Photovember 17

Christmas cactus

A little over a year ago on a visit back home I took three cuttings from the Christmas cactus that was my mother’s. Actually the roots go back much further: the plant originally belonged to her grandmother, Dommy, and is probably older than I am. For a year the cuttings have flourished on sun and neglect in our kitchen nook. Last week a single flower bud appeared on each of two of them. One is visible here. Hopefully the descendants will carry on their progenitor’s habit of blooming faithfully every year for decades.

12 thoughts on “Photovember 17

  1. Interesting! I have one from my mother’s grandmother that blooms in a lovely salmon-pink with a hot-fuschia pistil and whitish stamens, and another from my other grandmother that’s lavender pink and white. I have a third that’s red and has been known to have a bloom or two in the summer. My mom could never get her cactus to bloom because she treated it like a desert cactus (too dry) and it didn’t get enough light in the summer, so she gave it to me and it’s bloomed like mad ever since. I did see a lot of bud drop until I was told to keep the plants cooler and mist them periodically. So I move them to an unheated room upstairs after the enclosed 3-season porch becomes too cold for them. It keeps people from brushing against the plants, too.

    1. As I remember, this plant was deep pink. I think I tried to grow a Christmas cactus some years ago and had trouble with bud drop, but we keep our house at about 68F/20C during the day so hopefully that will not be a problem. The Phalaenopsis orchid nearby loves it and flowers almost constantly. I’d love to see photos of your Christmas cacti when they bloom.

      1. From what I know, your household temp is a bit above the preferences of the plants (I happen to know because we keep it the same temp!). I think it’s the warm dry air that causes the bud drop, as well as drafts, but I’ve heard various theories. Anyway you’re in luck because I have some photos from some years ago. The salmon-pink blossom is here and the
        the lavender-pink one is here.

  2. Over 20 years ago I got a cutting of a geranium from Jean, the mother of a friend. She was dying, and wanted to dispose of some of her plants. It’s a soft pink colour — Apple Blossom Pink, I think– and unusual these days as the hybridizers have been working on deeply-saturated reds and retina-searing pinks. (Both of which are lovely, but…) That cutting has itself spawned many plants, all given away. In fact, there’s a cutting waiting to be potted up right now.

    1. Mom used to keep geraniums, too, but they are long gone. I wouldn’t mind having a cutting of that one sometime, Ted.

  3. I love Christmas cactuses. My mother in law, who is nearly 85 years old, has a large one that I may take a cutting of. I have a red and white one blooming now (I posted a picture of it on my blog on November 15) and I just bought one in bud with yellow blooms. I can’t wait to see that one bloom

    1. Alana, the yellow one sounds particularly exciting. I have never seen one. I like the idea of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

  4. Love this!! Have 2 stories to share. When my mom was alive she and dad planted a bleeding heart on elgin st. when they moved in and took over. That was 1981. The bleeding heart NEVER bloomed – wrong location, wrong conditions… mom was so disappointed. She died in Oct.-1986. In 1987 – June – the bleeding heart was in full bloom and bloomed thereafter until dad moved away in 1992. In 1991 – the last birthday gift my father gave me (other than money or certificates) was a bougainvillia – I kept it going through the years – it bloomed only once – in the year of his death-1994. It nearly expired many times but kept going and I finally gave it up in 2011!

    1. Cathy, once again I wish I had known your parents better. I have a happy memory of working in the garden the first spring before Ronville Lodge opened. It must have been about 1975?

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