Problem w/ Yellow TG Cactus

wrenwood69December 3, 2010

Over the past several years I've collected about a dozen different holiday cacti. Most of them are the Thanksgiving cactus variety, and most of them are coming into bloom now.

I'm wondering about the variety with yellow blooms. Of all my cacti, the yellow one produces the fewest blooms, and the blooms don't last nearly as long as those on the other cacti -- plus, the plant itself isn't as robust a grower as the others. Is all of that normal for the yellow variety? It's the very short life of the blooms that I'm most curious about.

Also, is there only one cultivar of Thanksgiving cacti that produces yellow blooms?

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hi, Wrenwood, what is your potting mix like, and how often do you water?

While Holiday cacti are blooming, it is best to keep them moist.
Once the blooming is over, ease up on the watering for about a month,
when the plant will be recuperating. Then, as the solar values increase on
the other side of the Solstice, you can resume watering at a more frequent rate.

This would be my only guess at to the short bloom cycle.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:59PM
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(I responded yesterday but it didn't make it somehow.)

I just happened to be stopping by this forum. Years ago my mom and I were at a greenhouse where they had many colors of the holiday cacti. I know this sounds terrible, but we picked up pieces that had been knocked off and took them home and started them. I'm sure we bought something too (my mother was very honest). Perhaps she couldn't stand seeing all those cuttings going to waste?

I don't recall what all came from them but I know the yellow one didn't last long. I don't see them for sale much, if ever, so I think they probably are less hardy.

I had a white (pink in the middle) that I had for years and the orange "Thanksgiving" one, although I think I got it elsewhere. For some reason, my husband would take my bigger plants outdoors in the summer, which was something I never did. He didn't bring them in as soon as he should have either.

The last time, he put my Christmas cactuses in a room where I never go and they died since he never cared for them. I lost my mother's, my white one and my orange one. In years previous, I'd lost a fig that had grown big enough to put Christmas lights on it (the sheep ate it). All I can guess is that his mother took her plants outside in the summer. I am thankful that she didn't grow african violets.

They always bloomed far ahead of schedule when he did that too. I would really like a white one again but am afraid of bringing home pests, even if I found one. Of course my mother's is not replaceable.

I've wondered about the yellow because it was very pretty. That was so long ago and the first we'd ever seen them. They don't seem too common now.

There is an update since the first posting anyway. DH had announced that he'd brought a start from his mother's Chrismas cactus. He brought it in today. I asked him if it had been in the truck all this time (2 days) and he said yes, wrapped in its paper towel. We have snow. I told him if I could raise them from the dead, I'd have saved my own :).

Diana in PA

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:03AM
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I wonder if the yellow ones were bred more for color than vitality or other beneficial traits. Or possibly it's a very recessive trait and there's some sort of inbreeding depression going on?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:53AM
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You all bring up some very good points..

If I may add to this? Why is it that the bought ones are full of blooms and look as yellow as can be..

Last year when I bought mine, it was a beautiful yellow and the flowers lasted quite a long time..This year they are a bit pink and yellow, but still loaded with blooms and still hanging on fully opened...I do have this plant in a coold bright room which could account for good flower growth although not perfectly yellow, and lasting quite a while?

In fact, there is a member named Pug over at the cactus forums that seems to be doing very well with hers too...It is gorgeous!


Here is a link that might be useful: Pug's yellow one..

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 7:25PM
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It looks beautiful! Where would you find a white one? (I get confused when I try to look at all those fancy cacti.)

I imagine my experience was 20 years ago or so (with the cuttings).

I have no answer on the yellow/pink except the same sort of thing tends to happen with african violets. It may be growing conditions.

Diana in PA

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 7:37PM
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Wren and Diana. There are several Ebay sellers who have 'yellow' CC/TC available.
Many are cuttings, but if you want an entire plant, try Hirt's. They sell on Ebay, Amazon and their own website.

Here's a pic of my Yellow CC/TC from Hirt's that arrived this year.

Their CC/TC are 9.99..plant potted 4" plastic pot.
BTW, they have other colors, including white. Toni

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 7:55PM
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jonaskragebaer(8 denmark)

9.99 for a tc that size? 0.0, damn the prices are crazy in the u.s. XD
here in DK they sell tc's that size go for 4$ in the grocery stores :), and the other day i went to a a nursery, they where selling tc's in all colors and sizes the biggest ones where about 10" tall and they where 3$ each, i was close to buying a few but unfortunately i dont have room for anymore plants atm :/ so i ended up buying a big hoya linearis in a hanging basket :)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 4:14PM
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Hi all...
last year I bought 2 yellow ....and gave one to a friend.
over the summer hers grew huge, its at least 3 times bigger then mine...I had mine outside, north side of the house I trans planted it into well draining soil and fertilized it..and my friend trans planted hers into and huge pot and black soil and it was in her sun room and she never fertilizes anything...anything she grows is huge and beautiful...can't explain .....
nice pictures and great colors of flowers...and Mike love your little rabbit....linda

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 9:19AM
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Jona, is 4.00 Denmark the same as 4.00 US currancy?

Yellow flowers TC are hard if not impossible finding here. Local stores carry the same colors, 'those I have.' Pink, pink and white, etc.
So, in order for me to purchase a yellow TC, it has to be done online.
Have you checked Ebay? Ppl are selling 1 and 2 unrooted, segments for absurd prices. Some as much as 15.00 for a 2 segment, unrooted cutting. Thing is, people buy them.

Depending where one shops makes a difference in price. Most holiday cactus in 4" pots are 4.99. 8" pots go for 9.99- 12.99. Now if you shop at a Florist, well, they're rip offs. lol. Florists sell a simple Pothos, in 6" pots, 29.00 and up.

Evenutally yellow TC will be more common and sold everywhere. Living in the midwest, we're probably second to last finding rarer plants, colors, etc..Toni

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 5:05PM
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jonaskragebaer(8 denmark)

well we dont use $'s in denmark, our currency is called kroner (crowns), and atm 1 us$ is 5,5 kroner :) and the plants where 20 danish crowns so the plants where actually 3,6 us$ :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 10:38AM
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Jonas, so you're saying a TC in a 4" pot, runs from 3-6 USD? If so, great price.

I should research, but what type of climate is Denmark? Do you have cold, snowy winters? I'm trying to remember Geography class, what was taught about Denmark, but I'm drawing a blank. lol.
I think it's cold, right?
What type of tropicals, if any, grow there? 'hardy' For some reason, people who live overseas, especially Europe, and Asia locate plants we in the states cannot.
Especially succulents, mainly Crassulas.

I think you've been around GW a while, see plants we get here. Is there any special plants you don't see here, you can get there? Toni

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 5:29PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Jonas mentioned in another Thread that Denmark is quickly becoming a major producer of Thanksgiving Cactus...
so that helps to explain the availability and the excellent prices.

Denmark, land of the Danes, is quite cold and snowy. It guards the entrance to the Baltic Sea.

"Never pay the Danegeld!" ;)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 7:24PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I think prices are also different within the US. I was in the grocery store today and they have yellow, pink this year and they are 3.99 in a 4" pot. Last year it was white and a deep almost red.

The good deal in our grocery store what does not sell in two weeks will be 1.00. That is how I have purchased all my TC. They are not named but that is OK with me.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:59PM
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jonaskragebaer(8 denmark)

our winters a cold and snowy so you remembered correctly :)
we've been covered in snow since the end of november, but it actually just melted away today :)
i myself grow a few tropicals outside, but i think you have them in the states too, like Gunnera's, bananas and a few others, but i haven't collected that many plants yet, im still very young :)
i only think theres 1 or 2 species of crassula that can grow outdoors here, i think we have about just the same plants here as you have over there :), tough the other day i found a rather interesting tc called "exotica"
this was the best pictures i could find on the web, i think its a rather new species i havent seen it before.

"Never pay the Danegeld!" ;) wheres that from?, sounds familiar :)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 10:43AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Jonas!

It's from a poem by Rudyard Kipling about the problem with paying off the old Scandinavian raiders.
Here's just a little of the first part. Maybe you're familiar ;)


A.D. 980-1016

"IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say:
"We invaded you last night - we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:
"Though we know we should defeat you,
we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane."


Here is a link that might be useful: Dane-Geld by Kipling

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 1:16PM
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jonaskragebaer(8 denmark)

oh, i never heard that poem :),
should prob. have paid more attention in school ;)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 4:43PM
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These yellow TG cacti used to be very expensive and only online. I just got my first yellow a couple weeks ago. I have also found the blooms have low longevity, but I still am glad I got it. $5 dollars at Lowes. For those that don't have one yet, check several of your local Lowe's. I found mine in only ONE of my Lowes (and not the nearest!) hiding among more ordinary colors in a display. 6" pots in nice scrolled bronzy plastic cache pots. Mine had pink blush on it, which I think adds to the charm greatly.

meyermike_1micha: Check out the attached link. The pink blush you observed on your yellow TG cactus is likely caused by cold growing conditions. The same thing happens with the white ones. Cold growing conditions will also probably preserve the flowers longer. It's a trade-off if you don't like the pink coloring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Holiday Cactus History

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 4:32PM
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I forgot. OP said "is there only one cultivar of Thanksgiving cacti that produces yellow blooms?"

I'm pretty sure I've seen more than one. I was trying to find a cultivar name to put on mine, but there appear to be several cultivar names floating around. There are several yellowy ones in the link attached below.

Also, does anyone have Schlumbergera "Enigma"? It's amazing. Enigma

Here is a link that might be useful: Holiday Cactus Gallery

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 4:38PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi VLMastra,

Thanks VERY much for this link, I had not seen it before & found it fascinating reading (the history of the collection of these plants, etc.)

For those interested in the yellow ones, pls. read well into the history, where it explains the yellow blooming TCs were not naturally occurring plants & only came into being by human intervention (not sure if the term hybridization would be correct here). Goes onto explain they were not vigorous growers or plants w/ many flowers ...

I'm especially fascinated as I grew up in Rio (where these plants originate) 'til age 10, yet I don't recall ever seeing any of them there.

I remember many of our commonly grown plants from tropical Rio: Sansevierias, Canna, Hibiscus, Euphorbia miliis & Aroids galore (Monsteras, giant Philos, etc.) but not a single TC or CC, seems odd in retrospect.

I was especially lucky to have made frequent visits w/ my family to the Botanic Garden in Rio which was just spectacular (I'm guessing it still is). I even got lost in there once, probably wandered off to see some pretty flower ...

Anyway, thanks again for sharing such a great site; I really appreciate it & Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 5:28PM
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No problem pirate_girl, and Merry Christmas to you as well. You've been here quite a while right? I've been lurking on Gardenweb since probably 2002 or 2003 (way back when Spike owned it), and coming back I recognize quite a few names.

Glad you liked the link. It was sort of a breakthrough for me as well. Check this one out too. It's an industrial horticultural book with a chapter (Chapter 13) on CCs and TGCs, etc., aimed at the hybridizer. It's relatively scientific -- great for me as a botanist -- but maybe a little harder to read in parts. It deals with more of the history, the hybrid ancestry of our modern plants, polyploidy (doubling of the genetic material), reproductive isolation (most holiday cacti cannot be self-fertilized or produce few and largely inviable fruit from such pollinations), genetic work, preserving pollen, as well as many other things. Definitely worth a read!

Apparently (from the below book) at least the original "Gold Charm" yellow TGC is triploid (just like seedless watermelons and cultivated bananas). I'm willing to bet all of the yellows bred from it (probably all yellows on the market or in existence since it is clearly a rare mutation) are triploid or tetraploid as well since genetic reduction is a lot harder than genetic duplication. Cool stuff!

Here is a link that might be useful: Flower Breeding and Genetics

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 10:55PM
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Denmark is in Northern Europe...latitude/longitude for its capital Copenhagen is 55úN and 12úE. so its pretty cool in relation to even northern U.S. I like to explain that parts of Canada are more southern than some parts of California...its northern boundary is at 42úN and our most southern is 41úN...but its all because the world is round.
Christmas Cactus is the same as what has become known as Thanksgiving Cactus...its all in the time you bring it to bloom. Some say the plant smells the turkey and senses its time to flower.
Its also agreed that you should always buy a plant when its in bloom to ensure what color you are purchasing.
The stores, usually put their plants where they are left and not moved from their selling shelf and thus they will come along and bloom. Move a C.C. around, as in watering, it may throw a fuss and delay blooming.
The temperature when they are brought indoors, or if in a room they stay in, if hit by heat vent, can delay bloom.
If they don't receive adequate light to begin their bloom cycle, they will delay bloom. If they receive too much light when they begin to flower, they will flower all at once and not very long.
The trick is to give them just enough, not too much, not too little, to show their best. And keep them damp..not too much water, just what they require.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 1:41PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Goren, Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, and Easter Cactus are different plants.
It has nothing to do with when they're brought to bloom.

Here's an educational link.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Holiday Cacti

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 1:54PM
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