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Just In Time for the Holidays

November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving cactus 2017At this season of the year, the garden has gone into dormancy, and I am impatient for indoor blooms to replace those outdoors. Just in time, one of my holiday cactus (Schlumbergera) plants, the one that I think of as a “Thanksgiving cactus,” opened its first flower on Thanksgiving day. Other flowers have followed, and I expect the plant to be in glorious full bloom soon. I particularly enjoy the variety of its flowers, which range in color from lavender to salmon.

In my bedroom, another holiday cactus, this one with red flowers, looks as though its first flowers will open later this week, just in time for the arrival of December.

I have brought half of my amaryllis bulbs out of their period of darkness in the basement, but they always struggle to make flowers in my cool house.

Cyclamen are much better suited to the indoor temperatures of a Maine house in winter. Yesterday, I noticed that a local farm is selling these for the holiday season. I will stop there later this week and buy two or three plants in different colors to replace the ones that got infected with mites and were discarded last year.

Let the season of indoor blooms begin!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2017 11:08 pm

    It’s wonderful when a plant is that dependable. I noticed that my Schlumbergera was also blooming this weekend (in neon pink) so I conclude it’s probably also S. truncata rather than the Christmas blooming species. I look forward to seeing your new Cyclamen.

    • December 6, 2017 10:32 pm

      Kris, I’m happy to have information about the species. The tag on mine just said “Holiday Cactus” and didn’t even give a genus name, much less identify the species.

  2. November 28, 2017 5:26 pm

    My Christmas cactus looks gorgeous but isn’t budding up this year. Hmmm. I need to sit down and have a little talk with it.

    • December 6, 2017 10:35 pm

      Brenda, Mine always get more buds than flowers. At some point, unopened buds just start falling off instead of developing. But I always enjoy the flowers I do get; they are so over-the-top flamboyant!

  3. debsgarden permalink
    November 28, 2017 6:38 pm

    When my son Josh was born, I received a Thanksgiving cactus in full bloom. (His birthday is Nov. 16.) I called it my Joshua cactus. It bloomed reliably every year on his birthday until he was in his teens, when I inadvertently left it outside in horrible weather and it died. I have had several since then, but none have prospered like the original. Yours is beautiful!

    Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season! Deb

    • December 6, 2017 10:38 pm

      Deb, These plants never quite thrive for me. (This one has some sad looking foliage from getting too wet the summer it spent outdoors when my house was under construction.) But I’m happy to enjoy any flowers I can get at this time of year.

  4. November 28, 2017 7:02 pm

    Those indoor flowers are so important when everything is frozen outside. Good luck picking out some new cyclamen, I saw a few last weekend and between fancy foliage and flowers it would be torture having to settle on just one or two!

    • December 6, 2017 10:41 pm

      Bittster, I couldn’t agree more about the importance of indoor flowers in winter. (Especially in locations like mine where winter lasts for many months.) I picked out two new cyclamen and brought them home last week, and I was amazed about how much fancier both the foliage and the flowers have become since I last bought cyclamen about 20 years ago.

  5. November 30, 2017 10:11 am

    Hello Jean, your indoor winter cyclamen were always a stunning show in the window. I can remember pictures of them from a while back. We gave up on Amaryllis after our original bulb never reflowered (just divided and divided). Indoor plants and flowers are a cheery sight during these cold and dark months.

    • December 6, 2017 10:44 pm

      Sunil, I was really sorry to lose those cyclamen plants. The oldest one had been blooming happily for me for almost thirty years. It has been fun to have an excuse to pick out some new ones, though.
      I don’t have great success in getting my amaryllis bulbs to rebloom. I have about a dozen that I keep going, and in any given year, two or three will actually make flowers. I have found that if I don’t remove the offsets for a couple of years, the dividing bulbs are more likely to rebloom.

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