The first Christmas cactus I ever encountered was at my great-grandma’s house. Bedstemor, as we called her, was a respected African violet breeder and grower.
She even appeared in the newspaper where I grew up in a feature about her growing efforts. For a young kid, that seemed like the highest honor a gardener could achieve!
I admired her beautiful violets and respected her extensive knowledge about her chosen species, but I was always curious about the one strange plant in the corner of her manicured living room.
It wasn’t like the others, sporting unusual leaves, drooping foliage, and flowers that appeared in the humdrum of winter.
I never asked about it (bedstemor was intimidating), and she never told me about it, but I eventually figured out that it was what is commonly known as a holiday cactus. I was smitten from the moment I saw it blooming when almost everything else was dormant.
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I’m a spring lover, and winter gets me down sometimes because I can’t garden and grow as much as I want to. But here was a plant that came alive in the darkest time of year.
It gave me a boost then and now, and I have one in my home all the time for the cheerful inspiration it gives me just as I’m considering a move to the tropics.
I can totally understand how these plants are so popular in the Northern Hemisphere, far from their original home in Brazil.
So enough about me. I’m sure you have your own love story with these plants and are just wondering what makes one different from the other.
All of the plants commonly known as holiday cacti are epiphytes or in rare cases
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