Posted December 26, 2019 in Plant and Tree
Have you ever seen a Christmas Cactus or been given one and don’t know what to do with it? Well for most, a Christmas cactus may seem like a highly unusual plant to have hanging around the holiday ham, but it truly is a beautiful addition to the festivities! So, move those predictable poinsettias over on the mantle and put this colorful cactus on full focal point display! Let’s take a look at its history, care tips and at what makes this particular plant so darn lovable in this month’s Landscape Spotlight!
Discovered by Charles Lemaire in the mid-1800s, this plant is named after the French cacti collector Frederic Schumberger, hence the Schlumbergera genus. This plant is almost in a category of its own, only having 6 species in the bunch. While you would most likely identify a cactus being from the southwest, this lovely is actually native to Brazil! For a majority of the year, this houseplant will sit on a shelf or in a window almost blending into the paint on the wall, but come the winter holidays it’s time to shine, well, with a little TLC.
· To ensure your cactus will bloom at the right time, you may need to force it…not like forcing your kids to eat peas…but sending it into dormancy and then coercing it out. This isn’t difficult to do, just follow these steps:
· Around mid-October, reduce its watering and only water when the soil feels dry about an inch down. There is no need to fertilize at this time.
· Keep the plant in a cool location, 50-55° if possible.
· In this cool location, also make sure that the light is limited. Indirect light during the day is just fine, but 12-14 hours of total nocturnal darkness is essential. This can be accomplished by putting the plant in a dark closet or room that doesn’t get hit by street or night lights. Continue this daytime/nighttime schedule for about 6-8 weeks.
· Once you see flower buds form, move your Christmas cactus out of hiding and into a bright window that isn’t affected by cold drafts. Cold drafts will actually make the buds that you worked so hard for, fall off!
Livening up just in time for the holidays, their “arms” are made up of hanging flat and glossy green leaf segments, which are interesting by themselves, but the flowers are the real gem. Each flower is about 3 inches long with tiers of petals in either white, yellow, or a vibrant red, pink or purple. The flowers are a real welcomed sight when everything else in the house is red, silver and gold! Each flower of the Christmas Cactus will last for several days, but only if the plant is properly taken care of. Don’t be intimidated, this isn’t a very difficult beauty to take care of…you just need to know what you’re doing.
Just like any other houseplant, there are a few simple tips to keep your plant in top-top shape:
Following these few steps to force and maintain your blooms isn’t terribly difficult, and your efforts will be rewarded with holiday cheer! However, please take note that there are several types of holiday cacti out there. If you find that your Christmas cactus isn’t blooming when it should, perhaps it isn’t a Christmas cactus at all! You may be caring for an Easter or Thanksgiving cactus. Each of these cacti will bloom around their respective holiday. Besides bloom times, here is how you can tell them apart:
Now that we are all a little wiser on the appropriate steps to take to ensure Christmas cactus magic, the only thing left to do is go out and find your perfect specimen! You can find this landscape spotlight at most year-round garden centers and places that sell holiday décor like Home Depot or Lowes.
Being that this is our final blog of 2019, we would like to take a minute to express our sincere gratitude and holiday cheer to our clients that have made the last 365 days of outdoor living design/build adventurous and fun! Experiencing this journey with you is so amazing for everyone in the MasterPLAN office and we hope that you all loved your experience and your new outdoor living spaces as much as we loved creating them for you!
For those that are exploring their own backyard transformation options, we would also like to extend our warm wishes! MasterPLAN Outdoor Living loves to partner with our clients to create custom-tailored outdoor living spaces that perfectly fit their family, home and lifestyle. If you are looking for a team of professionals to help guide you through your own process to uncover the true potential of your space, reach out! We would love to welcome you into the MasterPLAN family.
Happy holidays and best wishes in the new year!
Stay up to date with what is happening with MasterPLAN Outdoor Living.
Bromic heaters are an aesthetic and effective way to heat outdoor living spaces, gaining 2 extra months in the spring and fall for comfortable outdoor enjoyment
Dry under-deck systems provide added lounge and entertainment areas to your outdoor living plan. Read more about this Limerick, PA project!
Nature is our greatest inspiration!
This irregular flagstone patio with sunken fire pit gives this poolside patio a rustic, inviting and cozy feeling…don’t you think?
Have you ever seen fiber optics incorporated into a concrete bar top?! Check out this amazing and custom MasterPLAN feature…
Beautiful and precise - this brownstone walkway perfectly balances the mixed stone and the lush lawn that surround this amazing project in Royersford, PA!
MasterPLAN specializes in timeless and low maintenance materials.
This outdoor living project in Easton, PA had its challenges, but creative design and precision installation helped this historical home come back to life!
Materials shouldn’t compete with each other in an outdoor living space. Let’s explore the materials carefully selected for this MasterPLAN project in Allentown.