Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Cactus

The wonderful magenta bloom
On schedule, my Christmas Cactus begins blooming just before Christmas -- every year.  The cactus is a cutting of my Grandmother's plant.  I've had the plant since 1979 in one or the other of its iterations.

You can see the buds that have formed.
This cactus had rounded leaves -- not the spiky leaves found so often on the market nowadays.  It sets buds in my 3-season room when the temperature gets cold and the number of daylight hours diminishes.  I'm not sure which triggers blooming -- maybe it's a combination of both temperature and light. Moving the plant to another location, changing the temperature too much, or overwatering will cause the buds to drop.

I used to put the plant outside for the summer until one year I forgot it and left it out until November!  Many of the leaves were frosted but the plant survived.

When the plant gets too big for its place in the sunroom, I take cuttings and start a new plant.  The existing plant is probably the 3rd or 4th cutting generation from the original plant.  I think of the Christmas Cactus as a bit of my Grandmother that lives on.

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