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Xmas Cactus

Hi All

Happy New Year - a bit late.
I have two schlumbergeras one about a year old and a new one.  The older was doing well during winter 17/18 until I left it behind the curtains overnight and its buds just fell away without remorse.  This winter I have been careful (I thought) and have had three lovely blooms and lots of buds but again the majority dropped before coming into flower.  It lives on a coffee table in a south facing living room and is watered every 7-10 days by plunging into cold tap water for 30 minutes and then allowing to drain.  Generally the temperature does not fall blow 15 degrees overnight although it will get down to say 10 degrees if we are away without the heating on.
The newer one came with lots of buds and gave half a dozen blooms but then its buds started to fall as well.  Lives in the same place.  It does give the impression of being overwatered by soil touch.
Any suggestions about what I am doing wrong?

Thanks in advance

Bob

Posts

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,106

    Could be anything really - too much water, too hot, air too dry, draughts, etc.

    Also I was always told by my Nan (who had several of them for many years) that they don't like being moved or even turned when they have buds/flowers on so the new one might be reacting to being moved from the shop to your house. That could be an old wives' tale though.

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 33,859
    Hello bobloes. I noticed that you mentioned cold tap water. This could cause stress as roots are quite sensitive to changes in temperature and the result could be bud drop. It is far better to keep water in containers so that they reach the ambient temperature of your house and then use that water for your houseplants. This then will not shock the plant. It should not be necessary to soak the pots as often as you mention either. Only add water when the surface of the compost feels dry. 10°C is too cold.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • bobloesbobloes Posts: 134
    My apologies for not getting back sooner - althought it will be another year before I discover whether any suggestion works!  Gardening needs patience.  Thanks for those ideas.  I will definitely try the room temperature water.  Cheers  Bob
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 33,859
    You are most welcome Bob
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,125
    JennyJ said:

    Could be anything really - too much water, too hot, air too dry, draughts, etc.

    Also I was always told by my Nan (who had several of them for many years) that they don't like being moved or even turned when they have buds/flowers on so the new one might be reacting to being moved from the shop to your house. That could be an old wives' tale though.

    My grandad-in-law told me this about positioning. I always kept mine facing the same direction. I rescued a huge couple of these from my M&S (reduced to £2) as they watered them so much, they were sat in water in their decorative plastic cover, and smelt of vomit. I've still got them.
  • Ladybird4 said:
    Hello bobloes. I noticed that you mentioned cold tap water. This could cause stress as roots are quite sensitive to changes in temperature and the result could be bud drop. It is far better to keep water in containers so that they reach the ambient temperature of your house and then use that water for your houseplants. This then will not shock the plant. It should not be necessary to soak the pots as often as you mention either. Only add water when the surface of the compost feels dry. 10°C is too cold.

    I totally agree with Ladybird.  Forgive me but IMO there is no such thing as a house plant.  Having said that.  Plants can and do decorate our homes, much to our pleasure.  The can be many in-home enemies to plants.  Light, varying temperature, drafts.  Changing the position of the individual and of course watering.  This is a controversial subject.  This is just my take on the matter being a plant pathologist.  House plants per se.  Water with tepid water eg:  Let the water stand long enough to gain room temperature.  Simply moistening the surface of the compost, sorry Ladybird.  This is IMO cosmetic, and in fact can and does contribute to base rot in plants.  Continuing to water in this way, and using modern day potting composts.  Very soon a sinking of the compost adjcent to the plants stem will cause the once soil protected stem to be exposed.
    Perhaps another unforseen problem with watering.  That is the purity of our tap water.  Check this out for yourself.  If possible try and do a simple pH test.  Who knows.  You mighr be killing your plant with kindness.  Perhaps at the end of the day.  As your plants starts to form flower buds.  Leave it alone.  Don't move it.  Best wishes to you............and your plant.
  • RedSquirrelAbroadRedSquirrelAbroad Brussels Posts: 74
    Dear Bob,

    I am not 100% sure if it’s the cause of the bud loss, but schlumbergeras are not sun lovers, they are jungle plants and like humidity. Does it get direct sunlight in your south-facing living room? If so, I would recommend moving it to a cool-ish spot facing north or east. Mine faces north-east, gets watered with tap water every 2 weeks or so, and is doing well. If it’s not in a hot spot, then you also reduce the risk of overwatering to compensate for the heat. I do stop watering for a month in the autumn to encourage blooms and also for 6 weeks after flowering when the plant needs a rest - advice I followed from this great guide on Wikihow, which has a fun quiz you can do: 

    https://m.wikihow.com/Care-for-a-Christmas-Cactus
  • bobloesbobloes Posts: 134
    Hi Mike
    I am slightly confused by your post.  I intend to use rainwater (I have plenty) but could you specify whether you advise soaking and then draining or watering from the top and draining?  As I have two plants Red Squirrel I shall put one front and one in the back of the house (North and South).  No-ish to direct sunlight.  Thanks again I shall not give up!!
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