Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
With their cheerful colors and attractive shapes, the holiday cacti love being in the limelight. Among the best known of all the cactus species, these are perfect for displaying during the holidays.
Traditionally the flowers have tended to be white, pink, or red. However, in recent years with hybridization efforts, the palette has been extended to include other shades.
Sunset Christmas cactus has gorgeous yellow blossoms with pink highlights. As the blooms age, the color deepens.
Cream Cycle Christmas cactus has orange buds that open to reveal orange blooms with white highlights.
There are several Christmas cactus varieties with purplish blooms. Among these is Dark Eva, which sports purple buds. These open to reveal purple blooms and white centers.
Nillie has dark lavender buds. The lavender blooms have white in the center. This has a semi-cascading shape.
Dark Madisto Christmas cactus has dark lavender buds and blossoms.
There are a number of Christmas cactus varieties with subdued flowers. Vida has light apricot buds that open to reveal apricot blossoms with white centers. Golden Dancer Christmas cactus produces beige buds that give way to apricot flowers. Bella has salmon buds and pale salmon blossoms. Beach Dancer Christmas cactus has salmon buds with golden flowers. Both Alex and Malibu Christmas cactus have peach buds and blooms.
Depending on the variety, the growth habit of holiday cacti can vary. Some show a slight tendency to cascade, while in others this will be more pronounced. The cascading and semi-cascading look their best if they’re displayed in hanging baskets.
In contrast to the ones with cascading stems, the other types of Christmas cacti can be upright. These are ideal for growing in pots, combination planters, and dish gardens. For the holidays, I like to display these in indoor flower boxes. Leaving them in the original pots, all this requires is setting them into the flower box and placing moss around the inside edges of the box. In such a display, other flowering holiday plants could be used. These might include kalanchoes, florist cyclamen, Christmas pepper, and Jerusalem cherry. If using kalanchoes, be sure that the flower colors are compatible with those of the holiday cacti. For the holidays, the flower box can be decorated with a festive bow.
Holiday cacti also look lovely if they are displayed in two-tier topiary plant stands. For this arrangement, I like to use a cascading holiday cactus in the top tier and an upright one in the lower one.
There are other ways we can dress up our holiday cactus pots for the holidays. This lets the plants look their best without our having to repot them. Start by using attractive cache pots or other types of pot covers. Depending on the brand, cache pots may be made of ceramic, metal, plastic, or even wood. Even concrete or stone urns could be used as cache pots. Decorative woven baskets and wooden planters also work beautifully.
If you prefer to keep costs low, try using inexpensive pot wraps. Or just use foil Christmas wrap.
Whatever pot cover you use, remove it before you water the plant. Never allow water to collect in a cache pot or in pot wrap. This is really bad for the plant’s health.
For a quick and easy holiday makeover, just add some ribbons and bows to your holiday cactus pots.