Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Easter cactus?

I began collecting Christmas cactuses (cacti) last winter. I have a couple of big ones, some little ones, and some very little ones I propogated myself.

I've been studying up to know when to fertilize, and with what fertilizer. This month I'm supposed to start adding fertilizer for leaves, and set them outside in the shade in the summer months. Then in the fall begin applying fertilizer for blossoms at Christmas time.

So, hello! Why are my "Christmas" cacti blooming for Easter?

At first it was disconcerting. Then it began to sink in (aside from the obvious "resurrection" theme).

They are a "bloomin'" example of getting rid of boundaries! Who says Christmas cacti can't bloom any other time of year? Who says WE can't flourish when least expected? In fact, who's to say one person's "life" season isn't another person's "dormant" season? Or vice versa? Christmas is the most depressing time of year for some, made worse by "society's" expectations for joy and mirth.

So why should spring get flowers it doesn't expect? Who knows? Just more questions without answers.

Thank you, dear Cosmos, for this colorful surprise.

I wonder if they'll "rest" at Christmas?

Ok, now that I've had my philosophical rant, any horticulturalists have answers? Rachel?


Ginnie said...

I absolutely love this, Ruth. The more questions the merrier! Aren't you just something with all your horticulturist endeavors. Indeed. We'll want to know if those cacti decide they can bloom now AND at Christmastime, just for the halibut. Wouldn't that be fun.

You are definitely bloomin' out all over :)

dreamwalker said...

Loved the 'philosophical rant', and your plants!!
I have always had a 'soft spot':) for cacti.

Ruth said...

Ginnie: I will plan on reporting back come Christmas-tide on whether the cacti are in bloom.

DW: Nice to see you! So glad to hear from another cactus lover. I admit I didn't appreciate them before last year. Do you like other cactus species besides the Christmas/Thanksgiving variety?

rachel said...

I guess there are some differences between Easter and Christmas (and even Thanksgiving) Cacti. This was the info I gathered:

Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. You can place the plants in a dark closet from about 8 P.M. - 8 A.M. each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming. Christmas cacti will also bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50 to 55 degrees F, eliminating the need for the dark treatments. Plants should be blooming for the holidays if cool treatments are started by early November.

Other species of holiday cactus bloom at different times of the year and have slightly different growth habits. Christmas cacti have scalloped stem segments and bloom at the stem tips. Thanksgiving cacti have 2-4 pointy teeth along the edges of the sections and will bloom earlier than Christmas cactus if left to natural day-length. Easter cacti have rounded teeth along the segments and bloom primarily in the spring but may also periodically re-bloom at other times of year.

Ruth said...

I did not even know there WERE Easter Cacti! My post title was facetious. These cacti were blooming at Christmastime last year, so maybe they're the type that will bloom periodically through the year. Thank you for the research! I've read about them, but never that they bloom more than once a year sometimes.

rachel said...

Maybe they were getting too much warmth and light to bloom?

I learn so much through your blog- I just love it!