October 06, 2006

Chill out, CC!

And I will make sure you do it!

Schlumbergera bridgesiiCC, in this case is Schlumbergera bridgesii, known to most mortals as a Christmas cactus. And I am indeed making sure that it "chills out" in the most literal sense of the term.

Even as I am bringing in my various houseplants - oleander, crown of thorns cactus, hibiscus, amaryllis - the poor oppressed Christmas cactus remains shivering in the cold. I do plan on bringing it in on frosty nights, but I won't leave it inside until the days are frosty too, or until I get tired of moving it back and forth. This is not gratuitous sadism on my part. I have my reasons.

Christmas cacti are called that because normal bloom time is around winter. Declining light and temperatures are its cue to flower. So by making sure that it gets a good case of the shivers, I should be getting beautiful blooms just at that time of year when I'm starved for light and colour. At least it's worked the last few years!

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9 comments:

Jenn said...

Good info! Thanks.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Yikes--I brought it in a few weeks ago, thinking that it wouldn't last otherwise. Now I'm thinking I should toss it right back out on the porch for a while yet! :)

Annie in Austin said...

Mine's been inside so it wouldn't fry. Janet, I'll follow your advice and see if a nice fall vacation will coax this non-bloomer into a winter show.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Carol said...

I leave mine inside year 'round, by an east window. It has never failed to bloom in the past 9 years.

Mrs Lifecruiser said...

I see you're interested in gardening and have beautiful plant photos and interesting posts about gardening.

I want to invite you to participate in our Green Thumb Sunday blogroll. It's for gardeners or gardener wanna be's, house plant enthusiasts, and nature lovers.

All you need to do to participate is to post a picture on Sundays (at least once a month) of a plant in your yard or that you are growing, happened to see somewhere, a landscape or nature scene.

And to put up the (blogroll) links to the other participants, not so many yet, on your blogs sidebar.

Sounds easy doesn't it?

Come on, it's a lot of fun and we're gonna LOVE your GTS posts :-)

We would be thrilled to have you with us!

You can have a look at one of my GTS posts here:
http://lifecruiser.com/swedish/2006/10/08/to-make-butterfly-love/
(no need to write that much if you dont want to ;-)

If you want to join, just follow the link "Join GTS" :-)

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Anonymous said...

In South Africa the Christmas cactus flowers outside in our mild winters, around June or July. I do find it has to be replanted every second year to bloom well

Janet said...

I had an indoor Christmas cactus I managed to persuade to bloom a time or two years ago. It was directly above a heating plinth too. Go figure. It was probably the declining light that triggered it, I suppose.

Although various people have different methods that seem to work for them - and I'm not knocking them or criticizing in any way - chilling them has been the easiest, most consistent method I've found. But I never argue with success. If it's working for you, do it! It's just that I tried several different methods and the big chill has worked better, more often.

Mrs. Lifecruiser, I'll check it out. I imagine a few others will too.

waterroots said...

There are a couple of ways to get this beauty to bloom. This wonderful plant needs cool night temperatures (between 55F / 12C and 60F / 15C degrees for 6 weeks) or extended periods of darkeness (12 – 14 hours of total darkness at night for several weeks) to set the blooms. If you don’t put your plant outside and can’t meet the temperature requirements, just meet the ‘darkness’ requirement. You can achieve this by placing your plant in a closet or by covering it with a dark cloth or bag. Make sure you do not fertilize during this period and make sure you reduce watering. When you notice the buds starting to set, place the plant back into its normal position and return to regular watering. Since we have very short days here in the winter, I’ve never needed to do anything for my CC. It flowers happily on its own with the short days. I’m so grateful for that! I love my houseplants but hate having to do more than basic care :)

Annie in Austin said...

Actually, I wouldn't mind those night temperatures of 55ºF to 60ºF for myself after this summer... the heck with the CC.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose