Last Christmas my middle son was fundraising for a trip to Honduras as part of the Friends of Honduran Children organization. The trip was organized through his high school and he flew out in April of 2014 on an amazing journey of self-discovery and community aid to an amazing group of children at an orphanage in Honduras who benefitted from the hard work of some amazing teenagers. Part of the fundraising efforts involved the selling of Christmas flowers – Poinsettia and Christmas Cactus in particular. We purchased poinsettia arrangements for ourselves and for family and friends but also picked up the Christmas cactus pictured in this gallery. I had never cared for such a cactus before and was pleasantly surprised to see it rebloom in December producing beautiful pink blooms in full display this past Christmas Day
How did I get this beauty to rebloom at just the right time. I have to admit it was not by anything I intentionally did. The following suggestions are from a horticulture site I searched out here. The rooms in which I kept the cactus just happened to match the conditions required for reblooming. Lucky me! Here in a nutshell are steps to follow to get your Christmas cactus to rebloom for the holidays!
- Place the Christmas Cactus in a room with medium light intensity and make sure it is potted in soil of high organic content.
- Do not water often but only when the top layer of soil feels dry.
- The plants require an evening temperature of 55ºF and day-time temperature of 65ºF. The rooms I kept this cactus are cooler than the rest of the house because of the way our home is heated and were ideal to stimulate the blooming cycle during the holidays.
- If your rooms are much warmer than suggested above blooming can be stimulated by giving the plant 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night by covering the plant if necessary.
- If you want Christmas blooms the time to start this process is late September to mid-October.
- Once the buds form, regular light conditions and temperatures can be resumed and water the plant only enough to keep the leaves from shrivelling.
I highly recommend this Christmas Cactus or Schlumbergera bridesii as a beautiful addition to traditional holiday flowers. The blooms are gorgeous and as the plant grows, it is so easy to propagate and share as a gift with friends and family.