Just Call Them Holiday Cactus

Is it a Christmas cactus or a Thanksgiving cactus… or perhaps an Easter cactus? If you’ve always wondered which is which, here’s the best explanation I’ve seen yet. It’s accurate (as I would expect), funny, and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I thought, why try to rewrite this and mess with perfection? I found this article on my favorite gardening blog, that of the Garden Professors.

A Cactus by Any Other Name: A Case of Mistaken Holiday Cactus Identity

And if you’re wondering how to get these babies to rebloom every year, see my post from 2009, “Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera sp.).”

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.