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Friday Orchid Blogging

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Not an orchid, but tis the season. This Christmas Cactus is a "real" Christmas Cactus. It's a long story, but basically, the ones they sell nowadays in the big box stores are not the original Christmas Cactuses, or so I read online (you can tell by the spikes, or lack thereof, on the side of the leaves). This one goes back to cuttings from my aunt, who got it decades ago from my grandmother. I don't know if these are "really" cactuses, but you don't water them like cactuses. I've been growing these things for going on 20 years, and they like to be watered just like any other plant. Getting them to flower, however, is a bit of a task. Basically, they need a period of drought (just a bit of water each week or so to keep the thing alive, but don't water it for real), good temperature drop at night, and/or a good 12 or 14 hours of darkness every night - all for a period of 6 weeks in the fall. Then, perhaps, you'll see buds start to form, then I start watering again as normal. I always get some flowers each year, but it really depends on the year how well it does (interestingly, I've noticed that the side away from the window flowers more). For some people, the damn things flower all year round. Anyway, they're great plants, very easy to grow, and come in tons of varieties - you can Google em. I only have this one, and an orange one that came from a cutting from my brother's godmother's plant. It's kind of fun to keep plants in the family, and just pass them down. Enjoy.

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