Years ago, someone gave us a plant called a Christmas Cactus. It’s called Christmas Cactus because it’s supposed to bloom at Christmas. Our plant didn’t read the instructions. Like clockwork, it blooms at Thanksgiving and this year, the (I’m guessing) 20-year old house plant erupted in beautiful pink and white blooms at exactly the week of Thanksgiving. By December 25, it will return to be a plain old cactus.
Actually, as I discovered from Mr. Wikipedia, there is also a Thanksgiving Cactus which is supposed to bloom in November. Maybe that’s what we have.
Not that it matters, but the official name of our plant is Schlumbergera, a genus that includes several species of blooming cactus plants native to Brazil. These plants typically have leaf-like pads that join one another and the plant adds pads as it ages. The blooms come in a variety of colors including white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple.
The plants are relatively easy to care for. They require free draining, humus-rich soil, somewhat acidic. They do best when the soil is kept just moist, not overly or under watered. They like just a small amount of light. Too much or too little sun can prevent flowering.
Christmas Cactus plants, by the way, make very nice gifts for fellow plant lovers. They sell for about $20 to $30 each.
Someone told us that if you cover the plants and keep them in the dark, they will bloom later, at Christmas. But we sort of like a little color at Thanksgiving, so a Thanksgiving Cactus it will remain.