This Christmas Cactus dates back to the Pleistocene period of mankind.Well, not quite. But, pretty damn close! Mom gave it to me when I was in college.
Even then I wanted to fill my windows with beautiful flowering plants.
So, she sent me back to the dorm with a cutting off her own cactus and a few bare bones instructions.
It thrives, she said, on a little bit of water and a consistent dose of neglect.
She wasn't kidding.
That first year all it drank was beer. (Hey, I was a dumb college kid!) Later on, it developed a habit for Diet Coke.
These days, it's all pumped up on antioxidants and green tea. Basically, I water the poor gal with whatever liquid is left in my cup. :)
She put on her prettiest show ever after surviving 6 weeks in a cold, dark storage unit when I first moved here. (I think she had a new lease on life after that episode.)
She'll bloom in a cold, north window. And, just as happily in a hot, south window.
Sometimes she blooms for Easter. Other times, she'll bloom in summer.
The one thing she has NEVER done is bloom for Christmas. And, that's okay. I figure, when you get to be this old, you should be allowed to do whatever you damn well please.
~ Control bloom times with periods of darkness.
~ Cool, night temps and a little plant food can inspire these gals to flower every few months.
~ She's very fussy about being touched or moved, while blooming.
~ Notice the sections of her leaves? Trim back using these as a guide.
~ Allow soil to thoroughly dry between waterings.
The parent of this pretty Christmas Cactus was in our home before I was born. Which makes us both at least... 29.
Update: Becky's right. These plants have a mind of their own. The one Mom gave me is a tough old bird. Some newer varieties and especially younger plants thrive with consistent water and tender loving care. This pretty peach cactus died a terrible death last spring because I was too lazy to water it. :(
I could swear that mine bloom better when I keep them moist. The one that dries out regularly doesn't bloom as much. Go figure. I believe they each have their own distinct personality with their own likes and dislikes. I have had to learn on my own, as my mother never had Christmas cactus (or Thanksgiving cactus, as mine were, this year!) Love your colors. -Becky
Happy New Year Kate. Love your Christmas cactus, sure wish mine looked so nice.
Hope you get to feeling better about the new year soon.
Yes-I was just informed that withholding water for 2 weeks and putting in a cool dark place would get it to bloom again. So trying this with a small one that I bought last year. Hmm-we'll see!
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