I made my annual Gratitude Day video late last night. It features several of my Ned Roberts spider daylilies. And, a quote about gratitude from a book called “Thanks” by Robert Emmons, Ph.D. Please take a moment to think spring thoughts. https://youtu.be/4A4KsO5XeAw
Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a day full of cooking and Thanksgiving cactus. I think I’ve seen a few dozen photos of humungous once on my succulent feeds lately.
I have 4 of them myself. They are different from Christmas cactus because the leaves have several points on the end. Christmas cactus are smoother- and harder to find in my experience.
I don’t have to do much special to get them to bloom, although they bloom more prolifically if they spend a few weeks in the poinsettia bloom-forcing closet. They sometimes rebloom in spring under those lights. They like equinox length days.
Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus are clearly close kin. Siblings. Cousins to these two holiday bloomers are Easter and Orchid cactus. They are similar in that they grow in trees (epiphytes) and are fed by rain and the debris it provides.
I have had my Easter cactus a few years and it didn’t rebloom until I hung it in a planter from my outside plant hanger. It bloomed in June in the high desert without much water.
Anyway, it almost looks furry at the joints. And the flowers look more like daisies to me.
My orchid cactus bloomed for the first time this year. (I started it as a cutting 2 years ago.) It tried to bud in August, but it shriveled. It budded again in September and bloomed after freeze in my kitchen.
My only recipe for success is summer outside in the brilliant Colorado high desert. And, the bloom closet for the holiday cactus. Honestly, they are kind of plain most of the year, but the bright blooms seem to make them worth the wait.
Do you have a Thanksgiving cactus? What is your favorite color?
Yesterday, I talked about Crassula. They remind me of braids. Echeveria are rosettes – and WorldofSucculents.com has 19 pages of different varieties. There is no way I want to take a stab at the ID, unless they came labeled. It’s like daylilies, there are so many similar hybrids that it’s impossible.
These kids love summer in my desert yard. Summer growers. I’m honestly surprised that I don’t have more because they are so readily available. But, maybe that’s exactly why I don’t have more.
Maybe I’ll start with what I think I know.
This one is one of my oldest, having joined us on a road trip through Tucson a few years ago. I’m pretty sure she is a Blue Rose. She was 3 rosettes when I got her. She lost a bunch of leaves in a downpour late last summer and by the time I went to clean them up, they had sprouted new plants. Her babies are now in at least 3 additional pots.
This one was labeled Licorice Echeveria and is a new addition.
As is Pearl Von Nurnberg. She is in mom’s old button box.
These two I believe are both Topsy Turvies.
Oh, and my Painted Echeveria.
This one is called Silver Star, I believe.
This is my largest one bought on discount a couple days ago due to dog-eared leaves. It’s going to quickly outgrow this pot!
Below are several other varieties. The first one grows under hydroponic lights on the ceiling of my basement closet. it looks like a catepillar inching along.
Echeveria are fun to find and collect. the cool part is that i can put them outside to grow next summer while i focus on my daylilies. These guys are nearly as colorful, too. And, they even come in blue!
The trouble with succulents is that you can buy them anywhere and they are usually very affordable. So, I’m always dragging new ones home. I need to give some orchids away if I bring many more home.
So, yesterday I got a Crassula Campfire while shopping for T-Day. The most common Crassula is the common jade plant. I love them because their active growth season is winter! But, that only makes them more addictive.
I got looking around at all my Crassula and I have a lot of them!
It took some time to try to classify some of them today. But, that’s what breaks are for, right? Good thing for a snowy, cold Colorado day in my PJs. https://worldofsucculents.com is my favorite site to ID these guys. Disclaimer – I am not a plant scientist so many of these are guesses!
I’ve had some of these guys a long time – like Hobbit.
I’ve had this one on the kitchen windowsill for years.
I also have several living in kokodemas since last year – hung on my pencil cactus.
(Some of them have weird names.)
My year-round ornaments.
I got one labeled “Pagoda” last year, but I think it’s a different Crassula. I couldn’t find it in the listings.
I got little planters that resemble my dogs last year in Moab . . . Two of them have Crassula.
I have some of the cute small stacked ones that I added this Fall.
They are a great addition to container plant groups. the trailing ones are cool.
Some other newer additions are my Propeller or Airplane Crassula.
The Silver Dollar Crassula lives up to it’s name.
And, the curly leafed jade lives up to it’s name, as well.
Honestly, I think I have a couple other Crassulas tucked away on a shelf somewhere.
I will say that I’m glad daylilies are generally name labeled pretty well. My daylilies are all tucked up for the single digit temps this week – under mulch or in the back porch. The trouble with both succulents and daylilies is that they are like Lay’s Potatoe Chips.
Air plants are strange little things. I’ve had a few, but never really got into them until this year. Maybe putting them out for the summer and seeing a lot of growth helped.
I read a book on them called Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandias. The book showed them in arrangements with succulent, and that fascinated me.
I also like the airy appearance that they give to my winter plant menagerie.
They come in large sizes, which makes them look more like a real plant.
Or small sizes, where they look like mineature desert plants.
They come in lots of colors and add to the variety of the succulents, while mimicking the shape of agave and yucca. And, the blooms are cool!
I’m about at my limit, though, because it isn’t humid here so they need a spritz a couple times a week. I have enough on my plate with work, yard, house, and pet menagerie.
I have killed a few, but have lots more pups. Cautiously optimistic that I won’t burn out caring for these beauties. I even have one serving as the star on mt pencil cactus with kokomo succulent ornaments.
They do create a curious world and I’m a curious girl.
This week, I move my evergreen daylilies into the porch for 3 months. And, then, it begins to turn into spring!
Lifesavers. You know the little addictive, brightly colored circle candy? Well, when I saw this odd flower with the name Lifesaver cactus, I just had to get one. I ordered online in August and put it in a south window. It’s near my purple LED boost light, too.
I can’t decide if it’s pretty or weird. It reminds me of Saguaro cactus blooms- the weird wax look.
Then, I got to thinking about some of my other cactus blooms this summer. I was so busy chasing daylilies that I likely didn’t post many of these.
Cactus flowers are stunning things. There reproductive parts look like a universe in and of themselves. Or, a chorus of ballet dancers. They don’t ever last long. Maybe longer than a daylily. Or, not. But, I have to admit, I’ve never seen anything quite like this Lifesaver bloom.
I’m hopeful that I’ll see more cactus and succulent flowers this winter while the daylilies reat.
Poinsettias are a sign that the holidays are just around the corner. I started collecting them a few years ago when I was a starving sixty-something doctoral student. I bought a pretty orange one and babied it because it was a luxury to buy a plant back then.
That plant bloomed all winter and flourished all summer. However, my first experiment in making a bloom closet that fall didn’t work out so well. The poinsettia bloomed, sort of, but was horribly leggy and didn’t survive winter #2.
I’ve gotten better with them. Trial and error. I have two that I’ve had going on four winters. I got a couple more the next year and, again, last year. Well, actually I got more than that, but lost a few along the way. I lost both of my orange ones from last winter to the cold spring.
I have 4 in bloom and one that’s still in the bloom closet. I have two still recovering from the cold spring that I’ll bloom in a couple of months.
How do I rebloom mine? Well, forget all the advice about putting it in a closet by night and a sunny window by day. I’m way too forgetful. But, I have a plant closet in my basement family room that has plant LED lights on a timer and a blackout curtain closed all the time, except when I water.
It’s year #3 for the closet and my poinsettias thrive down there. Once they bloom, they come upstairs for several weeks u til they start dropping leaves. Generally, they go back into the closet until May, when they sit in my front yard and get sprinkler system rain every day.
It’s hot and dry, but the poinsettias do fine. This is the first year that they have struggled a little. They are euphorbia, after all- just like my 6 ft pencil cactus.
I bring them in and put them in the bloom closet just before freeze. I have blooms by late October or early November. Have you ever rebloomed a poinsettia? Meanwhile the drought has returned and I need to winter water the daylilies during Thanksgiving break.