Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas Cactus

I received a text from my sister Betty today. She lives about an hour and a half away from us nearer Los Angeles, at a lower elevation. She has an amazing garden as well and she shares with me. She, after many years, finally had her Christmas Cactus bloom.
Betty's Christmas Cactus finally bloomed!
Now I own many Christmas cactus and had no idea it was such a journey to get them to bloom. My MIL tells me to 'starve them of water' and they'd bloom right away (see below). I don't do that as I have a thing about not abusing my plants. If they don't want to bloom, that's up to them. I'm so lucky that they seem to love to bloom for me.

One of Our Christmas Cactus

Another of our cactus

Another happy cactus

Christmas Cactus or it's official name "Schlumbergera" is also known as the Thanksgiving Cactus. It's a pretty plant and does not look like your traditional cactus, but more like a succulent.

Most species of Schlumbergera have stems which resemble leaf-like pads joined one to the other and flowers which appear from areoles at the joints and tips of the stems in white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple.

According to Wikipedia:  LightThey can be damaged by exposure to more than small amounts of sunlight.and are more tolerant of high light levels. Too much light causes stems to take on a reddish coloration; however, very low light levels will prevent flowering. Day length is important in controlling flowering; continuous darkness for at least 12 hours is necessary to induce bud formation. A period of about 8 days with 16 hours of darkness at 61 °F has been shown to cause flower buds to form. Lower temperatures slow this process. The advice sometimes given to withhold water to produce flower buds has been shown to be incorrect.

It's always amazing to us that we can grow this plant here where it freezes at night in the Fall/Winter, although I have to admit they do live in the greenhouse.


1 comment:

bunny toes said...

Such a interesting lil guy isn't it? I had to ask mom where she took this photo, because it was nothing I'd seen in her garden! Hehe. Very cool information! Xo