Friday, April 29, 2011

Inherited Cactus

Since Easter has just passed, I thought I'd share a picture of my Easter cactus, which once belonged to my Grandma Eldred. This cactus, Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, is native to Brazil and is a forest cactus, not a desert one. More familiar to most is the Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus. The major difference is the time they bloom and the shape of the flowers. They bloom in April and May and are a little more finicky than the other holiday cacti, I've found. It has been known to drop a lot of its stem segments when watered inconsistently, which in my house, occurs quite frequently. In their native habitat, they would most likely be found growing in the forks of trees, but in homes are almost always grown in soil in a container. I've had this for about 8 years and is one of my most prized plants, just because it was Grandma's. 
P.S. I wrote this post three years ago and this was my first blog post. Two summers ago, we had an abnormally hot summer. Not only did this disintegrate, but so did most of my Thanksgiving cactus. They survived, but barely. I am really trying to coax this one back, but not sure it is working. It is very sad. I am glad I took this picture and have it to remember Grandma's cactus. (I just bought three new ones this year-pink, red, and orange. Hopefully, I'll have better luck with them.) 

Three new cactus

Most people don't see the "cactus" in this cactus. The difference between succulents and cactus are the areoles or white pads the spines or flowers come out of. Here is a close up of the areole on the end of the segment of the Rhipsalidopsis. As you can see in the picture below, these are where the flowers originate from. 

You can find these at your local independent garden centers. Try one or two or three this year, and see how they look next year. I think they are gorgeous plants.

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