Christmas CactusChristmas cactus
Christmas cactus is a famous holiday plant because it unfailingly blooms during the holiday season. Depending on conditions and which type of variety you have, blooming can begin as early as November.
Chances are many that your Christmas cactus is in actuality a thanksgiving cactus. Because of number of cultivars and hybridization, there appears some confusion as to scientific names for either species and we won?t attempt to tackle that here.
You can look for commercial growers or plant outlets who specialize in holiday cacti as well as other plants online. In general it is possible to order your Christmas or thanksgiving cactus in bud just in time for the holiday season. Growers have the facilities required to time the blooming cycle by controlling temperature and light conditions.
Holiday plants are the best answer if you want to give something unique and lasting as a Christmas gift. As a matter of fact they will be happily received especially by plant lovers or your gardening friends.
Theoretically speaking the true old fashioned Christmas cactus has a pendulous habit with glossy flattened leaf segments and its pink blossoms are somewhat smaller than the thanksgiving cactus.
The thanksgiving cactus has bigger more flamboyant blossoms with a slight upward tilt from their growing point. Neither type has any noticeable scent.
Furthermore an additional point of identification is that the Christmas cactus has smoothly rounded leaf segments and the thanksgiving cactus has distinctive sharp points on the leaves. Moreover hybrid thanksgiving cactus colors range from almost pure white through yellow, rose, pink, orange, purple and dark red with white markings.
Neither plant is a true cactus as we are pretty much aware of it, but both are epiphytes from tropical jungles and as most other succulents, need more water than conventional desert cacti. Though, soil should be allowable to dry slightly between waterings and more so during the dormant period which begins after flowering.
Apart from that they enjoy bright, but filtered sunlight throughout the year.
Fertilize every two weeks especially during the growing season with half strength soluble plant food. It is of utmost importance that you stop when growth reaches maturity. In an ideal scenario the plants will set flower buds on the tips of new growth and in the axis between leaf segments in the fall when the days grow shorter and nights are cooler.
In theory propagation is by division of larger plants, but more often by stem cuttings. It is very much important that you take cuttings which consist of 3 to 5 segments during spring and early summer. It is worth pointing that the mother plant you are taking cuttings from will not suffer from this procedure. On the other side, the remaining stems will continue to produce fresh growth and very likely more than one new branch will arise from the cut end, or just below it.
What?s more cuttings will root readily in water, but have a tendency to rot, particularly if left standing in stale water. Growth will be stronger in nature when allowed to dry off slightly (1 to 2 days) and then inserted directly into a good moist seedling mix up to a depth just a little over the first segment so that the axis is below the soil level. In addition keep moist, but not wet, in bright indirect light and you should see new root growth within 2 to 3 weeks. In case if cuttings are taken early enough in the season, they will often flower the same year.
Both Christmas and thanksgiving cacti make brilliant houseplants and enjoy being somewhat rootbound, which means you do not need to repot unless the soil begins to break down. Few specimens actually do quite well being in the same container for years.
They will also take benefit from being kept outdoors all through the warm spring and summer season. And that is where give them a spot in a semi-shady area such as a screened porch or suspend from tree branches. Plants are particularly attractive in nature when planted in hanging baskets which show off their bloom to best advantage.
Above mentioned is a primer for taking care of a beautiful Christmas cactus. It is an ideal plant for year around beauty.
In case if you are looking for a natural way to decorate your home, you may want to try a Christmas cactus or other plant. Poinsettias are the most famous plant that you see at Christmas time. It makes an ideal Christmas gift for almost anyone that you purchase a gift for and it comes in a wide variety of colors, including yellow, salmon, red, pink, or even a combination of these colors. In theory the more light the cactus gets, the more flowers the cactus will have. Furthermore a sunny place inside your home is its ideal spot during the winter, but in the summertime you want to place it in a shadier location. Enhance the time that your plant spends in the sun each day so that you can adapt it to live outdoors. Between May and September it is ideal to put your Christmas cactus in the shade.
Well-drained soil is advisable for your Christmas cactus. Packaged potting soil is the excellent option to ensure that it is exactly the right composition for your cactus. In case if it is warmer outside, then your Christmas cactus will need more water. It is important that you water it when the top layer of soil is dry to the touch and keep the pot continually moist. Moreover by keeping it moist, you will help to prevent it wilting.
In case if your cactus has blooms all over it, then it does not need water. It is of utmost importance that you leave it without water for four or five weeks after it blooms and then repot it and add fresh new soil. Remember the plant will have new growths by the spring and then it will need some fertilizer. That is where give it some liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks to help it grow.