Here are 5 reasons why I love Christmas cactus.
1 Bold Blooms
Christmas cactus flowers are always surprising. Even when I know the flowers are about to open they still astonish me as they pop out from the tips of the flat, unassuming foliage. The brilliant, orchid-like flowers can be almost any color, including pink, red, scarlet, white, cream, orange, gold, or bi-color. Some even seem to change color as the flowers mature, gradually becoming more pastel as they age.
2 Long Lived
With proper care a Christmas cactus can live for generations. In fact, I’ve seen huge plants being handed down from one member of a family to the next. They grow slowly, but steadily and eventually can form large mounds of foliage and flowers. Mature specimens are are often grown in hanging baskets to allow their pendulous foliage to trail over the edge.
Smaller specimens of Christmas cactus make great gifts at the holidays. If you’re invited to a party or a special event, why not bring along a Christmas cactus or two as long-lasting hostess gifts? Your generosity and thoughtfulness will last well after the holidays are over.
Christmas cactus aren’t a cactus after all. In fact, they are jungle epiphytes more akin to orchids than anything you’ll find in dry, desert regions. This means they like bright, indirect light and a light watering whenever the soil surface just starts to dry out. Don’t go crazy with the watering can (they hate being continuously wet), but don’t assume they have the same moisture requirements as succulents or cactus either.
Obviously Christmas cactus get their name from the fact that they bloom during the holiday season. But, there are other closely related varieties you can get to extend the bloom season as early as Thanksgiving and as late as Easter. All types of these interesting and reliable plants have similar care requirements. So, why not collect them all?
Written by Doug Jimerson