Schlumbergera × buckleyi: The True Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera × buckleyi

Schlumbergera × buckleyi, also known as the true Christmas cactus, combines two of the most popular potted plants out there today: the Thanksgiving Cactus and the Christmas Cactus.

This combination has become increasingly popular in recent years, due to its stunning beauty and spectacular shape and size. With proper care, your Schlumbergera × buckleyi will be one of the most eye-catching additions to your home, whether you keep it in your office or bring it into your living room every December!

Like the Christmas tree, the true Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera × buckleyi) blooms with brilliant colors during the holiday season, only to lose its leaves and go dormant as soon as January rolls around.

But even if you don’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, you can still enjoy the cheerful holiday colors of this unique plant year-round. Whether you grow it in your home or take it with you to your office, this small flowering cactus is sure to bring a bit of cheer wherever it goes!

Origin and distribution

The true Christmas cactus is a hybrid species of cactus native to Brazil. It is a popular houseplant in temperate regions and is often used as a holiday decoration due to its ability to bloom around Christmas time.

Schlumbergera × buckleyi is a cross between Schlumbergera truncata and Schlumbergera russelliana, and was first bred in England in 1856. After many years of cultivation, it has become an attractive plant with red flowers that are self-fertile.

These plants grow best in warm environments with indirect sunlight, such as on an east or west-facing window sill. They do not like hot weather or intense light so they should be kept away from any heat sources such as open flames or direct sunlight.

One important factor to keep in mind when growing these plants is water; the soil must remain moist at all times.

Schlumbergera × buckleyi propagation

Schlumbergera × buckleyi

Schlumbergera × buckleyi can be propagated by stem cuttings taken from the tips of healthy, actively growing plants. Cuttings should be 4-6 inches long and have at least two sets of leaves. Allow the cuttings to callous over for a few days before potting them up in the well-draining cactus mix.

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Water lightly and keep the soil moist but not soggy until roots have formed. Be careful not to overwater or fertilize your new plant while it is still establishing itself as this may lead to root rot. Once established, water every 7-10 days during active growth and less frequently during winter dormancy.

Apply fertilizer every other watering during active growth; use half the dosage recommended on package instructions if you are using organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion or compost tea.

Schlumbergera × buckleyi care information

Schlumbergera × buckleyi

Schlumbergera × buckleyi is a hybrid species of cactus that is native to Brazil. It is a popular houseplant and is known for its ability to bloom indoors around the holidays. These cacti are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in a wide range of conditions. Here are some tips for general care:

Light requirement

Schlumbergera × buckleyi, or true Christmas cactus, is a hybrid cactus that is best known for its ability to bloom indoors around the holidays. While it typically prefers bright, indirect light, it can also tolerate lower light levels.

However, if it does not receive enough light, the plant will become etiolated and the stems will stretch out in search of sunlight.

Soil/potting mix

Schlumbergera × buckleyi, or the true Christmas cactus, is a hybrid cactus that is popular around the holidays. While it can be grown in any type of potting mix, it does best in a mix that is well-draining and contains some organic matter.

To help your Christmas cactus thrive, make sure to plant it in a pot that is at least 8 inches wide and has drainage holes. You should also use a well-draining soil mix for container gardening with lots of peat moss, sand, and perlite mixed together.


Schlumbergera × buckleyi requires little water and can tolerate some drought. However, during the active growth period in spring and summer, it is best to water regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

Schlumbergera truncata (Thanksgiving Cactus)


Schlumbergera × buckleyi, or true Christmas cactus, is a beautiful houseplant that blooms in winter. It’s easy to care for, but does require some specific fertilizer requirements.

Fertilize your true Christmas cactus every two weeks from spring to fall with a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer. In the fall, reduce fertilization to once a month. Stop fertilizing altogether in the winter.


Schlumbergera × buckleyi is a tropical plant, so it prefers warm temperatures. During the day, it should be kept in an area that receives direct sunlight. At night, the temperature can drop to around 50°F without harming the plan.

If the temperature drops below 50°F, the plant may start to experience dormancy.


Schlumbergera × buckleyi, or the true Christmas cactus, is a succulent native to Brazil. It’s a popular houseplant because it’s easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of environments. Unlike other cacti, the true Christmas cactus prefers high humidity and needs to be watered more frequently.

If you live in a dry climate, you can create a humid environment for your plant by placing it on a pebble tray or using a humidifier.

The ideal humidity range is between 40-50% relative humidity with temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.


Schlumbergera × buckleyi is a beautiful holiday plant. But if you want it to stay healthy and bloom year after year, you need to give it a little TLC in the form of pruning.

Here’s how to do it In late summer or early fall, before the plants go dormant for winter, cut back the long stems by at least one-third of their length.

If your garden is too shady or hot for this plant to thrive during most of the day, cut back all but four stems that are 8-12 inches tall. You can also take clippings from these shorter stems and root them in water to grow new plants.

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To make the plant bushy again, pinch off any unwanted growth tips on side shoots (the new branches growing out from the stem). To promote branching, keep the topmost shoot intact and pinch off any new shoots below it.

When to repot

Schlumbergera × buckleyi, or the true Christmas cactus, is a beautiful houseplant that blooms around the holidays. Though it’s not a true cactus, it does require similar care. Like most cacti, it prefers a well-draining potting mix and should be repotted every two to three years.

In late winter or early spring, before new growth begins, gently remove the plant from its pot and shake off any old potting mix.

Loosen the roots with your fingers, making sure they are spread out in all directions. Add fresh potting mix and replace in the same size container as before (or larger). Fill in any empty spaces with additional soil. Water thoroughly after adding more soil.

Place in a bright location with indirect light for eight hours each day. Keep soil evenly moist at all times but never soggy wet or dry.

Dormancy/Winter rest

In order to encourage blooming, the plant needs a period of dormancy or winter rest. This means that the plant should be kept fairly dry and cool (around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit) from October to February. If you live in an area where your home stays at 55°F all year round, then this is not necessary.

Otherwise, it is best to put your plant outside during this time so it can acclimate to the cold weather and when you bring it back inside again in early spring, it will bloom right away!

Flowers & fragrance

Schlumbergera × buckleyi

Schlumbergera × buckleyi is known for its beautiful flowers. The flowers are typically white or pink, and they have a delicate fragrance. This plant blooms in the winter, making it the perfect addition to your holiday decor.

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Growth rate

Schlumbergera × buckleyi is a slow grower but can reach up to two feet in height and width when fully mature. When growing this cactus indoors, make sure to place it in an area with bright, indirect light and water it when the soil is dry to the touch.


All parts of the Schlumbergera × buckleyi plant are weakly toxic if ingested. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If you suspect that your animal has ingested this plant, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

USDA hardiness zones

Schlumbergera × buckleyi thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. In these warmer climates, the plant can survive outdoors year-round. Otherwise, grow it as a houseplant and keep it indoors during the winter months.

Pests and diseases

Schlumbergera × buckleyi is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and root rot. Mealybugs are small, wingless insects that feed on plant sap. They can be controlled with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that also feed on plant sap.

They can be controlled with a strong stream of water or insecticidal soap. Root rot is a fungal disease that affects the roots of the plant. It can be diagnosed by observing the damage to the roots and wilting leaves.

To treat it, remove any infected plants from your collection and make sure they have good air circulation. Always use fresh potting soil, which you should mix well with an organic fungicide before repotting your cacti into it.