still beautiful withering flowers of Thanksgiving cactus
A Happy Thanksgiving to our American family and friends!
November 27, 2013 in Nature, Photoworks by Marja-Leena
Interesting how this cactus takes on the common name of the nearest celebration – I had heard of Christmas cactus, and Easter cactus, but not Thanksgiving! By coincidence I learned just the other day from a radio gardening programme that it is a cactus from the jungle rather than the desert, and that as such it prefers shade and moisture to sun and dryness. No wonder my mother’s ones always did poorly – especially of course when I was young. In order to please her, when she returned from hospital with my baby brother, I took off several bracts from her then plant and re-glued them in a more pleasing shape. She was very cross – and they put my naughtiness down to jealousy! Hey ho.
Olga, I’ve always wondered why it’s called a cactus and only knew it as a Christmas one.
That’s quite a story – as I was reading it I thought you were going to write that you tooks those bracts and planted them to start new ones!
I have exactly the same cacti – they bloom around Christmas and Easter. Sometimes not. This year there was a plague in Finland that they started to bloom all of the sudden in the middle of summer. Something happening in the weather?
I have altogether three of those. Of them only one has this far bloomed at all. They take their time. The oldest one of them is huge and at least 35 yrs old. Last it bloomed maybe in April.
And should the soil be changed? I don’t know, I never have. While the other plants seem to start wilting if I don’t. Of course you have much warmer weather over there, so maybe it is a Thanksgiving cactus for that reason.
Ripsa, interesting about your plants’ changed blooming time. And that you still have such an old one!
Light conditions including length of days affect blooming in many flowering plants. I had two very old ones including one of my mother’s that stopped blooming, maybe due to too much light and heat when they spent summers in the solarium. They were very sensitive to being moved once in bud and would drop them.
I replaced them a few years ago with young new plants which are doing well and have been repotted once or twice, and may be fine now for a few years. The new varieties sold now are probably much improved from those old ones. This one did not bloom in time for Canadian Thanksgiving and is now almost finished for today’s American one. The other one is in bud but also may finish before Christmas.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear Marja-Leena! What a wonderful series of posts, from a forest walk through stone-strewn landscapes, past artful mystery, and now a cactus beautifully captured. I’m getting ready for my second Thanksgiving feast (and that after a Latke extravaganza last night). I hope my buttons don’t start shooting off!
Dear R, you certainly know how to celebrate with gusto, and over several days!
Thanks for the kind words about my recent posts – much appreciated!
Hmm. Maybe I should plant a Christmas cactus. I have ideal conditions for it here in Hawaii.
Hattie, that sounds like a great idea! Let me know how it does – don’t forget it wants shade. I do give it some sun indoors, especially in the fall.
I have two sitting on the window ledge next to my drawing table with flowers that are just a little paler pink than these. The original plant was a huge old thing I found in full bloom in the library of my son’s grammar school in September of 1977 after it had gone through a summer without a drop of water. That one was salmon colored and so were the plants my mother and I grew from the bracts. When we moved to Portland I’d had to leave all my plants behind but my mother mailed me some pieces of that cactus and so began a new collection of many houseplants.
When we came here a couple of years ago the only plants I brought were eight pieces from that christmas cactus that I planted in two pots. They bloomed here for the first time late in the autumn of last year and again during the winter and early spring. Now they’ve grown quite big and are happily blooming again. What I can’t understand is why they’ve gone from salmon to pink.
Susan, you certainly have a lot of wonderful history and memories attached to your plants, and such good luck in growing them from pieces. And blooming three times a year!
This is actually a bit paler than the scan made it, maybe like yours. I’d love a salmon one, odd how that changed colour. The other one I have is a deep pink, almost red colour which I associate most with the Christmas cactus everyone had in their homes when I was growing up.
I have a big deep pink one (from cuttings off a plant belonging to my daughter’s piano teacher) that’s going like mad at the moment. Was supposed to be a Christmas cactus. I think they like a bit of darkness before they bloom, and upstate New York certainly gives them the fall glooms, so I expect that’s why they pop out early… I have some others that often bloom at Christmas and Easter. Nice to have a flower that gets dressed up for the holidays!
Loved the story about glueing the bracts on differently! Well, the poor mother had just been through a trial–not surprising she’d be a bit displeased. Hope she laughed about it later.
Marly, welcome back from your travels, then birthday and Thanksgiving celebrations once home! I think you’re right about the plant needing some darkness before blooming for there are many other plants like that – poinsettia is one. Yet it is not quite as fussy. I wish mine would bloom several times a year.