Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Christmas Cacti

Are quirky things, not really cacti, but more like succulents, and notoriously hard to coax into repeated bloom. When we were kids grandmas stuffed them in closets to sequester them from the light. Seemed like an awful lot of work to me and it only worked sometimes.

Supposedly the faintest bit of light outside the normal hours of cactus operations would doom them to eternal leaf-full-ness, devoid forever of bloom. 14 hours of darkness is said to be ideal, hence the season when they bloom if indeed they do.

When my mama gave me my first one when I was somewhere under18 I despaired of ever seeing a flower. Then I inherited some from my grandma, bought a few, and was given others. I discovered that if you live in a cold, dark, creepy old farm house they will bloom their little hearts out nearly every single year.

With the sunrise cacti added in there are some in bloom almost year around. Hummingbirds love the sunrise cacti btw. 

However, I did discover, somewhere in a long since lost article, that there is one trick to keep them flowering that is often overlooked. When you move them, keep them oriented the same way towards the sun. I have followed this faithfully and they sure do seem to like it. I found another article that says if you turn them once they are in bud, the buds try to turn toward the light, weaken and fall off. 

I dunno. I think maybe they just like cold, dark farmhouses, but anyhow, above is one I was given a couple of years ago that has decided to delight us again this year....ps, since they are not cacti they need regular watering too.

A bud on the one mama gave me when I was still living home
It has been with me at least 46 years.


Jan said...

I have a green thumb and the Christmas cactus is my only yearly favor. I'd love to live in a lovely old farm house like yours.

Jan said...

..but not with that 'cold' part. lol

Tina Marie the Willow Witch said...

I'm sad my Christmas cacti doesn't enjoy the new house and is devoid of blooms this year.

ellie k said...

I live in Florida and my plants stay on a covered patio year around. I have four and between them they bloom about six weeks No special car, water them when everything else on the patio looks thirsty. These plant are so pretty and worth the wait to see once a year.

ellie k said...

No special care I mean

Denny Gross said...

46+ years for any plant is pretty amazing! Good for you.

threecollie said...

Jan, yeah, the house is pretty neat, but the cold part kind of spoils about six months of the year. lol

Tina, I am sorry to read that. Do you have a nice east facing window where it can live?

Ellie, that must be wonderful. What colors do you have>

Denny, thanks, just stubbornness I guess. Can't let anything go.

Terry and Linda said...

I doubt if your house is creepy. It might be old, but it sure is full of love and laughter and warmth!


Anonymous said...

same experience here - grandma's christmas cactus thrived in her/our cold, dark farmhouse, for 40 years that i know of. most years, it was in a west-facing window, but it seemed to like east and south windows just as well. i've had some luck with store-bought ones in the not-a-farmhouse places i've lived in as an adult. --suz in ohio

threecollie said...

Linda, oh, she's creep all right. lol When I used to ride by on the school bus, before I knew Ralph and his family, we all called her "the haunted house". And when we first moved in she felt haunted. Not so much any more though. Guess she likes us now.

Suz, they sure are pretty when they do bloom!