Slow painting

Sunday 4 January 2009

Happy New Year

Outside it's grey and wet - a change from the sparkling hoar frost we enjoyed up North over Christmas and New Year (and which I'll be showing over at Occasional Scotland in the next while) - so my New Year wishes come with the cheerfulness of one of my Christmas cacti. This plant is one of several descendants of 'Great Aunt Betty', a plant given to us on our wedding by the eponymous aunt. Twenty-four years later, cuttings from the original plant are now flowering. I love love LOVE Christmas cacti. They lift my heart in the gloomy days of January.


Corner Gardener Sue said...

Welcome back to blogdom, Linda,

I bought a nice sized pink blooming Christmas cactus after Christmas, for $2.00. I can't tell if it is almost finished or just started blooming. There are some little stubs on the ends of some of the leaves that look similar sized to some of yours. How cool!

Happy New Year,

Peggy said...

Your Christmas cactus looks great. Many years ago i gave my mother R.I.P one for a present and it bloomed for years and years.She took many cuttings from it which she gave to other members of the family. When she died 3 years ago I brought home the original one. i bloomed each year just coming up to Christmas. I put it out in the garden each summer and leave it until the budas are set and then bring it in. I was too late bringing it in this year and an early frost blackened it, killing most of the flower buds. I put it in to the shed until Spring when I intended trying to slip some of it.
I had a quick look at it after reading your post and it is blooming away down there!I will bring it back indoors now but any advice on when or how to take cuttings and to root them?

Linda said...

Hi Sue, if there are stubs on the ends of the leaves it probably means that flowers are setting, and that you'll have blooms before long.

Peggy, I read up on taking cuttings from my 'Reader's Digest' gardening book - dated in some respects, but very practical. You want to wait until May/June to take cuttings. Cut some stems straight across at the joint, taking of a piece with 2 or 3 segments. Leave for 3 days by which time a callus should have formed on the cut end. Take a 2.5 inch pot and till to within half an inch of the tip with moist sandy compost - John Innes No. 2 plus coarse grit or sand. Insert the cuttings just deep enough to keep them upright. Keep the compost just moist, but don't overwater. Don't lift the cuttings to peek and see if roots are forming. It will take between 1-3 weeks, and you should be able to tell because the cuttings will start to look perkier and 'growing'. Then repot each cutting into a bigger pot, using the same compost mix. Hope this works! I have a Christmas cactus I leave outside all year, by the front door, and it blooms profusely every summer (therefore not a Christmas cactus!). But I hope the recent frosts haven't put paid to it.

Peggy said...

Thanks For that, how did you know that I would take a peek?!I think they keep on flowering not knowing the seasons, so my Dad RIP put it out under the hedge for the whole summer and neither fed or watered it. He brought it in when the buds formed around Oct and then began feeding it and it was a sight to behold even though it was always before Christmas.
Best wishes

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Hello Linda Oh....I love your 'Great Aunt Betty' too- I have never taken any cuttings for the Christmas cacti, is it hard? Please teach us how it is done!
LOLove Tyra

Linda said...

Hi Tyra. Peggy, who commented just before you, was asking, so I described what I did just above her comment. Good luck!

Commonweeder said...

Great Aunt Betty's descendants could have filled many households if they are anything like my Christmas cactus. And they are cheerful when it is so wintery.

fer said...

Your Christmas cactus looks great!

Thank you very much for joining the carnival! it was great having people from all around the world coming.