Friday, December 25, 2009

The Faithful Christmas Cactus

A friend gave me a small Christmas Cactus several years ago. This is the perfect plant for me, because I don't take great care of my potted plants. In fact, I keep only those I know will survive without my continuous, tender loving care. Often, we're away for days or weeks, and I don't want to bother neighbors with watering my plants. The plant at the top is not mine, but it's a very good facsimile. Mine is actually larger than this one, and it does have the beautiful pink flowers.

 If you're interested in a Christmas Cactus, you might pick one up from a nursery or Home Improvement store. All of them had these plants for sale. Or if you have a friend with one, all you need is a large pot with potting soil, making sure it drains well. You see the small divisions? Each one can be propagated. Pinch off several and simply lay them on the soil and add water.
The Christmas Cactus is not a cactus at all. It is an epiphyte, meaning it is found in the same environment as orchids. Don't let this scare you, because they're not that delicate to grow. An epiphyte lives naturally in the forks of tree limbs where decayed leaves and other natural debris collect.
While directions say to keep it in a cool room--50 degrees F--this can easily be adjusted.
I keep mine on my coverd back porch almost year 'round where it gets plenty of morning sun. By the hot afternoons--often 100 F in Texas!--it enjoys the shade. I often forget to water it, but never fear. It perks right up. Probably, the plant should not be kept wet.
On this day, I bring my plant indoors next to a window so it will get a little sun. In just a few days, the tips turn dark, and very shortly bright pink buds appear. Today, on Christmas Day, the numerous tips hang heavy with glorius pink flowers. New flowers will continue for at least a month. As soon as the weather warms in March, it returns to the back porch.
I love poinsettias, but I don't bother buying them any more because I can't keep them properly. They die. But the Christmas Cactus is an independent sort of plant, just the kind I love.

Blessings on this beautiful Christmas Day.

Celia Yeary
All My Hopes and Dreams--The Wild Rose Press-now
Showdown in Southfork--the Wild Rose Press--now
Texas Blue-The Wild Rose Press--January 29, 2010
Texas Promise--Desert Breeze Publishing--September 2010
Texas True--Desert Breeze Publishing--February 2011


  1. This is the type of plant I need, Celia. I kill everything indoors because I forget to water or over water. I'll see about getting one.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Celia,
    The Christmas Cactus looks like it's a fun plant and I never heard of it. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Oh, I wonder if I can find one here! I didn't buy a poinsettia this year because I know it'll die. I love them, though.

    I'll be on the lookout for a Christmas cactus, since I also can only manage low-care plants.

  4. thanks for sharing the news about the Christmas cactus. Mine used to die on me but now I know why..I overwatered mine. Thanks for the hint..will go and try and find one today. susan L.

  5. What a lovely plant. To know it will flower in time for Christmas too, just by bringing it indoors.

    I myself have never had any luck with indoor plants. I always forget to water them. This plant sounds perfect.

  6. Beautiful!

    Alas, my Christmas cactus died just this year. When we took off for vacation at the end of November, I forgot to bring the two cactus plants in. Unfortunately, a cold snap hit (down to the teens!) and by the time I got home, they were frozen.

    I brought them in, hoping they'd bounce back but it looks like they're toast. *sigh*

    Maybe I'll try again next year.

    Happy New Year, Celia!