Saturday, November 14, 2009

Merry Christmas (cactus) !

Christmas cactus greetings!

These two merry flowers may seem insignificant to the houseplant enthusiast, but they carry with them 18 years of history.

  • Purchased in a Stop and Shop in North Kingstown, Rhode Island in 1992, the Christmas cactus in full bloom enjoyed it's sunny window in a third floor apartment. Despite being the lean college years, the plant enjoyed a decadent life. The Christmas cactus was treated to a few drops of Miracle-Gro every once in a while, and was watered religiously. There is nothing that makes an 18 year old person feel more like an adult than meticulously caring for a houseplant.
  • In 1996, the Christmas cactus traveled in a Budget moving van 400 miles south to Maryland. Its next home was in front of a sunny window in another lovely third floor apartment in a horrendously horrible apartment complex. The moment the lease was up, we moved again.
  • From 1997 to 2001, the Christmas cactus enjoyed a sunny spot on the windowsill of a rented basement apartment in a charming yellow Victorian house. In the beginning, it enjoyed its new neighbors - many African violets and my sister's houseplants we inherited when she left for graduate school. When the baby came along, the houseplants that couldn't take care of themselves were tossed and the Christmas cactus remained.
  • In 2001, the charming yellow Victorian house was sold by the owners, leaving us without a home. Off with hubby, baby, 2 cats, dog, 1 houseplant to my parents' basement for the next 8 months. The Christmas cactus is now suffering not only neglect, but lack of any sunlight at all.
  • Spring 2002 to present - the people, animals, and 1 houseplant all move into the house we bought under the tall maple trees. The Christmas cactus is joined by a couple other houseplants, but goes through cycles of being the sole survivor of severe neglect as the number of people increase and the number of chores increase, preventing the Christmas cactus from receiving any care at all save for a watering every now and then.
  • From it's humble first home in Rhode Island 18 years ago, to it's only slightly-better situation today, this merry little Christmas cactus bids you a good day!


  1. Man, if only this Christmas Cactus could speak! Actually, she would say "Look how much greenish thumb loves me...even through all those hard and difficult years...I will reward her with these beautiful blooms!"
    Be proud, wendy, be very proud!

    Lynn ;)

  2. I can't believe you have kept it alive for all these years! Amazing!!!!

  3. What a loyal plant! Hmm... if all else fail, now I know that a cactus plant like this Christmas cactus would be the best company and can live with you for so long he he... It is like a friend now right? Send my regards to this buddy of yours ok :-D

  4. That is a plant with a lot history. Mine has the same coloring and is about 5 years old. I hope mine looks as good as your does when it gets into it's old age. Have you ever taken a cutting off of it? I haven't attempted it yet.

  5. It's done well after nearly 2 decades of neglect. Now that I've actually mentioned how special it is...with my luck...

    Rosey, I've taken cuttings off of it. Somewhere along the way I remember trying to multiply this plant. The cuttings would root in a just a glass of water, but then I would neglect to plant them. I'm horrible.

  6. Kudos to you for making her survive for so long. That is very impressive. Oh the stories she could tell... Very fun post, as always I enjoy visiting your blog!

  7. Your Cristmas Cactus greeting looks awesome. Thanks for sharing the idea. It was nice going through your blog. Keep up the good work. Cheers :)

  8. I have never planted a cactus before. Look like your Christmas cactus has achieved the status of your dear dear life long companion now. I believe that when the cactus blooms, good luck will come. Now, I want to grow a cactus too because it can live very long. How touching.

  9. What a lovely history your Christmas cactus has. I have one that is at least that old: it's planted in a pot I threw while in college...(gulp) over thirthy years ago! I think the plant is only a few years younger that the pot. It faithfully reblooms this time of year, too.

  10. What a great story behind this plant. I remember the "college" plants. I also remember all my indoor plants disappearing after the birth of my first child. Couldn't manage to take care of more than one living thing at a time.

    How lucky you are to have this plant survive and still be able to tell the story.

  11. Great photos! What are you shooting with?

  12. What a heart warming story! It’s definitely in the spirit of the season! I see a TV Christmas Special in this some where. How about ‘The Christmas Cactus’ where the curmudgeonly old next door neighbor learns to love again after he finds a Christmas Cactus on the side of road and the plant offers him the gift of its flower because he nourishes it back to health? Boy, I’ve seen one too many Christmas specials in my life, lol!

  13. Thanks ladies - it's nice to hear your stories too. I'm really bad with houseplants and it amazed me to read about this little c-mas cactus in print after writing it.

    Jane, how cool that you've had your plant for so long!

    anonymous - you must work a boring computer job and you must be a counting down the days till the x-mas specials come on. I bet you have a special connection with the little drummer boy.

    Green City Gardeners - Nikon D60. I REALLY don't use it like I should - still haven't taken the time to play around or read the manual.

  14. I, too am the proud owner of a Rhode Island Christmas cactus. Mine was a favor at a holiday party, and could very well have come from the North Kingstown Stop and Shop. It did absolutely nothing all summer, but it is now starting to flower - flamboyant red blooms. Maybe it's a Thanksgiving Cactus....

  15. it's great how plants and gardens become part of our own history.

  16. Cynthia - I've always known there's magic in RI!

    Catmint - too true! There's a story for every plant, right?

  17. Hi, Wendy;
    Thanks for note over on my blog.. I searched around yours until I found this great post. So fun to find another person who has a long history with a Christmas Cactus. My Mother gave me a cutting from hers when I was in college -- oh this is kind of embarrassing -- I guess that was 30 years ago! Anyhoo she's been quite the traveling companion for me, too. You've inspired me to write a bio post about dear Edna (the cactus!)


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