Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergia speciosa)

These plants have flattened segmented branches arching outward, and flowers of orange, pink, lavender, red or white tones are borne at the stem tips.  Budding occurs during the short days of October and November.  During this period the plant should be placed where it gets plenty of light during the day but complete darkness at night and is exposed to cool night temperatures.  Allow the soil to dry between waterings, and do not fertilize during this period.  Once flowering begins, the plant will need more watering than at other times.  However, the plant is susceptible to root rot caused by overwatering.  Feed 20-20-20 plant food or Osmocote slow release plant food.  These plants need some sunlight for proper bud development in the fall but respond to partial shade during the summer.