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Old 04-05-2018, 05:43 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
352 posts, read 207,699 times
Reputation: 1117

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I have some cuttings from an heirloom Christmas cactus, a schlumbergera x buckleyi variety. I've never had this type of plant before, and I'm trying to figure out what medium the cuttings should ideally be rooted in, and if that's different from the medium to use once the rooting has taken place.

Right now, what I have available to use is Ocean's Forest potting soil, which seems to be fast draining. I have Chinese money plants (Pilea peperomioides) and ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia ) in the OF and doing well, both of which supposedly need well-drained medium. I also have the Bonsai Jack gritty mix, which is bark fines, clay, and something else that I forget, and then another brand of cactus and succulent mix, which contains coir, perlite, pumice, sand, and stalite.

I have read so many recommendations and also many stories of rotting plants, and there is seemingly no consensus on what medium should be used.

Does anyone here have a Christmas cactus (or any variety of schlumbergera), and it's thriving? If so, what is the medium you're using? Can I root the cuttings in cactus mix, or do I need the heavier soil of OF? Does the Christmas cactus need more organic material than the cactus mix contains, like perhaps I should mix it in some ratio with Ocean's Forest?

I appreciate any and all help or advice!
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Old 04-05-2018, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now a Rehoboth Beach Bunny
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I have several all planted in what ever I had left over and they are all thriving. The only difference I noticed is that the light seems to have more to do with it than anything else, as they all seem to do quite well.
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:05 AM
 
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I don't think it makes much difference. It should root easily regardless of the soil.
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
10,998 posts, read 2,097,214 times
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Cuttings need different soil...a mix or peat and sand is best.

Later after root growth, use a soil for epiphytes or a general soil like Miracle Grow with perlite mixed in for a lighter soil. Heavier soils can get too saturated with water and drown the plant.
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Old 04-05-2018, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
352 posts, read 207,699 times
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Thanks you guys! I do have a wide variety of lighting conditions, from a diffused skylight to windows from shady north to direct morning sun and direct afternoon sun. The only condition I don't have is an unshaded south window, the south windows get limited dappled sun through pine trees. So I'll experiment with the lighting conditions.

I'll have to choose something besides peat, just because I've personally had unpleasant experiences with it. If it gets too dry, which sometimes happens, it seemed like I could never really wet it again! It was frustrating to me. I know other people love it, and I've heard that the cactus appreciate the acidic soil, I'm just biased against it right now.
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
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Sand stays wet so the mix of peat and sand should not allow the peat to dry out....

just make sure you use a very lightweight soil for cuttings. In horticulture school, we used peat and sand for cuttings or a mix with perlite to keep soil light. You could also try rooting hormone powder.
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
352 posts, read 207,699 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
Sand stays wet so the mix of peat and sand should not allow the peat to dry out....

just make sure you use a very lightweight soil for cuttings. In horticulture school, we used peat and sand for cuttings or a mix with perlite to keep soil light. You could also try rooting hormone powder.
OK thank you, I'll keep this in mind. I am usually very open to wide experimentation, but I have a limited number of these cuttings which have sentimental value, as well as simply not being available in nurseries these days, so I'm under pressure (self-imposed) to get it right pretty quickly.

Last edited by typical_guinea_pig; 04-05-2018 at 09:27 PM..
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
352 posts, read 207,699 times
Reputation: 1117
Further queries about CC rooting, if anyone has experience regarding:

How many can go in a plant pot, as in how far apart are the rooted cuttings spaced in creating a permanent plant?

Once rooted, do new shoots emerge from the soil to increase the size of the plant, or is it just when an above ground piece touches the soil that it roots from there?

Is it best to put the cuttings in a small pot and continue to pot up, or will it be OK to select a larger pot and just let it fill in more slowly?
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:05 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
15,707 posts, read 19,150,534 times
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This article says Christmas cacti are actually not desert cacti, but actually come from rain forests and live in trees, so you would probably be best to plant them in your fast-draining soil instead of sandy soil:

When & How to Split Up & Transplant a Christmas Cactus | Home Guides | SF Gate

It says they flower best when somewhat root bound.

If it was me, I'd just plant them in the fast-draining soil you have. And I'd plant them together, if you will have somewhere to keep it when it gets really big. If not, then plant them in separate pots with a couple cuttings each.

When & How to Split Up & Transplant a Christmas Cactus | Home Guides | SF Gate
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:58 AM
Status: "Support the Mining Law of 1872" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
8,834 posts, read 9,661,371 times
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Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus) is an epiphyte so it's soil is composed of the accumulated detritus of primarily woody plants. It's a very light and quick-draining soil. The easiest way to replicate it is a mixture of cactus/succulent soil and Perlite.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perlite

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphyte
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