How to care for Decembrist during flowering?
The Decembrist houseplant (other names - Christmas tree, Schlumbergera, Zygocactus) belongs to the tropical forest epiphytic cacti, which traditionally bloom in late autumn and present bright and lush inflorescences by the December-January holidays. For this feature, the flower got its "winter" name. The flowering period is the most important for the grower, since the duration of flowering itself, as well as the quality of the buds, depends on the proper care of the plant during this period.
Features of the flowering period of the Decembrist
While buds are opening, the Christmas tree bush is covered with bilaterally symmetrical flowers of various colors (most often lilac, red, white, pink, purple, orange). The flowers are located at the ends of the serrated shoots of the plant.
In an apartment’s apartment, the buds of the plant are not very large, although in the homeland, in the tropics of Brazil, flowers can be up to 8 cm in size. Without proper care, it is impossible to achieve bloom in the culture. This will help prepare zigocactus for this period and create optimal conditions for it.
Did you know? Rozhdestvennik is a long-lived plant, since with proper care the culture, being in one place in the apartment, can safely grow and develop up to 20 years, and in a greenhouse or botanical garden - up to 150.
How much time and how often the Decembrists blooms at home
At home, the culture blooms annually once, subject to proper care and given the seasons.
Throughout the calendar period, the Decembrist prepares for the flowering season and goes through the following stages of development:
- a state of rest in which preparation for flowering is in progress;
- period of rest and recovery after flowering.
The flowering of the Decembrist in most cases begins in November and ends in March. Determining that the bush is about to bloom is easy.
This process is as follows:
- small buds appear on the tips of each branch;
- subsequently zygomorphic tubular flowers are revealed from the buds.
How to care for Decembrist at home
Home care is based on the following principles:
- in stimulation of flowering;
- in the right actions during flowering;
- supporting plant health after flowering.
So that it blooms
The plant loves balance in care, especially in anticipation of flowering.
To stimulate this process in a Christmas tree, it is very important to create stable and optimal environmental conditions for him:
- For the future abundant budding of the bush, you need a small, low container of a narrow shape.
- For zygocactus, a nutritionally acceptable soil composition will be a mixture consisting of leaf humus and coarse sand (1: 1), with the addition of peat and charcoal.
- Since mid-April, the culture has been fed with complex fertilizers with a high nitrogen content (1-2 times in 30 days).
- In early August, the flower is shed with potash fertilizers, which stimulate the planting of buds.
- In late August - early September, top dressing and frequent spraying are stopped, and watering is reduced to a minimum, because before flowering the crop needs to provide a rest period of about 50 days (at this time the flower gains strength for laying buds).
- It is forbidden to move the bush from place to place (especially at the beginning of autumn, with a reduction in daylight hours, since the plant needs similar lighting conditions for the appearance of future buds).
Caring for a flowering Christmas tree is based on the following principles:
- For the active formation of buds, you need a cool room with a temperature of + 12 ... + 18 ° C (at higher temperature indicators, the plant will strengthen the shoots, and not release buds).
- Sudden temperature changes in the room are not allowed .
- During flowering, watering and top dressing must be renewed carefully. After resuming the irrigation schedule, it is necessary to regularly moisten the soil after it dries out once every 3-5 days, especially at a high temperature in a room with operating heating devices. Important! Although Christmas people are very fond of spraying, during the blooming of flowers, this procedure should be abstained. Moisture falling on the buds contributes to the fading of the coloring pigment on the petals in the sun, from which the flowers look faded and unkempt.
- When kept in cooler conditions, it is better to refrain from heavy watering, so as not to provoke acidification of the soil in the pot and, as a result, rotting of the root system.
- Diffused lighting with an arrangement on the east window, without direct sunlight, is welcomed, since the scorching rays of the sun, as well as a dense shadow, have a bad effect on budding.
- From the moment buds are formed, potassium-phosphorus fertilizers are applied under the plant (1 time per month).
- In winter, use additional lighting with phytolamps.
The end of the flowering period of the Decembrist is marked by the drying out and decay of its inflorescences.
Further plant care is as follows:
- The top part of the stems is removed from the faded plants (for greater bushiness of the plant in the next season).
- Fertilizer is applied once for flowering plants.
- Frequency of watering is again reduced ; water the bushes exclusively with boiled water at room temperature or slightly warmed up.
- Subsequently, watering ceases for 2-3 weeks (during the dormant period), and after this time, carefully resume again.
- You can spray the plant with warm water.
- At the end of the flowering period, it is better for the Christmas man to be in a cool room.
- Mandatory short-term ventilation of the room (without drafts).
- In the early spring, when new segments appear on the flower, the culture is transferred to a new tank and fertilizing is resumed, introducing nitrogen-containing fertilizers.
- When establishing spring air temperature not lower than + 10 ° С, containers with Christmas trees can be taken out onto the street.
Important! If during the planned transshipment of the Decembrist, its roots are slightly damaged, they are washed in water heated to +36 ° C, damaged areas are removed, and only after that they are planted in a new substrate.
Possible growing problems
Despite the fairly simple care of the Decembrist, an inexperienced grower may encounter some problems when growing it, for example, the lack of bud formation, falling inflorescences or plant damage by diseases and parasites. This usually happens if the owner of the flower cares for him incorrectly.
Why blooms poorly
Here are some common mistakes in caring for a Christmas tree that contribute to poor flowering or a complete lack of flowers:
- lack or excess of lighting;
- sudden changes in temperature in the room;
- moving a flowerpot with a flower from its usual place;
- an excessively large and tall container, in which the flower develops an excessive volume of the root system, and it directs all its forces to its development;
- the soil in the pot does not meet the requirements for flowering zygocactus;
- there is no timely additional feeding of the culture;
- the plant did not have a dormant period;
- flooding the soil with water or vice versa, excessive drying of earthen feed in the pot;
- incorrect phyto-orientation of the flowers with frequent rotation of the pot with the plant (usually the flowers are oriented to the sun, therefore, with frequent rotation of the flowerpot, the laying of inflorescences may stop);
- the location of the bush on the sunny side without shading.
Find out in more detail why the Decembrist does not bloom at home and what to do, as well as read how to properly transplant, water and feed the Decembrist.
Why do flowers fall
Another problem with growing a Christmas tree is the fall of its buds that have already appeared. The causes of the problem may be different.
- rearrangement of the pot during flowering to another place or under direct sunlight;
- plentiful watering;
- lack of moisture in both soil and air;
- non-nutrient soil in a flowerpot;
- plant damage by diseases of fusarium, phytafluoride, phytium, in which not only buds, but also leaves wither and fall (usually the treatment of these diseases is not effective, therefore, plants are destroyed along with the flowerpot);
- if the flower has not been transplanted for a long time.
Decembrists can also be attacked by harmful insects, such as a spider mite, scabies, powdery mealybug, or get infected with powdery mildew (insects are destroyed by the Aktellik and Fitoverm insecticides; in case of powdery mildew, it is necessary to change the soil in the flowerpot and reduce plant watering )
You can read more about the diseases of Decembrist.
As you can see, growing a Decembrist in an apartment is not associated with observance of excessively laborious rules and requirements. If the florist can arrange home conditions for culture close to natural for the culture, then the abundant flowering and healthy appearance of the Christmas tree will please its owner throughout not only the coming winter, but also for long years.