Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Cactus

This naughty little plant seduced me at the garden center yesterday and I had to bring it home with me:

It's a Christmas Cactus and they have the most beautiful blooms. These are tropical succulents and live in the same environments as the orchids. They are light sensitive, so in September and October you want to keep them in a cool place (around 50 degrees) and out of electric light at night to ensure they will begin to set blooms. Also, water less during the blooming cycle and make sure they are not exposed to a freeze. If the buds start to drop, the issue may be over-watering, lack of humidity or insufficient light.

The rest of the year during their growing season they are treated as other tropicals. Make sure they get enough water and humidity and fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer with a nitrogen ratio of no higher than 10 percent.

Oh, and you also don't want to re-pot these until they are done flowering. I want to re-pot this one, but I will have to wait until it's done blooming to do that. I guess I will just sit it inside a nicer pot for the time being.

These cactus are long-lived and if you take care of them, they grow into fabulously beautiful plants. My mother had a ginormous one for years and years. Hopefully I can get mine to do just as well.


Iris said...

These are beautiful! My parents have a big one, but I've always been a little intimidated by them for some reason. Maybe because they look so exotic? Thanks for all the care info. Maybe I'm ready for one now, too.

ConsciousGardener said...

Thanks for posting the care. I've always just done "whatever" with them and they survive...I'll pay better attention now:)

Anonymous said...

Mine has been sitting on the front porch in the shade since it quit blooming last winter, getting water when all the other plants did. I brought it in when some of the flower bud opened. No special care and it is doing quite well, thank you.

Lee17 said...

Iris and ConsciousGardener,

You are quite welcome for the info. I hope I can keep mine alive and kicking ;)