Zygocactus 'Bridgeport', Schlumbergera truncata 'Bridgeport'
Schlumbergera 'Bridgeport' is considered the best white flowering Schlumbergera. It has large rounded petals, which gives the appearance of a large flower. The petals are flat across the flower's surface and do not tend to fall backward or become reflected. The flowers have a pale pink shade if not grown at temperatures over 60° (15 °C ). This is an essential condition to obtain pure white flowers. This cactus was named after Bridgeport in California, being pure white in the winter snow.
Photo via kakteenkunde.de
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
These plants are easy to grow and are often passed down through the generations. With Holiday Cactus, the million-dollar question isn't how to grow it, but how to make it bloom. With a little extra attention during the fall months, you can have your plants blooming for the holidays. Don't expose these plants to freezing temperatures! Despite their love of cooler temperatures, they are still tropical plants that won't withstand freezing conditions. They like about 50% to 60% humidity, which can be achieved using a pebble tray. Never place your Holiday Cactus near a heat register, exterior door, or drafty window and keep it out of burning sunlight.
Don't fall into the trap of constantly repotting into a bigger pot. Holiday Cactus likes to be root-bound, and repotting every 2 to 3 years (even back into the same pot) is plenty. If you repot, use a sterile, well-draining potting soil.
Holiday Cactus can easily be propagated by cuttings. Pinch off a section of stem that has 2 to 3 jointed segments. Let the cuttings dry for a few hours, then push them in a small pot with the same potting soil as the adult plant.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Holiday Cactus.
Schlumbergera 'Bridgeport' is probably a hybrid between Schlumbergera truncata and unknown Schlumbergera.
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THE FIRST HYBRIDS, THEN THE MOST RECENT.
The hybrids creation began a few years after the discovery of S. truncata, when it started to be grown and exported to Europe. From the second half of the 19th century, many cultivars were already available, often created in England.
One of the best known is S.X "buckleyi", obtained by Buckley and described in 1852. It is an interspecific hybrid between S. truncata and S. russelliana. Its stem-segments are rounded, their shape reminds of the stem-segments of S. russelliana but those of
S.X "buckleyi" are bigger. Resemblance to S.russelliana has frequently provoked a confusion between the two plants.
S.X "buckleyi" blooms from December to January, and even February, it is one of the last blooming hybrids.
In my collection I have a plant which looks like S. X "buckleyi" and which I inherited from a relative. It was already grown in the 1950s by this relative. I think it's S. X "buckleyi", without my being absolutely sure of its identification. As it's an old plant, it has a
bulky size, and the stem bottoms became lignified. It's the Christmas cactus which was common during my childhood. I think this is the one commonly called "the genuine" Christmas cactus by some people. It's now quite impossible to find it in garden centers.
Since then, lots of cultivars have appeared, created in the United Kingdom, in Germany, in Denmark, in the Netherlands, and since the 1960s in the United States and in Australia. I particularly think of the hybrids created by Joyce Carr, among which we can find intergeneric hybrids between Schlumbergera and Disocactus. Joyce Carr's hybrids are very difficult to find.
Among my favourite hybrids, I will quote S.X "White Christmas" marketed in the United States in 1973 and S.X "Bridgeport", marketed in 1988, still in the United States this plant is also a white blooming Schlumbergera whose white rounded flower petals’ shape is absolutely unique.
S. X "White Christmas" . S. X. "Bridgeport"
The pale pink shade of these flowers, normally white in all catalogs, is due to the fact that I didn't keep the temperature constantly over 15°C to grow the plant from the flower buds formation to complete blooming. This is an essential condition to obtain pure white flowers.
BIRTH OF SCHL. X "GOLD CHARM", THE FIRST YELLOW BLOOMING SCHLUMBERGERA.
A huge step in new hybrids creation was achieved when creating S.X ‘Gold Charm’, the first pure yellow blooming Schlumbergera. (That is, when it is grown in a temperature constantly over 15°C otherwise, the pure yellow color is mixed with pinkish zones besides, as the below photograph shows it, this is a very beautiful mixture).
Between the moment when the hybridizer and producer Cobia (from the United States) had the idea to carry out this creation and the year when the plant was marketed on the US market, 15 years of patient and thorough research had gone by.
The success appeared all the more delicate since, before "Gold Charm", the yellow color didn't exist for any Schlumbergera.
The closest to this yellow shade, were Schlumbergera with orange-coloured blooms.
So, the main idea was to favour the yellow colour genetic material (contained in the orange colour) to the detriment of the red colour genetic material (also present in orange colour). In practice, pollinations were made with orange-coloured blooming Schlumbergera, and 50.000 resulting seeds were harvested, sown, and the plants were grown until they bloomed. Among all these plants, one appeared which had a pure yellow bloom. But, unfortunately, this plant was weak and the vegetative aspect was commercially unacceptable.
It was therefore decided to cross this plant with white blooming and with vigorous growth Schlumbergera. This crossing produced one fruit containing 200 seeds which were sown, and the plants were once more grown until they bloomed for assessment. Among 150 plants which had yellow flowers, only one was selected !
Schlumbergera X "Gold Charm" was born.
It was the first of many yellow blooming Schlumbergera.
HYBRIDS OF SCHLUMBERGERA ORSSICHIANA.
Schlumbergera orssichiana . Schlumbergera X "Bristol Queen"
Schlumbergera orssichiana was discovered in the Brazilian forests in 1978, i.e. more than 150 years after S. truncata and approximately 140 years after S. russelliana. Its discovery led the Christmas cacti hybridization into a new direction.
Beatrix Orssich was the first one who, in Brazil, started to cross S. orssichiana with S. truncata. Thus, she obtained new hybrids with much larger flowers than those of all known before Schlumbergera. Moreover, the bloom shape was different, with a shorter tube and petals with sometimes a dishevelled aspect. They are "Queens" she said. That’s how the word "Queen" appeared in the first hybrid published by McMillan in literature: Schlumbergera X "Bristol Queen" (photo above). This hybrid was followed by many others, often including the word ‘Queen’ in their name.
Several of these hybrids, still difficult to find in garden centers or even from cacti producers, are in my collection. They are easy to grow, they prefer a little more shaded location than other Schlumbergera. They abundantly bloom at the beginning of September. In my opinion, their name "Queen" is really well deserved.
Many thanks to Beatrix Orssich and to A.J.S. McMillan who created and developed the first ones.
THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF ALL MY SCHLUMBERGERA.
You will find the photographs of all my Schlumbergera in the September to February galleries. They do not appear under the name of Schlumbergera but under that of Zygocactus (shortened as Z.) which is sometimes used as a synonym for Schlumbergera. (See note below).
Schlumbergera ‘Bridgeport’ is an ornamental, flowering cactus. It is considered as the best white flowering Schlumbergera. It has large rounded petals which give the appearance of a large flower. The petals are flat across the surface of the flower and do not tend to fall backward or become reflected. The flowers have pale pink shade if not grown at temperatures over 15 °C. This is an essential condition to obtain pure white flowers. This cactus was named after the town of Bridgeport, California, is pure white in the winter snow.
Scientific Name: Schlumbergera ‘Bridgeport’
Synonyms: Zygocactus ‘Bridgeport’, Schlumbergera truncata ‘Bridgeport’
It thrives best in the bright, but indirect light. Direct sunlight should be avoided, as it can cause brown spots.
It prefers to grow in neutral, Well-drained soil. Use a mixture of 1 part potting soil and 1 part fine-grade fir bark.
To set flower buds, the plant needs cool 60-65°F/16-18°C days and 45°F-55°F/7-13°C nights. Once buds set, 70°F-75°F/21-24°C days and 60°F-70°F/16-21°C nights. Plant death can occur at below 50°F (10°C).
Water regularly, keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. After flowering, water sparingly until new growth begins in spring.
Fertilize every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. After blooms have dropped, stop fertilizing for a month.
It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Take stem cuttings from one to four segments. Allow the cut ends to dry for 24 hours before placing upright in moist perlite. Rooting occurs between 3-4 weeks. It is rarely propagated by seed, sow seeds in the spring.
Re-pot every year or every 2 years in the mid-summer. Never re-pot during the bloom or following resting period. Re-pot by removing only the loose soil around the roots. Transfer immediately to a wider pot.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus. Add an insecticide to the water 2 to 3 times a year to combat pests as well as a systemic fungicide to prevent the orange and brown spotting that sometimes affects them.