Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera sp.)

christmas-cactus_home_20091103_lah_5353x-1Small succulent-looking plants covered with huge, florescent  red, pink or white flowers are featured prominently in many stores right now. Go ahead get one. You won’t regret it.

Christmas (or Thanksgiving) cactus are both beautiful and easy to grow.

Yes, they’re cactus, but these plants are native to tropical rain forests in the mountains of Brazil, where they grow on tree branches as epiphytes. That should tell you that they like to be kept somewhat moist, but never soggy. This is particularly important while the plants are in bloom. In fact, uneven watering is a main cause of blossom drop. (Another is an abrupt decrease in humidity, such as comes when you move a plant from the greenhouse to your home.) The rest of the year, they are a bit more forgiving, and will tolerate a bit of drying out. It’s always best to let the top inch of soil dry out between waterings.