutch that kind of thing is called a "donkey bridge" ;-). Hee-hawwwwwwww.

  • 7 years ago

    gd, well after I posted my associationmethod I thought crikey, I bet folks on here think I've lost the plot....seems like it might be of help, if only to yourself... lol!

    Donkey bridge....that's a new one too!

    Gill

  • 7 years ago

    This one was sold as an Easter cactus, photo taken today.

  • 7 years ago

    Looks correct: larger, scalloped, more upright segments. Usually there are some brownish bristles at the top of the segments, but I cannot tell from the picture. It should bloom in the spring with large flowers with a circular outline, and not show the "double petticoats" CC and TC have. Rhipsalidopsis/Hatiora gaertneri. Just google any of its names ;-).

  • 7 years ago

    Hi socks, my money is on it being an EC. The CC pics I've seen so far appear to have the segments more elongated, especially towards their base. This plant looks more robust, and upright, with stronger segments overall, all of which (to me) indicates a strong possibility that it is an EC. Can you show a pic of the joints/ends of the segments, is it bristly anywhere? Others may disagree so please feel free to chime in!

    Gill

  • 7 years ago

    Gd, snap! Both posted at the same time!

  • 7 years ago

    Gill, meetings on the donkey bridge ;-).

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This plant and my two other TC's are outside, zone 10a. At what nighttime low should they be covered or brought in? (Right or wrong, I left it in our recent rainstorm.)

    thanks gd and green.

  • 7 years ago

  • 7 years ago

    Yup, bristles! In order to bloom, it needs cooler temperatures, especially at night, and dark nights. I have no idea how that works out in your area. Temps down to 40 degrees should be ok, as far as I can google ;-). Take 45 as a minimum, just to be on the safe side.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks, gd. I never noticed bristles!

    Last night it was supposedly 38, but I saw frost on roofs and lawns, so as you said, anything below 40 would be good to protect. I've never made an effort with the darkness, and the cc's always bloom. We have outdoor lighting and of course the moonlight, but apparently they do get enough darkness to encourage bloom.

    Edited to add: thanks for the Latin names. I looked it up. I just don't remember the flower looking like the pictures, and I thought they were white! Time will tell, and I'll try to post a photo in the spring when it blooms.

  • 7 years ago

    Without flowers it is always difficult to tell, but EC comes in white too. Please follow up when it blooms. Now I want to know...

  • 7 years ago

    Rina,

    "Sorry, I do not have true CC myself."

    I never found a describe of the S. x buckleyi 'Rollissonii' - a hybrid between S. russelliana and S. truncata too. Only that has flowers magenta (closer to fuchsia) in colour. May be is your CC a S. x buckleyi 'Rollissonii' - more rare hybrid? So has your plant a more truncata leaves and flowers? I've noticed my fuchsia truncata blooms in December only. But it's true truncata and doesn't have buckleyi leaves :(

    With the best regards

    Oksana.

  • 7 years ago

    The seller still has not sold the CC I was asking about and uploaded this photo.. it is really out of the way but I think this photo confirms it is a true CC, no? I think I need to bite the bullet and just drive out and pick it up. What do you all think?


    Alex

  • 7 years ago

    All looks good. I would drive and bite. Maybe not a bullet though, unless you make a dental appointment beforehand...

  • 7 years ago

    From everything that I've learned on this thread, it sure looks like the real thing to me. Meg

  • 7 years ago


    Finally picked this up yesterday for $5. It's a true Christmas cactus :)

  • 7 years ago

    Very nice!

  • 7 years ago

    Great deal, Alex!

  • 7 years ago

    Great buy, Alex! Congratulations.

  • 7 years ago

    That's definitely a Xbucklyi (True CC) Here's a picture of mine, all 3 (Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) from May 2016.

  • 7 years ago

    That is a great picture, with blooms on all three. First time I have seen them all lined up like that!

  • 7 years ago

    gdinieontarioz5: Thank you! Spring, is exactly like Autumn weather wise, as well as sun position (at least here in Nebraska) so that's why this is possible...if you live on or near the equator, it is harder to even get them to bloom...As you may know, they come from Rio De Janeiro where they grow on trees in the rainforests on the mountains. So in nature it is almost impossible to get them to all open together, but domesticated, it's really easy..and that's how we have so many different varieties/breeds.

  • 7 years ago

    The 3 segment piece that I mentioned above that I was given by an elderly gentleman a year ago, now has 13 segments and a bloom! Meg

  • 6 years ago

    ALEXBYRNE44.... IF you see this, that is the 'Christmas cactus I am searching for SO badly. Can you tell me where you got it? I know its a year ago, Maybe it is a store that is in Ft.laud, where I am,and i can look to see if they still sell it, this year. OR do you or someone else have any cuttings of it Schlumbergera X Buckleyi that is the one. I have a post on the Cactus forum looking for cuttings of this cactus, Mine was well over 150yo, and it died it went through so many generations, and Fla. heat must have been to much for it, after being in Conn. all its life. It died slowly over decades, then I got cuttings/segments of it from some other lucky owners of it, 4-5 years ago, but they have died on me this past summer, after Hurricane Irma came through. It finally gave up 2 weeks ago:( Just in time for X-Mas.

    The extra hot summer we had must have been to much for it, then the hurricane took the rest of its 'strength I guess. If you or someone sees this, maybe you can help me out???

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