Christmas cactus, Houseplant of the month of November

The Houseplant of the month of November is the Christmas cactus. This is a plant which needs the winter to flower. The shorter the days, the more flowers in purple, red, white, orange or pink.

Linked finger joints
The Christmas cactus is a sparkling bloomer. This succulent has flat leaves like linked finger joints, with curved spiky flowers and flowers naturally in the winter. It produces purple, red, white, orange or pink flowers and there is a big chance that you can enjoy these colours around Christmas.

In the trees
Like many houseplants, the Christmas cactus has an exotic background. In the wild you will find the plant mainly in the rainforests of Brazil, where the Christmas cactus grows on trees without them experiencing any problems with this.

Limited water, limited light
Your Christmas cactus prefers a cool position, preferably not warmer than 20 °C, but can cope with light. Give your plant water once a week during the flowering period and remove old flowers now and then. After flowering, the Christmas cactus needs a holiday. In August or September let it have a dry month, with less light. After that, the plant will want some water and plant food again and will flower again in November.

Fun fact:
• If you look after your Christmas cactus, it can live for 20 to 30 years.
• Did you know that plants can help with reducing excessive noise? They have the greatest effect in areas with many large, hard surfaces.
• We call a plant which grows on a tree, like a Christmas cactus, an epiphyte.
• The botanical name of the Christmas cactus is Schlumbergera, named after Frédéric Schlumberger (1823–1893).
• Are there flowers on your Christmas cactus? Don’t move your plant then, as the cactus doesn’t like changes and will drop its flowers.
• There are Christmas cactuses with a diameter of more than a meter and which carry more than a thousand flowers.
• Remove dead flowers regularly. This will stimulate the plant to produce new flower buds. A flower will bloom for approximately seven days.
• Did you know that you are best repotting a Christmas cactus every three years between February and April?
• After it has flowered, you can move a Christmas cactus to the patio or balcony, but make sure the plant doesn’t get any direct sunlight in the summer.
• The hanging stems of the Christmas cactus can become 60 centimeters long, so make sure you place the plant high enough.

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Published on: 30 October 2014