Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's a Christmas (Cactus) Miracle!

I was all excited to write about the snow today and show pretty snow pictures, but then something amazing happened!

So I finally remembered that I have houseplants, and that those plants haven't been watered in about two weeks. That's fine—in fact at this time of year it's better to let houseplants dry out than it is to water too much; under-watering jives with the natural dormancy Mother Nature is imposing with the shortest daylight hours of the year. However, I noticed some were on the verge of death, and with the Christmas decorations and tree gone, it was time for some attention.

And upon watering I found this!

My Christmas cactus, at least I think it's a Christmas cactus and not a Thanksgiving cactus, is blooming for the first time ever!

This was one of my first post-college houseplants...I've had it for at least 10 years (in fact I can't remember exactly when I got it from my mom, it's been that long). Every year I've thought about covering it to provide it with just the right balance of light and dark, every year I see other people's Christmas cacti blooming and I'm envious, every year I think "well, this guy just isn't getting the right conditions, oh well." Not this year!

The best part is the copious pink buds adorning the pendulous stems; if all goes well this should be blooming for a week or two!

This gorgeous tropical flower is enough to brighten up what's turning into a very snowy and soon-to-be bitterly cold week. A plant full of flowers at this time of year is a dream come true!

I suppose that my benign neglect may have helped, since this plant was subject to natural changes in sunlight and temperatures. Being smashed up against our front window left it exposed to cooler night temps, while the mess of spider plants around it obscured it from view and protected it earlier in the fall from my overwatering tendencies. So 2015 is already proving one of the great truths of gardening: unexpected successes happen every year!

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