The Easter Cactus has a weeping form that works well in a hanging basket or in a decorative container. It has jointed flattened stems that resemble leaves called cladophylls, and flowers of white, pink or red. Although the Easter Cactus blooms in the spring, the flowers may not coincide with Easter, since the date of Easter changes each year. There are several diseases that cause rot on the plants. The Easter Cactus, Rhipdalidopsis gaertneri, was formerly named Schlumbergera gaertneri.
Drechslera Cladophyll Rot
Easter Cacti are very susceptible to Drechslera Cladophyll Rot, Circular black sunken lesions appear on the cladophylls. The lesions begin to look fuzzy as the black spores of the Drechslera fungus grow. There is no treatment for this disease.
Erwinia Soft Rot
Erwinia Soft Rot causes wet slimy black lesions on Easter Cacti. The disease begins at the soil line and advances to the top of the plants. There is no treatment for this bacterial disease and affected plants will wilt and die.
Fusarium Cladophyll Rot
The symptoms of Fusarium Cladophyll Rot on Easter Cacti are dry sunken tan lesions on the cladophylls. The spores of the Fusarium fungus are orange. There is no treatment and the cladophylls and roots of the infected plants die.
Pythium and Phytophthora Rot
The foliage of Easter Cacti affected by Pythium and Phytophthora Rot fades to grayish-green and wilts. As the stems rot at the soil line, the plant collapses. The plants have few roots, which are dark colored and mushy. There is no treatment for these fungal diseases.
There is no treatment for any of these diseases on Easter Cacti. Infected plants should be removed and destroyed. Proper of care of Easter Cacti will help prevent the development of these diseases.
Easter Cacti prefer temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees with medium humidity. Plants should be watered early in the day to allow the foliage time to dry before damp nighttime hours. The soil should dry out before the plants are watered again. The plants should not be overwatered.