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Christmas Cactus Blooming

Stephen J. Danko manx at hooked.net
Thu Dec 7 01:49:46 EST 1995

ericn at primenet.com (Eric Nitardy) wrote:

>lee.hunt at bbsrc.ac.uk (lee hunt) wrote:

>>In article <49b5fh$53h at cdc2.cdc.net>, Barry Mercer <bmercer at ViaNet.on.ca> says:
>>>I enjoy Cacti... don't know much about them, but I enjoy them. (my 
>>>spouce doesn't)  How do I encourage these things to bloom and just how 
>>>dry should I let them be before I water.  The Christmas cactus I water 
>>>once a week the "real" cacti far less frequesntly.
>>>I recently read that keeping them very dark and very cool at night will 
>>It is probably too late for flowers for this CHristmas if your palnts do
>>not already have buds. Here in the Uk I keep the plants in a shady spot
>>outdoors in the summer and bring them inside in the autumn. The plants will
>>only produce buds if they have an uninterrupted dark period overnight ie about 
>>12hrs. This should occur naturally as long as their is no artificial light
>>Many Christmas cacti seem to have their main flowering period in November
>>here. They should be kept dry whilst buds are forming, then kept moist after
>>they appear
>>Lee Hunt
>Lee Hunt's comments on what sets flower buds on Christmas Cactus is
>accurate but does not tell the whole story.  As noted,  one way to set
>bud is to expose the plant to a series of uninterupted 12 hour +
>nights, that is, leave them outside or in a room that is not
>artifically lit during the month of October.  

>Alternatively, exposing the plant to near freezing ( 0-5 degrees
>Celsius) for 1-2 weeks will set flower buds.  Where I live, in
>Minnesota, this method quite well--I let the plant go through one or
>two frosts and then bring it indoors, usually Early October plus or
>minus a week.  It has not failed in ten years.  Incidently, these
>plants are surprisingly tough; They usually endure -3 degree Celsius
>tempuratures before I bring them in with no damage to the plant or the

>Eric Nitardy
>ericn at primenet.com  

I've found that the climate where you live seems to be  important.  In
Nebraska, I put a box over my Christmas Cactus for 12 hours a day for
a week and kept the plant in a very cool part of the house.  I had
moderate success getting flowers. 
Now I've moved to San Francisco and my Christmas Cactus (kept in a
north window and largely ignored) blooms constantly from October
through April.
Interestingly, my luck with African Violets is just the opposite.  In
Nebraska the violets bloomed most of the year with little attention.
In San Francisco, my violets quickly rotted and died.

Steve Danko
manx at hooked.net

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