Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)

Last January, my friend Nancy had a bunch of women over for dinner, wine and games, and she gifted each of us with a Christmas cactus she'd grown from a cutting.  Nancy is the gardener in our group who fields the questions about propagation.  We're lucky to have her as a resource and a friend.

The plant didn't look like much, a few short green fronds.  I don't buy houseplants any more.  They don't last long in our home.  I forget them or overwater them or the cats eat them.  When I got this one home, I put it in a sheltered kitchen window.  The cats didn't eat it.  I tried to remember to water it a couple of times a month.  Turns out that's all it wants.

The coffee cup became part of the window scenery and I didn't pay attention as the green fronds grew into a small fountain.  Then two days before Christmas a spray of lovely pink buds caught my eye.  The flowers opened on Christmas day, a glowing reminder of friendship.

Here's hoping that next year we all have more bloom in our lives.  Have a good New Year, friends.

For my gardening friends, the Christmas Cactus is a smallish (6-18 inches, depending on cultivar) tropical succulent that makes an undemanding houseplant for a filtered-sun location.  Widely available in nurseries or ask a friend to break off a couple of sections at joints, allow them to callus over and then plant in good potting soil.  

Next year, you can be Santa Nancy.


  1. I don't do houseplants either.
    But the blooms on these are seductive.

    Thanks for the wishes.
    I'm looking forward to sharing whatever happens with you!

  2. Oh. Now I wish I had a Christmas cactus.
    Thank-you for sharing that one.

  3. My Christmas cactus bloomed at Christmas this year, for the first time in all the years I've had it. Usually, it waits until January.
    Thanks for sharing yours.
    Have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year.

  4. I don't keep houseplants either, but the Xmas cactus is lovely. Happy New Year, Kathleen!

  5. A lovely sentiment made even lovelier by the plant's cooperation. I have a Christmas Cactus (also a gift) that has a very different sense of when (if?) to bloom. I like the plant's shape which saves the day a bit, but agree it would be quite charming to have Christmas blooms as part of the bargain.

    I suspect you have a latent green thumb!


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