Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Retail stores are said to rush the season

Christmas cactus blooms
Christmas cactusThey have nothing on my Christmas Cactus.

I suppose rushing the season is just how it is these days. At least that is the message I'm getting from one of my Christmas Cacti.

I have several of them actually, but this plant has been blooming for more than a week already. Even if it is a Thanksgiving Cactus, it is still early.

No matter. I love their delicate pink flowers whenever they open.

I bought this plant after Christmas two years ago at Home Depot because it had a pretty pale pink flower. Note the buds in the photo above. Last year I was surprised to learn the pot I bought really contained two different plants, as evidenced by the flowers that have already opened. They are a much deeper color. It was such a pleasant surprise.

Christmas CactusI actually have several Christmas Cactus plants that always bloom at Christmas. The large one, shown at right, is the mother plant. The one in the pot next to it was started from a cutting. This is just one of several that I've grown from cuttings.

I obtained this plant from a garage sale in Bull Shoals many years ago. She said it had been in her family for generations. This reminds me a Christmas Cactus my Aunt Hazel had for many years that had belonged to her mother.

Perhaps these should be renamed legacy plants.

These plants are so easy to grow. They don't require anything special. Because they are succulents, they will live with sparse watering. In fact, they like to be on the dry side. They like indirect light, but are not too fussy about it. They have even withstood little cat paws that bat and flick at them as though the fronds were a toy.

Getting the plants to bloom

I've often heard that to stimulate blooming, these plants must be placed in a closet from for six to eight weeks before Christmas. I have never done that and my plants bloom like clockwork. The natural shortening of days in the winter are enough to encourage blooming. No closets are necessary in my experience.

For anyone new to indoor gardening, I think a Christmas Cactus, or even several, is a must have.

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