Sunday, February 05, 2006
Zygocactus ~ Christmas Cactus
My father-in-law grows the most beautiful Christmas cactus plants (as shown in this photo). Each winter they bloom proficiently. Each winter my Christmas cactus remains flowerless. Sad. Seeing his cactus again this winter has inspired me to determine why my Christmas cactus does not bloom. My friend, Tari, says that it's probably because I do not leave them in a dark enough room for a long enough period of time. But other friends give varied advice. I decided to do some Internet research to see what I could find out. Here's the result of my research:
a. medium light intensity and soil high in organic matter is recommended.
b. the plant should not dry out and should be watered just as the surface is drying out.
c. in the autumn, the plant should be kept drier than during the winter, spring, and summer.
d. cool temperatures and long nights are required to induce blooming (55 degrees F. during the night and 65 degrees F. during the day).
e. if temperatures are higher than that, the plant requires 13 hours of darkness each night.
So, I've found the answer to my question. My home is too warm and the days too bright to coax buds on my plant. The website I checked suggested several solutions. If the plant is kept in a totally dark closet for a long period of time, they will develop buds even if the temperatures are too warm. And, if the plant is kept in a room that has too much light, it can be covered with a dark cloth for the proper number of hours each day. In order to have the plant blooming in time for Christmas, this means either covering the plant or placing it in a dark closet from late September until mid-October.
I'm eager to try this next year and I would love to have my Christmas plant bloom abundantly like dad's.
*Dad grows his Christmas cactus in a laundry room off the house that is not heated. His plants receive natural light and, although they probably don't have 13 hours of darkness per day, the cool temperature makes up for it.
Posted by La Tea Dah at 6:18 PM
Labels: flowers, instructions, nature, plants
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