I finally figured out what the trigger is thanks to a cutting on a window
sill. It's the cold. Not light. Not fertilizer. COLD.
My little cutting bloomed on a cold window sill while my big plant (30
years old) was being carefully lighted for only 8 hours a day, plunged into
absolute darkness as well as being carefully NOT watered, all without a
single bud in sight.
I dragged the big plant to the cellar -- and, believe me, that took some
work -- and put it on a cold windowsill for three weeks and BINGO! Buds.
send it to me!!!
i suppose i shouldn't mention all my christmas cactii bloom 2
or 3 times per year? usually late October through Nov., around
late March & a light bloom in June.
mine go outside for the summer in May & come back in in late
September to late October, depending on when it threatens
There are many, many varieties of this plant, some of which can bloom
several times a year and which are triggered by one or both of cold
and/or light. The plant called Christmas cactus depends on cold night
temperatures. There is also Easter cactus, looks like the same plant,
but has a whole different flowering cycle. It's always best to buy a
plant with the full botanical name and the cultivar or variety it is
so you know what to do in order to have it bloom when you want it to
Mine bloom when not watered for a couple of months and allowed to
become really dry... I suppose cold would work too... many plants
attempt to reproduce when stressed. People tend to over water cacti
and succulents, but they can go a very long time without any water but
some don't handle cold very well so you need to define what you mean
by cold. No water is easy, no water means *none/zero*... but when you
say cold what temperature are you talking... it's real easy to
maintain no water but not so easy to maintain a constant temperature
except indoors, and I don't want to live at say 50F.
I mean cold as in "on the ledge of a basement window when it's below
freezing outside".* The basement has some heat but I shut most of it
off. It's not below freezing but it's quite a bit below 50F on that
*The cutting that bloomed on the bedroom windowsill was actually pressed
up against the glass.
I always put mine outside for the summer (semi-shade) and don't
bring them in until frost threatens. (I usually spray them with
soapy water and then rinse them before bringing them back inside.)
Buds start to set around the time they're brought in, and then they
bloom profusely between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They often have
a smaller flush of bloom in the Spring.
E. Central Illinois
I usually leave this one outside in the fall, too. If it's sheltered
(ie: under a tree) I even leave it out when there might be a light frost.
It just hasn't bloomed for the last two years, though. However, the year
before that, the year I had it in an annex in the cabin that was only
heated with a wood stove, it bloomed for four solid months in a show that
was out of this world. Maybe it tuckered itself out. :)
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