FafardChristmas (or should that be Thanksgiving) Cactus

September 7, 2013 – 08:13 am

800px-Cactus_de_noël_revAlthough bought and sold by the millions during the Thanksgiving season, “Christmas cactus” remain something of an enigma. For example, why do plants that bloom at Thanksgiving bear the name “Christmas”? why do they reputedly mope as houseplants, when they bloom so lavishly in your local supermarket?

Their form itself is puzzling. The showy blooms arise directly from what appear to be arching chains of fleshy leaves, which in fact are flattened, narrow-jointed stems. The shape and spininess of these leaf-like stem segments are key to identifying Christmas cactus and its relatives, which all belong to the genus Schlumbergera.

Examine the stem segments of the Schlumbergera that throng the stores as Thanksgiving approaches, and you’ll discover the answer to the riddle of their name: they aren’t Christmas cacti at all. Almost all plants sold under the Christmas moniker exhibit the jagged-toothed stem segments characteristic of crab (aka Thanksgiving) cactus, Schlumbergera truncata. rue Christmas cacti possess bluntly toothed segments that bear pendent (rather than horizontal) blooms in early winter. If you want a yuletide Schlumbergera, look for varieties of the real McCoy, Schlumbergera x buckleyi (the hybrid between Schlumbergera truncata and Schlumbergera russelliana). If you want a Thanksgiving cactus – go to your local garden center or upscale grocer right about now.

Whichever Schlumbergera you bring home from the store, one thing’s for certain: it ultimately comes from moist, humid, relatively cool upland forests of Southeast Brazil, home to all six species in the genus. In their native haunts, these succulent evergreens grow as epiphytes and lithophytes, taking root in decayed leaves and other detritus that accumulate on moss-covered tree limbs and rock ledges. They are easily cultivated (and flowered) in conditions that mimic their natural circumstances: bright full shade; well-drained, humus-rich, evenly moist growing medium; moderate to high humidity; and moderate temperatures. A hanging basket filled with Fafard Cactus and Succulent Potting Mix will suit them nicely, as will a northeast- or northwest-facing windowsill, or a lightly shaded southern exposure. Water them thoroughly when the top inch or so of the growing medium is dry, applying a complete liquid fertilizer every few waterings. Many Schlumbergera aficionados keep their plants outdoors (either suspended on hooks or elevated on stands) during the frost-free season. A spot under a shade tree will provide ideal spring to fall growing conditions in most parts of the United States.

Source: fafard.com


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Sounds like you will be traveling...

I suggest you have a live flower sent to their home to arrive just before you get there... something like an azalea or a Thanksgiving cactus plant, or a Christmas Cactus plant.
While there, I recommend you be very active in helping prepare meals, serve and clean up after the meals.
Offer to do things like peeling the potatoes, set the table, etc.
Since you are going to be there for 4 days, offer to run the vacuum before guests arrive, etc.
Offer to make quick trips to the grocery store as you see the need.
If there are children in the family, help entertain the children to give their parents a break


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  3. Thanksgiving cactus plants care