I can read all the gardening and plant posts about The Christmas Cactus and why they bloom in December ... but the plant still AMAZES me!
"Because this plant is thermo-photoperiodic, it will set buds when day length is about equal to night length."
How does it know that!? Nature is truly mind-boggling!
A few months ago, I actually thought I had killed this plant ... it was floppy, turning brown, and did not look healthy. I kept hope. I always hate throwing out a plant. So I watered it, gave it a little fertilizer, a little fresh soil, (I didn't want to totally repot it, because I didn't want to SHOCK it!) left it in the sunny east window, and hoped for the best. I didn't want to give up on the plant and then ...
On December 1, I was giving the Christmas Cactus some water and lo and behold ... there were BLOOMS! They were small, (see the picture above) but the plant had 5 blooms - I picked up the plant and actually took it into the other room to show Steven - he said "man ... I thought that plant was dead!"
This picture is from December 7, 2013
I was so excited! The limp, brown plant was now shiny green, sturdy and gorgeous!
I came home from school on Thursday December 12 and the first three buds
The color is so pretty! I wish these flowers would stick around for longer than a few weeks!
I read many stories about The LEGEND of THE CHRISTMAS CACTUS, but I liked this story the best, so I'll share it with you ....
This plant just makes me smile .... and it's blooming to me is
A true Christmas Miracle!
LEGEND has it the Christmas Cactus dates back many years to the land now known as Bolivia and a Jesuit missionary, Father Jose, who labored endlessly to convert the natives there. He had come across the Andes Mountains from the city of Lim nearly a year before. But he felt the people of this village on the edge of the great jungle were still suspicious. He had cared for the sick and shown the natives how to improve their simple dwellings, which leaked dismally in the rainy season. Most important, he had attempted to teach them the story of the Bible, especially the life of Jesus, though much seemed to be beyond their comprehension. He had told them about the beautifully decorated altars in cities during holidays, yet here it was Christmas Eve and he was on his knees alone in front of his rude altar. Then he heard voices singing a familiar hymn he had taught his flock. He turned to see a procession of the village children carrying armfuls of blooming green branches (which we now know as the Christmas Cactus) that they had gathered in the jungle for the Christ Child. Father Jose joyfully gave thanks for this hopeful budding of Christianity. Today the Christmas cactus still blooms each winter with its message of faith and hope.