Getting nostalgic about my Christmas cactus


I know it is getting close to the holidays when my normally unassuming Christmas cactus shows its blooms. My plant, however, does not know its name is associated with Christmas as it usually shows its first pink bloom around Thanksgiving and most years keeps blooms on until Christmas. Most years, I am lucky enough to enjoy blooms around Easter, too.

This plant is obviously very smart, as it never has to be reminded that the holidays are coming. It always seems well prepared and has a plan in place. I ask myself how can this small plant have it all together when I am so scatter brained. I guess that must partially be the reason for it being one of my favorite plants. It reminds me of the beauty and consistency in the world. And all of that worldly wisdom can be found in just one small space of my house.

I also love having a Christmas cactus around because it reminds me of my Grandma Smith. She had a huge cactus in her living room that when flowering was simply covered in pink blooms. I think about it sometimes and wish I had a picture of it in its full bloom because as I get older, it grows in width and beauty in my mind.

After looking up how to care for the Christmas cactus, I can’t believe mine is alive let alone blooming. It needs light but not too much and during the fall the website suggests moving it to a dark room during the night for optimal bloom. I didn’t know I was taking in another child to raise. I just wanted a plant that brings back happy memories and makes me smile when I see it bloom.

After some Internet research, I do have some insight on how it has survived, though, as it requires minimal watering (it is in the cacti family, after all) and I can even stop watering it around October so that optimal blooming will happen around the holidays. It also suggests lowering the temperature of the house in the fall in preparation for the blooming season. Duane and Mother Nature usually take care of this because as the temperatures start to dip at night the air conditioner gets turned off and the heat doesn’t get turned back on until late October.

One thing I do remember is that they are easy to start new growth. Simply break off the stalk and place it down into a pot with potting soil, water lightly and watch it thrive. The website suggests doing this in the spring but I remember my mom doing this during all seasons and she hardly ever lost a plant.

The plant I have I’m sure came from my mother so perhaps it is a descendent from my grandmother’s plant. Whether true or not, the thought of that huge cacti from my childhood living on today, makes me happy.


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