Zygocactus/Xmas Cactus

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Hi Fellow Gardeners:
I have 2 Xmas Cactus plants inside my home that are growing wild! They bloom beautifully, but are really overgrown for the size of the pot. Very difficult to manage/water them.
What is the safest way to trim these plants? Where should the cut be positioned? Anything I need to watch out for?
Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
Adam
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"A. Turner" wrote:

Instead of trimming them, take cuttings. Cut right at a joint, taking cuttings that contain at least two segments. You should take 3-4 cuttings from each plant.
Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder. Let the cuttings air-dry for about three days in the shade.
Pot the cuttings in a mix of 3 parts clean sand to 2 parts peat moss. (In a 4-inch pot, you can put two cuttings.) Keep the mix moist but not soggy. (If the pots are in saucers, there should be no standing water in the saucer for more than a few minutes.) Keep the pots out of direct sun but in strong indirect light.
If you do this now, check for roots after the parent plants bloom (in about 4-6 months). If you get rooted cuttings, discard the parent plant, replacing it with one or two rooted cuttings.
For potting, use the same mix as for rooting the cuttings but add a small amount of bonemeal and a little compost. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html ; however,with newly rooted cuttings, do not add other nutrients until after new growth appears.
--

David E. Ross
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If you get rooted cuttings, discard the

ARGH!!! WHY??
What's the reasoning behind throwing away the parent plant? I have a Xmas cactus that started from a cutting my Grandfather gave me in the early 70s. It's about 3' in diameter right now and it blooms for four or four and a half months out of the year. I can't imagine throwing away the parent plant.
Giselle (about every four years I move it to a slightly larger pot and change the soil, that's it)
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Volfie \"WackoURaSmallKnob\" Jackson wrote:

The original message in this thread was about an overgrown plant that the owner wanted to cut back. Replacing it with newly rooted cuttings will result in a more vigorous plant.
I have several potted plants that originated with gifts (especially from my mother). Although I cherish the plants, they are cuttings from cuttings from cuttings . . . I cherish them more because they grow so nicely. And my mother had been doing the same before she gave them to me.
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David E. Ross
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I understood the original post and your reply but I still don't understand the reasoning of taking cuttings and tossing the original. My plant blooms 4-5 months out of the year. That seems to be pretty darn vigorous to me. Are you telling me cuttings would do better than that?
But, again, why not simply divide an overgrown plant or cut it back? Why must the whole cycle begin from scratch? But, hey, I love the size and the natural spreading droop that old plants have so maybe it's just me...
Giselle
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An old, big christmas cactus is a wonderful thing, it can bulk up its center & almost become bonsai-tree-like, & as long as the tips are pruned, it blooms fabulously & couldn't do better. The only conceivable reason I can think of to toss the parent would be if someone didn't want a bulked up big plant that needed a much bigger pot, as eventually the roots do outgrow a smaller pot.
I wonder if the advice isn't misdirected from the recommended care of orchid cacti, which bloom all along their scalloped edges, but only once at each dent. After a few years, an old plant dominated by old leaves will have hardly any place left that hasn't already used up its one-time-only flower spots, & the most common method of restore the blooms is to start from scratch with a couple of cuttings & get a completely new plant, even though pruning out old leaves will encourage the parent plant to produce just as many new leaflike stems for new flowers.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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I love it huge. It can grow until I have to plant it in kiddie pool, I don't care. :)

Okay, I have never heard of those but I wonder if it's what I saw one time in a lawyer's office. He had a HUGE plant that had enormous flowers on it that looked like the Christmas cactus' flowers but were much bigger. And this plant was on a stand about four feet tall and it almost draped to the floor. Is that what an Orchid cactus looks like? I always wanted one of whatever that was but I never got to ask him.
Giselle (who just lost my 35 year old jade tree and almost had a stroke about it)
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Sounds like that's what it was. Here's my page on orchid cacti: http://www.paghat.com/orchidcactus.html They're super easy to grow in diffuse light.
-paghat

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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Oh, I LOVE it! I have to find one somewhere. I've never come across them anywhere.
Giselle (and I'm 600 miles away from the only one I ever saw!)
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snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com (A. Turner) wrote:

They can be separated between any pair of leaves (really leaf-like branches called "phylloclades") to keep it to a preferable size & to insure lots of blooms its next flowering season. Ideally one to three phylloclades are scissored off at the joints shortly after it finishes flowering, but more can be cut off if its really getting too big, & doing it later in the year won't hurt it though you will be removing wee starts of buds by doing it in summer so it will not be quite so full of blooms that year. The removed phylloclades are exceedingly easy to root, too, so pot up the clippings & before long they'll be growing fast too, ready to give to friends or to kids in the family if they've shown even slight interest in plants.
Pruning causes the tips of the branches to fork, resulting in more places for buds & flowers. Pruning also stimulates root growth, so eventually you will have to move it to a bigger pot, though they can stand being rootbound for quite a long time.
If they've been blooming great for a few years already, I presume you know about chilling them for a couple of weeks late in autumn. If they're in a drafty window or unheated plant room or porch, they'll be naturally chilled enough (a "chill" meaning only about 50 degrees F., though they can tolerate lower) but in a well heated & well insulated house they may not experience sufficient chill for them to detect seasons, which they need to do in order to finish preparing their buds.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Cut the joints at the nodes.

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Cereus-validus wrote:

Depending on where you live and when you take the cutting, they ca produce roots in a few days. I wouldn't use a rooting hormone for tw reasons - 1) it's a waste of money 2) rooting hormones can slow dow rooting on plants that root readily without - Peltiger ----------------------------------------------------------------------- posted via www.GardenBanter.co.uk
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Thank you all for the advice!
I'm intrigued by David's idea of new growth from cuttings. FWIW, the central/original stems of my 2 Xmas Cacti (pardon the layman term) are very hardy and woody, so it might not be a bad idea to start a new growth from tender cuts.
A.T.

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Sent them to me and I'll buy you new ones. :)
Giselle (I like the old ones)
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When i pinch off i can hardly toss the pieces away, like the Xmas cactus, pencil cactus, Jade plants et..etc.. i just stick them in a pot or even in the garden and let them grow and when someone comes by needing one, there is one for them. right now i have an extra Artemesia about ready for someone, several jades, monkey or Spider plants, Jews, have several Latanas rooting, oleanders, rabit ear cactus, begonias, ... ice plants.. i think i am going to have to have a sidewalk sale to get rid of them as i am running our of space. most of my family and friends are already well supplied by now. what to do??? I am a compulsive propagator! I swore that this next winter i would not have so many potted plants to move into the garage... duh! lee h
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On 24 Jul 2004 20:37:51 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@1starnet.com (Lee) wrote:

I like to propagate my plants too. I use Dixie cups, peat pots, yogurt cups, or anything I can find and punch holes for drainage. When my church has a plant sale, I donate the plants and they make a lot more money from that than my miserable $5 weekly donation. However, I do enjoy trading plants and cuttings! (Maybe someday Madgardener and I will get together.)
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You sound like my neighbor who has a garage sale every so often to get rid of plants he's started. I've bought from him several nice cacti and succulent plants. Got my large pencil cactus from him, growing in a tupperware cup :)
Shell

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Why, oh why, would anybody complain about having a Christmas Cactus so old it had developed woody stems???!! Murri ( Very confused & in disbelief. )
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I'm glad I'm not the only one. I thought I was confused. :)
Giselle (when this plant dies I'm going to cry for a year no matter how many 2nd generation cuttings I have of it)
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Let me know, and I'll cry we/ you...... Murri
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