Christmas Cactus – Early Configure Applications for Increasing the Number of Phylloclades
Over 30 years ago, researchers in Japan reported that benzyladenine, the active ingredient in Configure, increased branching (number of phylloclades) and flower bud production in Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii).
Most growers are aware and use Configure to increase the number of flower buds in the fall. Configure can also improve the overall structure of the plants too by stimulating an increase in the number of phylloclades. More phylloclades means there will be more locations for the plants to produce additional flowers. To achieve this goal, advance planning is needed so there is ample time to build a better plant structure.
Apply Configure in the late spring or early summer (May to June) to stimulate an increase of phylloclades. This will improve the branching of the plants. Keep in mind, the application must be early enough to allow the phylloclades to fully mature before the start of short days.
A single foliar application of 100 to 200 ppm Configure is ideal for increasing the number of branches on most Christmas cactus cultivars. Initial trials should target the rate of 100 ppm. Conduct your own trials to customize your rates for your growing conditions and cultivars grown. Lower rates of 50 ppm may be effective on some cultivars. Some growers have also reported better results with apply 2 applications, at half rates, one week apart.
Complete spray coverage is required, especially for pots containing multiple cuttings. Configure is not readily transported around the plant, so an increase in phylloclades will only occur on shoots which have been sprayed.
Overall, Configure foliar sprays to Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii) is an excellent method of increasing both the number of phylloclades and flower buds being produced.
The efficacy of Configure on increasing the number of phylloclades and flower buds being produced was evaluated on Christmas cactus.
Brian Whipker is a Professor of Floriculture at North Carolina State University. He specializes in plant growth regulators, plant nutrition, and disorder diagnostics.