Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Flowers and More Drip, Drip

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The photo above is of a pair of blooms on my "Christmas Cactus."  I suppose I could rename it  "Epiphany Cactus," as it began to set its first buds only last week.  I've had this plant, a gift from a church member, for several years, but this is the first time it has had more than one or two flowers. 

I always assumed that it was the amount of light the plant receives that plays the major role in bud-setting.  If only I had taken the time to do a bit of research, I would have learned that it is also lower temperatures that encourage buds.  Optimum bud-setting temperature for this plant is between 58 and 65 degrees Farenheit.  In my efforts to conserve on energy costs, I've been keeping my thermostat set to the 65 degree mark during the daytime, and cooler at night.  It seems to have worked.

I also learned from the weekly gardening column in our state newspaper that this plant can be placed outside during the summer, kept watered and occasionally fertilized, then brought inside in the fall.  I (more or less) know what to do with daylilies, but most of my houseplants live or die on their own.

The sun was bright from sunrise to sundown and the outside temperature climbed above the 50 degree (F) mark.  There was a continual run-off from my roof, a most welcome sight and sound.  The only remaining snow appears to be in mostly sun-free spots on the north side of the house.

We're supposed to have several days of rain this coming week but, so far, there is no snow in our forecast.  However, as one of my banking friends used to say, "A thing is not a thing until it's a thing."  I don't think we can assume we will have no more snow this winter. One of the heaviest snowfalls in the Little Rock area since I've lived here occurred on February 20.

That's about it for this 15th day of the new year.  Tomorrow is also a day.


Hilary said...

How pretty it is. Interesting that you found the "secret" to its blooming. I hope the upcoming weather, whatever it may be, will be easy on you.

Marvin said...

What a beautiful Christmas Cactus bloom! For years, Jo and I mocked our chronologically challenged Christmas Cactus for blooming well before Christmas. Finally I did a bit of research and discovered our plant is actually a Thanksgiving Cactus, which are often incorrectly marketed as Christmas Cacti. This site is the best I found for comparing the two, plus care instructions for both.

Our forecast sound pretty much like yours. Unfortunately, our temperatures will probably be a few degrees colder and some of that rain may be of the freezing variety. :-(

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful cactus bloom. Mine decided not to bloom at all this year. It looks healthy --so I don't know why it didn't bloom... I've had it since 2000--and this is the first year it has not bloomed... Oh Well!!!!

We are supposed to get rain also--- and maybe some sleet and snow... Yuk!!!

George said...

We had a beautiful day today -- blue skies and fairly mild temperatures. We went to check on my parents and so spent much of the day in the car, but it was still very nice.
I don't want to think about it, but we had the heaviest snow since moving here on President's Day weekend several years ago.

Arkansas Patti said...

They really are pretty. Mine did its thing right at Christmas with about 5 blossoms and is now back to being green and spiky.
I am impressed with your daytime temp settings. Know I need to but can't seem to go below 73. I am a cold sissy.
Got my first seed catalog Saturday. It is a sign.
We are hoping for any kind of moisture up here. Bone dry.

Carolina said...

It will be Spring again. I keep telling myself ;-) The snow here has disappeared, making way for too much rain (but fortunately for us not nearly as much as they've had in other countries with devastating results). Today it is dry and the sun is shining. What more can you ask for. And, like you, I'm not at all convinced there will be no more snow. Carpe diem.

Brit Gal Sarah said...

Pat I am absolutely useless with houseplants. But my only success to date has been for the past 5 years with the same Christmas Cactus!

And let me tell you it has set on the same table just in front of an east facing window and the temp in there all year is around 72!