Nature Friday ~ December 20, 2019

Can you believe it, Christmas is just 4 days away?! Yikes…are YOU ready? It’s been a busy time of year so naturally we’re running behind. But we’re never behind when it comes to Nature Friday where we join our hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard and take a look at nature around Blogville in beautiful ways. This time of year limits inspiring nature unless you’re into snow patterns so let’s look around the house where some beautiful plants are taking center stage this time of year.

There are a number of indoor plants associated with the holiday season. Let’s take a gander at favorite one we have-genius Schlumbergera, otherwise  known as Christmas Cactus. Right on schedule the vibrant fuschia hued Christmas cactus started blooming. But by right on schedule, I mean before Thanksgiving. It’s one of two “Christmas cactuses” (cacti?) that bloom around the Ranch. Provided I can keep Elsa from thinking she can take small nibbles off the flowers. This one and a nearby hibiscus seem to be too enticing for her to resist.

Christmas cactus

Seeing color like this brightens my mood when the supply of sunshine dwindles throughout winter days when our landscape is at its brownest. When the first hot pink buds begin to arrive, it always makes me smile as I look forward to the show about to erupt. This guy has been around for nearly two decades and never fails to dazzle though it’s beginning to wane the closer we get to Christmas day.

The other one is a shy fellow that was gifted to me by my son when he moved  to Hawaii. It makes appearances (which always chagrins my son since it never bloomed for him after he brought it home), but only on a somewhat limited basis. While returning some art supplies to the studio where it lives, I noticed this one of two, gorgeous blooms.

Christmas cactus

This year’s show isn’t going to have nearly as many flowers as in past years for heaven only knows why. But that beautiful coral color is worth even a minimal display. This guy gets coddled and yet never performs like the pink show-off above. Like I said, a very shy guy.

While its common name is ‘cactus,’ in the Northern Hemisphere, they are called Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus and holiday cactus. It is a tropical plant that hails from Brazil requiring higher water and humidity requirements than its Southwest cactus buddies. Keeping these beauties in shape for their annual bloom-fest is simple though. Water deeply whenever the top inch or so of soil is dry. Repot if the soil is hard and compact, or allow the water to slowly penetrate tight soil. They should only be fertilized when the plant is actively growing or when blooming. Soil should be a well-draining potting soil mix.

Christmas cactus likes bright, indirect light for best blooming conditions while avoiding cold, drafty locations or one close to a heat source. They’re pretty easy to maintain and pinching back stem ends following blooming makes for a bushier plant.

Do you have this seasonal beauty in your home? What Christmas plants are your favorites? Kudos to you if you’re totally ready for Santa’s visit next week.

Live love, bark! 🐾

52 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ December 20, 2019

  1. We don’t need no fake cactus-we have the real thing (20 feet about six meters) in our back yard year round and year after year (it’s still growing).

  2. I have a fuchsia colored one. It seems to have a mind of it’s own as to when it blooms. It’s more likely to be an Easter Cactus than a Christmas one. I do love the color it brings to the room when it blooms. Yours is gorgeous. I love the peach colored one! As for Christmas, I have gotten virtually nothing done and am not stressing over it. I did get all of my greeting cards out and a couple of gifts bought. We aren’t having our family get together until New Year’s day, so I’m just going to do some after Christmas shopping and hope to get some bargains.

    1. Don’t you love it when you can celebrate Christmas after the 25th? Hope it’s extra special.

  3. Our cat Sam ate any plant in the house, so I got out of the habit of having them. Now with her gone, I have to admit I’m not that great with house plants. I did purchase a poinsettia this year, but after reading all I’d have to do to keep it going, I’m not sure I will!! Maybe next year I’ll try a cactus instead.

    1. Poinsettias are pretty but once they’ve lost the colored bracts, they aren’t very interesting. Usually around the first of February when everyone is thinking about tulips and daffodils.

    1. Thank you. During a sea of blah with closed up homes, it’s a nice change of pace to see a beautiful pop of color. Happy ‘howlidays’ and thanks for swinging by the Ranch. We 💖 visitors.

  4. 🐬 Monika -Thank you for another year of Tails Around The Ranch.🐬 I truly enjoy your posts with your infectious wit, big heart, love of critters and eye for the beauty of this world …🐬 Reading about your adventures and fun with Sam and Elsa is a regularly anticipated special time.
    Your natural writing skills and prowess with a camera have combined to yield storytelling at its finest….with smiles and laughs. … and an occasional tear.
    🐬I marvel at – and value my membership in – the caring community that continues to grow and flourish around what you capture and share. Huzzah! 🐬 …p.s. Sam – way to leave it on the field buddy! Wuff

    1. {blush, blush} Thank you for such a glowing comment. You sure you’re not talking about some of the other blogs you read? ☺️

  5. The name card stuck in the pot of the cactus I bought the morning after Radar passed says “Zygo Cactus”. It’s been blooming like crazy since that morning but now has only two new buds. Hopefully we’ll get a couple more by Christmas morning, but I don’t know.

    1. If I’m not mistaken, zygo refers to zygomorphic, which means the flowers are bilaterally symmetrical. We’ll keep our fingers crossed you get some more blooms. They are so pretty at a drab period of time.

  6. Wow… I am in awe of your lovely blooms, Monika. I have two whole plants in my house, neither of which is the flowering kind and both are still alive coz I didn’t manage to kill them.

    Thank you for the beautiful blooms!

    1. Thanks, for the most part, these guys pretty much take care of themselves. With Elsa around, it’s probably a good thing. 😇

        1. A once a week watering is about it. I think I’ve fertilized maybe twice in the past 18 years. LOL

    1. I love them too but didn’t get one this year. I can keep them going for a good while though I’ve never been able to make them rebloom. When they’re just green, they aren’t nearly as pretty.

  7. You have also Christmas cactuses! We have one, that fuchsia color, and every fall I wonder how it is blooming on the darkest time of a year. It is like o’clock, never fails to bloom. It has a special story. It is about sixty years old. It was my mother in law’s and it was really big. The time we had two kittens, one jumped on it breaking it in two parts. We made everything to save it, but only one half survived. It has not grown much, sad. We keep it outside in the sun at summer, my mother in law’s order, and it likes it.

    1. It must store up sunshine from summer. I put mine outside under a covered patio in the summer. Can’t believe yours is 60 years old-that’s amazing!

Feel free to bark your thoughts...but no growling please.

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