Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Cactus

Christmas cacti are among the easiest, showiest, holiday houseplants you can grow and rebloom easily. Keep the cactus in a cool room away from the fireplace!

Care must be taken not to underwater it, as a Christmas cactus is in origin a
tropical plant, not a true cactus. Unlike many cacti, this variety cannot tolerate completely dry soil. If the soil gets too dry, the flowers buds will drop, and the plant will wilt. Feel the soil with your fingers; if it feels dry, it's time to water.

Don’t keep the soil sopping-wet all the time, however! Too much watering will cause spots from white rot to appear on the leaves, and the leaves will likely fall off. The soil should be evenly moist for best growth. Mist leaves as well as
watering the soil, and fertilize with a low nitrogen fertilizer, like Earth Juice Bloom.

They do well in bright indirect sunlight, but they also do just as well in florescent light in a windowless office. Direct sunlight can stunt growth and burn the leaves. When you move the plant outdoors in summer place it in a shady location.

And yes, despite its succulent appearance and lack of spines, it is a cactus, and it does bear their sparkly, iridescent flowers during Christmas.

What’s more, they’ll live for years. Certain specimens are said to be 75 to 100 years old. So start a new family tradition. Instead of exchanging a much-maligned heirloom fruitcake, give a Christmas cactus that will last from one generation to the next.