Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Cactus Tradition

Yay, Edna! She's at it again!

Every year I think I'll muster up the discipline to 'manage' Edna's glorious holiday blooms. You know the drill... make her suffer a bit by strictly managing hours of sunlight and total darkness so she'll look like the Christmas Cactus perennials you see in the stores.

But, I just can't bring myself to pick on the old gal like that. She should not have to compete with those young whipper snappers.

Edna was a cutting off of my Mother's Christmas Cactus ~ she gave that cutting to me back when I was in college. Mom started her cactus from a cutting off my Grandma's cactus. Suffice to say Edna is pretty damn old.

Throughout my life, E has been a constant companion. When I was 19, I tossed her into the back of my VW bug and took her to Memphis, where I was doing my student teaching. When we drove home for Christmas, she rode shotgun* all the way, in full bloom.

Edna is particularly happy in Utah where she gifts me, every Christmas, with hundreds of bright, fuchsia flowers. Timing-wise, some years she's spot on. Other years, she jumps the gun. When you get to be this old, you should be allowed to call the shots.

Once I see her laden with buds, I give her a weekly dose of fertilizer. It's hard work producing this many blooms.

  1. Weekly watering is best. She's called a cactus but she doesn't love dry soil.
  2. Indirect light and cool temperatures generally encourages her to bloom.
  3. Be nice to your cactus and she could very well accompany you to the old folks home. They live for hundreds of years.
* Riding shotgun means riding in the front passenger's seat of a car.


Iron Needles said... babies so need some fertilizer. They did bloom for me, though, around Thanksgiving, but I fear they are starved. I am a bad momma....

thismngardener said...

oh-i just can't seem to get my cactus to re-bloom. I'll keep trying!!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Do you put her outdoors? I firmly believe a summer in the garden does the trick. Place her beneath the lilacs, or under a tree. Make sure she gets weekly water. And, leave her out there until the nights get chilly, 50 degrees or so. When you bring them inside, after a summer in the garden, they are very prolific bloomers. :D