Thursday, October 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Christmas cactus

On the one hand ... Christmas cactus is said to be capable of living a very long life. It's easily propagated and good grief, what a bloomer!

Christmas cactus

On the one hand ... Christmas cactus is said to be capable of living a very long life. It's easily propagated and good grief, what a bloomer!

But oh dear. Just when I decide I must have one, I read about it ... and the bloom is off very quickly. This things sounds ridiculously fussy! Of course - it's a tropical plant trying to adapt to a cold winter up North.

It needs just the right light and a regular watering schedule, but the schedule's different in fall and winter. Good luck with that if you have anything remotely like a typical existence in 2011. And it needs just the right humidity.

Even if you do all these things, and the plant buds up, the buds can fall off.

Honestly. What were the makers of Christmas cactus thinking?

It's a shame. I love this plant. This particular one is growing at Jenkins Arboretum, where they have just the right light, humidity and watering schedule.

My plan going forward: Admire it there. No way will I attempt this at home.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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