Blogs for Boomers

Christmas or Thanksgiving Cactus???

Why do I love Christmas Cactus?

MY VERY OWN CACTUS

Christmas Cacti and hummingbirds were two of nature’s blessings that excited my mother. After my father died she moved to the second floor of an assisted living. It was an adjustment for her. With no trees, she missed her yard with places for hanging hummingbird feeders and their spring and summer”fly-bys”.

Her Christmas cacti did find a loving home, and she moved them around in her apartment until she found just the right amount of sun and shade. Every year, around this time, she would proudly show me their bright-colored blooms.

Albert and I are blessed to live in Colorado where the hummingbirds show up every Mother’s Day and swarm the feeders until October. I love to see the first ones because their arrival is like a message from my Mom! This year, we had one straggler that did not want to fly to warmer ground. We had to force him/her to leave by taking down the feeder. The birds fly south and many follow the Texas coast into Mexico.


BACK TO CACTI!

Reading our newspaper last week, I read an article titled, “Thanksgiving Cacti Are Wonderful Holiday Plants”, written by Linda Corwine McIntosh. It caught my eye because I had never heard of Thanksgiving cacti!

Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti are different species (Christmas cactus is Schlumbergera Buckleyi and Thanksgiving cactus is Schlumbergera Buckleyi). There is even an Easter cactus — Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri.

So, which do I have? You can tell by looking at the shape of the leaf segments. On a Thanksgiving cactus, the segments have 2-4 saw-toothed or pointy projections. The Christmas species has rounder, smoother leaves.

Notice the pointy projections on the leaves of my cactus…

Pointy Leafed Thanksgiving Cactus

Now I know why my cactus blooms earlier than Christmas! Thanksgiving cacti bloom from September to January and have yellowish, salmon, fuchsia, and white flowers (or a combination).

Besides learning how to identify the different species, I learned:

  • how to care for them
  • “trim” them
  • propagate them to give for Christmas gifts.

HOW TO CARE FOR HOLIDAY CACTI

Disclaimer: I am not a great caretaker…I barely remember to give mine water…never move them…don’t fertilize them…and they bloom anyway!

They prefer:

  • direct interior sunlight
  • temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees during the growing season (April to September)
  • water when dry to the touch in Spring and Summer, a little more during flowering
  • NO standing water
  • Fertilizer once a month in the Spring and early Summer (1/2 strength water soluble of 20-10-20 or 20-20-20)
  • No fertilizer from late summer until Spring
  • repotting every three years (do this in the Spring with a potting soil containing 20-40 percent perlite. Linda recommends using Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil)

I have never tried putting my cacti outdoors (especially with the cool nights here), but Linda says she puts her plants outdoors in a protected shady place during the summer.

HOW TO “TRIM” THEM

In May or June, you can pinch off the leaves all the way back to the place where they form a “Y” (this makes the plant bushier, more compact, and makes it easier for the plant to produce more flowers!

Turn the plant as you pinch to give it a balanced shape.

HOW TO PROPAGATE THEM

Both of my holiday cacti plants were Christmas gifts, so why not use the “trimmings” to create new plants to give as gifts?

In May or June:

  • Pinch or cut off a section of stem with 3 to 5 stem segments.
  • Dip the cut end in a rooting compound
  • Water the potting soil, poke a small hole in it, place the stem in the hole and firm up the soil around it.
  • Use 2 cutting per 6-inch container for a fuller plant
  • Place in a shady place, water well, and continue to water when the soil dries out

You can also try rooting the cuttings in water. Since I am new to both methods, I plan on attempting both!

WOW! I feel like I just gave my Mom a Christmas present by sharing this blog with you. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas, Mom!

If you enjoyed this article, please sign up for the Open Your Treasures Newsletter at the top of this page. Monthly inspiration, healthy recipes, and tips will be delivered to your inbox. After you submit the form, check your email for access to a free Grief Comforts Guide!

Designed in Canva

Please comment below if you love these plants as much as I do!

Blogs for Boomers: Living With Passion

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn

AGING WITH PASSION

How do Boomers successfully age with passion? Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn kept their passion for life and for each other!

So, for all of those rockin’ baby boomers out there, this post is for you!

Previously, in a blog post titled, “How to Enjoy a More Productive Retirement”I shared 

3 P’s to help us remember what is important: 

  • PASSION
  • PURPOSE
  • PROMISE               

 

Therefore, I dedicate this post to the first part of the formula for staying cheerful, patient, productive, and joyful, even in our “aging season”.

HOW TO KEEP OUR PASSION

Passion can come in many forms. We can be passionate about:

  • OUR PARTNERS
  • OUR FAMILIES
  • OUR JOBS
  • OUR HOBBIES
  • OUR PETS

And you can probably list more things I haven’t thought of.

My goal is to inspire you to find passion in growing older. I will be sharing articles and videos to urge you to keep enjoying life in your journey.

WATCH THIS VIDEO OF A TED TALK ON AGING WITH PASSION

Published on Sep 3, 2014

Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.

This video is about 8 minutes long. I have watched it three times! Isabel is funny, entertaining, and insightful. I would like to write some of her comments on index cards and place them on my bathroom mirror.

I hope you also laugh and absorb wisdom on how to stay passionate as we age!

Please comment on this post to let me know if this “rang true” for you!

Scroll to Top