Colourful House Plant for Christmas
The Christmas Cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, has a great range of colours in stunning shapes from all angles. Flowering plants are sold by garden centres and other shops before Christmas as house plants. They are great for some indoor winter colour. Choose your Christmas Cactus with lots of unopened buds rather than open flowers.
A series of photographs follow. They were taken at home this Advent and at the Barbican Conservatory in January 2018. There is also a short video available of the photo collection set to music.
Christmas, Easter and Orchid Cacti are all forest cacti. They would normally be attached to trees in woods and jungles in their natural environment.
The flowers are borne on long arching, leaf-like stems.
Expert, Green-fingered Care
According to the eminent house plant expert, Dr. D. G. Hessayon, Christmas Cacti may never flower again in unskilled hands, despite a profusion of blooms in shops. The green-fingered expert knows how to judge the right balance of conditions for repeat flowering. Christmas, Easter and Orchid Cacti require different resting periods in the year. They need a spell with reduced water and warmth, along with some time outdoors to ensure next year’s bud production.
The Christmas Cactus Year
A Christmas Cactus flowers from November to January. It needs to rest at a cool temperature with infrequent watering in February and March. It should be watered normally in April and May. Place your Christmas Cactus outside in a shady spot, away from slugs between June and mid-September. The pre-flowering period lasts from mid-September to mid-November. The Christmas Cactus needs to be kept dryish and cool to enhance bud formation. As the flowering period approaches, watering and temperature are increased. Choose a well-lit spot on a windowsill, stand back and admire the great floral display.
© Karen Netto (Andrews)
These pages illustrate my love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. I love sharing. This blog is a showcase for my own photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics.
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