Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Christmas Cactus Says It's Time!!!!

I guess I better pay more attention to the plants around my house.  I noticed the other day the Christmas cactus was starting to bloom. It's like nature is telling me it's time to get the decorations up and the gifts bought.  I have the two plants sitting side by side in front of a west facing window.  They seem to like it there as they have been putting on a good show of color each year.  One blooms the end of the year around Christmas.  The other waits til about March or April.......around Easter but not always.  The December plant has the pretty pinkish flowers that are pale in the middle and get very bright out to the edge.  The other plant produces a red bloom.  I did a little research when I decided to make this a blog posting on them and this is the info I found.

 Schlumbergera is a genus of cactus from the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity and can be quite different in appearance from their desert-dwelling cousins. 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. Two species have cylindrical stems more similar to other cacti. In Brazil, the genus is referred to as Flor de Maio (May flower), reflecting the period in which they flower in the Southern Hemisphere. This genus contains the popular house plants known by a variety of names including Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus, which are Schlumbergera cultivars, and flower in white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple.

 This is exactly what my plant looks like when it is in full bloom.  It does put on a good show which lasts for about a week or so.  It is just now starting to bloom as you can see from the pics of my plant and it will be a few more weeks before it has finished with the new blooms.

Here are a few other pictures I found of some of the different colors the cactus produces.

Pretty in White.

Stricking In Purple

Lovely In The Peach-Orange

The Striking Red

Christmas Cactus History
Christmas Cactus has been kept as a holiday plant since the 1800's. Early breeders crossed Schlumbergera truncata with Schlumbergera russelliana  creating the beginnings of the hybrid plants you see today. Some confusion exists, because there are several types of cactus sold during the holiday season. Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) blooms near Thanksgiving, about a month before Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii). The Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) is Spring flowering and blooms near Easter time. These cacti are differentiated by the leaflet and stem. Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti have sharp teeth along the leaf margin; where as the Easter cactus has smooth undulations.

Like this last sentence says, my Easter Cactus does have the smooth undulations and are not as flat.  You can see in this picture the difference in the plant stem with the bloom on it compared to the other stems it is laying over.  See if you can tell the difference.  

These are also very easy to take care of.  I don't water them a lot.  At least once a week and then some times I know I have gone longer than that.  It doesn't seem to matter and they seem to like the dryer side of the watering thing. 

Like I said earlier.......I need to get the Christmas decorations up!!  I hope to get that done today.  I have started buying gifts so am doing well with that part.  I do have to get these wrapped and boxed to be mailed over to Texas and Oklahoma.


I got these two plants from my husbands aunt some years ago.  I know she has had these for some years but not sure how long.  I believe these plants are a good fifteen years old or there about.  I did read in my research that one family had a plant that was given to a family member in 1914!!  It has been passed down to the current member by their 85 year old mother who received it from her mother.  So with proper care they can stay around from quite some time. They are quite easy to propagate as shown in this pic.

I think I will do the same with this plant this year after it stops blooming.  As I just found out that by pinching the ends back some it will help it to branch out.  So I learned a few new things about these neat plants myself!  I'll see which of my girls might be interested in adding these easy care plants to their homes. 

I hope you have enjoyed my sharing with you about these rather different house plants.  

Linking up With:

§§§§§§   Sue   §§§§§§


  1. beautiful Sue...I think I might have to get one of these..have a great day..

  2. I haven't seen a Christmas cactus in a long time. My mother had four of them in the house; they bloomed one after the other. So from about a week before christmas to a week or two after we had pretty flowers to look at.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. I'm happy to say mine is also blooming this week in the most wonderful pink/orange color. Don't you just love how they know it's the Holidays!
    Nice photos!

  4. Sue, I have had mine for 2 or 3 years; and it has yet to bloom! It's a strong, healthy plant...but it just hasn't bloomed. Do you keep yours in the same spot year round??? What's the secret?