Last updated on August 25th, 2023 at 12:28 pm
This easy-to-grow plant can be purchased at many garden centers and nurseries and requires minimal care to thrive indoors all year long.
They are hardy and easy to grow plants. They prefer bright light and regular watering, but may also be placed outside on warm days during the summer months.
Origin and distribution
Schlumbergera microsphaerica is a cactus that originates from the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. It can be found in the wild growing on rocks or trees in shady areas. This cactus is also known as the mini Christmas cactus or Thanksgiving cactus because it blooms around those holidays. The plant was introduced to Europe in 1837 and has been grown there since.
There are now three types of plants available, one with white flowers, one with pink flowers, and one with purple flowers. In Brazil, this cactus grows in soil rich with lime (chalk) which aids its photosynthesis process, but in order for it to grow indoors, the soil should have a neutral pH balance. The proper temperature range for growth is 20-30 degrees Celsius during the day and 10-20 degrees Celsius at night.
One way to keep these temperatures constant is by using heat mats placed underneath the potting mix so they’re not insulated by the glass pot. Temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius will kill them, so if you live in an area where temperatures drop below this range then you’ll need to bring your plant inside during the winter months.
Schlumbergera microsphaerica propagation
Schlumbergera microsphaerica can be propagated by stem or leaf cuttings. To propagate by stem cuttings, use a sharp knife to take a 3-4 inch cutting from the end of a healthy stem.
Remove the bottom leaves and dip the cut end in the rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in moistened perlite or sand and place in bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and within a few weeks, you should see new growth.
When the roots are approximately one inch long, transplant them into 4-inch pots filled with potting mix and grow them under fluorescent lights until they’re ready for their final destination.
Mature plants will need 12 hours of full sun each day as well as an average temperature between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit (16-30 degrees Celsius). Place your plants outdoors during the summer months and protect them from frost when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
You may also want to fertilize your plant monthly during the spring and summer seasons using fertilizer mixed according to package instructions. These tips will help ensure that your plant stays healthy and continues to produce its beautiful red flowers!
Schlumbergera microsphaerica care
Schlumbergera microsphaerica, or the mini Christmas cactus, is a delightful little plant that’s easy to care for. It prefers bright, indirect light and needs to be watered about once a week. Let the soil dry out completely between waterings. These plants are relatively drought tolerant. They also don’t like to be too wet, so make sure your pot has good drainage.
Schlumbergera microsphaerica requires bright, indirect light for best growth and flowering. If you don’t have a spot with bright, indirect light, you can grow it under fluorescent lights. Keep the lights about 12 inches (30 cm) above the plant and run them for 12 to 16 hours per day. The more light, the better your chances of getting flowers.
Schlumbergera microsphaerica prefers a potting mix that is light and airy, such as a cactus mix or perlite. The mix should be well-draining to prevent root rot. However, it should also contain some moisture retention agents such as sphagnum moss or peat moss in order to provide adequate water for the plant.
Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Water thoroughly when you do water, and be sure to empty any excess water from the saucer. If the leaves start to wilt, that means it’s time to water. During the winter months, you can cut back on watering. These plants are dormant during this time of year so they will not need as much water.
Fertilize your Schlumbergera microsphaerica every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Be sure to water the plant before and after applying the fertilizer.
During the winter months, you can reduce fertilization to once a month. When repotting, use a cactus potting mix or make your own by mixing one part perlite with one part peat moss. Clay pots are also an option, but they will dry out faster than plastic pots.
Soaking the roots in room-temperature water for 15 minutes prior to planting will help them grow more quickly into the new soil and helps reduce transplant shock.
Schlumbergera microsphaerica prefers warm temperatures and will do best between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. They will tolerate cooler temperatures down to about 60 degrees, but prolonged exposure to temperatures below this can cause problems. If the temperature gets too hot, however, they will start to lose their leaves.
Schlumbergera microsphaerica thrives in humidity levels between 40-50%. If the air is too dry, the leaves will start to brown and curl. To increase humidity, you can mist the plant daily or set it on a pebble tray. Avoid wetting the leaves, as this can cause rot.
If your Schlumbergera microsphaerica is leggy, you can prune it back by up to one-third of its total length. This will encourage the plant to produce new growth, which will be fuller and more compact. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
To prune, simply cut the stems back to the desired length with a sharp pair of shears. Be sure to make clean cuts so that the plant can heal quickly. Remove any dead leaves, flowers, or old stem material from the plant at this time as well. Keep in mind that after pruning, it will take about three months for the plant to grow back completely!
When to repot
You’ll know it’s time to repot your Schlumbergera microsphaerica when the roots start to show through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, or when the plant becomes top-heavy and starts to topple over. Be sure to use a pot that is only one size larger than the current pot, and use fresh potting mix. Water well after repotting.
Schlumbergera microsphaerica, like all cacti and succulents, benefits from a winter dormancy period. During this time, the plant will not grow and may even appear to die. However, it is important to keep the plant somewhat moist during this time so that it does not completely dry out.
The best way to do this is to water it very sparingly, about once every two weeks. Make sure the soil stays moist but never wet or soggy. If you forget to water your plant for a while and it starts looking shriveled up, don’t worry! Just give it some water and wait for a few days before watering again.
Schlumbergera microsphaerica flower & fragrance
The Schlumbergera microsphaerica is a beautiful plant that produces stunning pink flowers. Although it is not fragrant, it is a popular choice for many people because of its easy care and maintenance.
The growth rate of Schlumbergera microsphaerica is moderate. In the wild, it can take up to ten years for a plant to reach maturity. However, in cultivation, it typically takes three to five years.
The size of the plant will also depend on the pot size and growing conditions. When grown in a 4-inch pot, the plant will only grow to about 6 inches tall. But given ideal conditions, it can reach 12 inches or more.
All Schlumbergera are considered non-toxic and safe for handling by humans and animals. However, the sap of some species may cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals. If you experience any irritation, wash the affected area with soap and water.
USDA hardiness zones
Schlumbergera microsphaerica grows best in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. These plants require a little more attention than your average houseplant, but they are worth the time investment!
Pests and diseases
As with all succulents, Schlumbergera microsphaerica is susceptible to mealybugs and other sap-sucking pests. These pests can cause the leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop off. To prevent infestation, water only when the soil is dry, and keep an eye out for any signs of pests.
If you do find pests, try to remove them by hand or with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Don’t use chemical pesticides as they will likely kill your plant as well. A weak solution of dish soap and water might also work if you’re careful not to get it on the flowers.