Zygocactus, better known among Russian flower growers as the Decembrist, is a native inhabitant of the tropical forests of Central and South America. In nature, these fast-growing epiphytes grow exclusively on the roots and trunks of trees. Their size is rarely more than 50 cm in height, and the stems, consisting of segment segments, have a drooping shape. Some zygocactus species have small spines at the ends of the segments, while others do not.
However, this plant was not grown in culture at all because of the unique structure of leaf plates and the shape of the stems. Christmas flowers blooming, - this is what attracts millions of flower growers around the world. In the Decembrist, they have a zygomorphic shape, the tube of which is slightly curved, and the petals of the corolla are wide open. Corolla and stamens completely protrude far beyond the edge of the flower, which gives it additional lightness and airiness. The color of the flowers of Decembrist ranges from white to saturated red or pink.
In nature, zigocactus flowers appear in the summer. This property is preserved when growing plants at home, even if it is carried out in the northern latitudes. As you know, when summer is in the homeland of a plant, winter reigns in Europe. That is why the second name of zigocactus is the Christmas cactus and Decembrist.
Various signs are associated with it. So, it is believed that a flower withering despite good care warns the host about the illness of a loved one. Other sources say that the Decembrist lack of flowering can talk about the presence of negative energy in the house.
Zigocactus first appeared in culture in the early 19th century. Since then, its assortment has expanded significantly, and instead of one species in pots, dozens of varieties, varieties and hybrids of this tropical guest can now show off. They differ mainly in the size and coloring of flowers, as well as in the form of leaf segments.
The most common types of Decembrist are the following:
The species listed above were used to create a huge number of varieties and hybrids.
|Gold Rush (Golden fever)||A small in height plant of ampelous form with large flowers of raspberry blossom. Its middle is painted bright yellow.|
|Golden Charm (Golden Charm)||A beautiful drooping plant with small lemon-yellow flowers.|
|Dark Eve (Dark Eve)||The plant is decorated with numerous snow-white flowers with a dark raspberry wide border around the edge.|
|Madame Butterfly||Very delicate flowers with long thin white petals. Their ends are decorated with a raspberry border.|
|Dance Polka (Polka Dancer)||A plant with very large raspberry-lilac flowers.|
|Sunset dancer||Variety with multi-tiered (double) flowers of orange-red color.|
|Beach Dancer||A variety with flowers that are unique in shape and color — they have a white tube and rounded petals are painted in salmon color. Their edges are decorated with a thin bright orange border.|
|Melissa||A variety with a typical flower shape. He acquired a special charm due to the pure white color of the tube and petals.|
The main feature in the care of the Decembrist is the creation of conditions close to those in which he exists in nature. As mentioned earlier, zygocactus grows in tropical forests, and therefore it requires a lot of heat and moisture, as well as diffused light.
Caring for a flower is not complicated, but you can not call the plant completely capricious. So, Decembrist really does not like “moving” from place to place. During the flowering period, for example, it is undesirable to even turn the pot, not to mention moving it to another place.
The Decembrist feels uncomfortable on the southern and western windows, since here the sun's rays can turn out to be excessively bright. It is best to place it on the windows of east and north-east orientation. At the same time, you can put a pot with a plant directly on the windowsill. If the house does not have windows with this orientation, you can place the Decembrist in rooms with windows to the south and south-west. In this case, it is recommended to put the pot with the plant away from the window.
Important! Despite the lack of demanding lighting, do not place the plant away from light sources. Decembrist in the dark will be much weaker bloom.
Unlike many indoor plants, which delight flowering in the summer and spring, and go to rest in winter, the Decembrist needs warmth and light in winter. At this time, the air temperature should be in the range from 18 to 32 degrees. In summer, on the contrary, the pot with the plant should be placed in the most cool place where the temperature does not rise above 18 degrees. The maximum low temperature for zigocactus should be maintained from February to March, that is, immediately after flowering. At this time, the zigocactus pot should be placed in the brightest room of the house with a temperature of 10 to 12 degrees. Caring for a flower during this period is relatively simple, since it does not require heavy watering and moisturizing.
Zigocactus needs a lot of fresh air to grow successfully. In summer, it is better to put it on a shaded balcony or loggia, and in winter regularly ventilate the room.
In contrast to the succulents, to whom the Decembrist is a relative, he is extremely positive about watering. To support its growth and flowering, the soil will have to be moistened up to three times a week. Water should not be cold and saline. It is necessary to defend it at least a day. In addition to eliminating salts, the water during this time will have time to warm up to room temperature.
No less than soil moisture, the Decembrist also needs air humidity. In order to bring the atmosphere in the room as tropical as possible, the grower will have to spray the plant daily. In addition, it is advisable to put the flower pot in a tray with wet pebbles.
In the summer, when the winter rainy season reigns in the American tropical zone, the Decembrist needs a warm shower. Sprinkling should be carried out at least twice a week. At the same time, it is recommended to wrap the pot with a film so that the soil does not become waterlogged and the leaves are well washed with streams of water.
Starting in March, that is, after the end of flowering, it is recommended to start feeding Decembrist with complex fertilizers in half dose. The frequency of top dressing is no more than twice a month. Feeding should be stopped no later than mid-September.
Pruning is an important part of zygocactus care. It is produced until mid-summer. In this case, the operation is so called only formally, since the use of a special tool is not provided - it is recommended that the shoots of the Decembrist be manually unscrewed at the desired height of the shoots.
Only shoots that grow incorrectly or are too bent should be removed. Also it is worth removing the damaged segments. After formation, the plant begins to intensively grow young shoots, on which buds will later form.
Cut shoots are used to propagate zygocactus. They take root well when planted in light, well-moistened soil.
For zygocactus, spacious pots are selected whose width exceeds the depth. The substrate is mixed from humus, peat, sand and sod land in equal parts. At the bottom, it is highly advisable to equip a good drainage to reduce the risk of root decay from getting wet. It is necessary to transplant plants at intervals when it ceases to grow green mass and has not yet begun flowering.
The frequency of transplantation of Decembrists depends on the age of the plant: young (up to three years) are transplanted annually, and then every five years.
Reproduction of zigocactus is considered easier than other types of indoor flowers. To get a new plant, you need to break off the shoot from an adult plant and leave it for several days to wither. Then the process is placed in a moist substrate and monitored so that the soil remains moist. The rooting of the young Decembrist occurs quite quickly - from 2 to 4 weeks.
For lovers of unusual forms of domestic plants, there is an interesting way to reproduce Decembrists, when the leaves of zygocactus are grafted onto succulent. Most often they take pereskiy for this role. To get the beautiful tree-like form of the Decembrist, a deep notch is made at the top of the cactus rootstock, into which a zigocactus leaf is inserted. It is recommended to fix the scion with a thorn and thread. After the Decembrist starts growing, the leaves on the rootstock are torn off, and a support is established next to it. Subsequent care of such a plant is no different from caring for the usual form of Decembrist.
If the Decembrist does not bloom, then there may be several reasons:
All this should be enough for the Decembrist to please the lover of these indoor plants with a long and very magnificent flowering.