A Thanksgiving Cactus By Any Other Name Would Bloom as Bright

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.

Pink and cream Thanksgiving cactus.

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.

Bright pink Thanksgiving cactus.

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.

Red Thanksgiving cactus bud.

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.

Furry leaf tips on my Easter cactus.

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.

Easter cactus reblooming last summer.

Anyway, it almost looks furry at the joints. And the flowers look more like daisies to me.

Orchid cactus bloom.

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.

Orchid cactus foliage (much larger than its colorful cousins).

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?

The Strangest Flower Ever!

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.

Yucca bloom after a wet spring in my yard.

Pincushion Cactus flower.

White Desert Rose bloom.

Easter Lily Cactus bloom.

Rebloom on my Easter Cactus.

Thanksgiving Cactus bloom.

Orchid Cactus bloom.

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.

Lifesaver Cactus

I’m hopeful that I’ll see more cactus and succulent flowers this winter while the daylilies reat.

My Orchid Cactus, My Night Lily

Last night was the night . . . the night of my Queen of the Night AKA orchid cactus AKA epiphyllum.  I noticed a small bud weeks ago, when she was still outside.  When I moved her inside, it was with utmost care.  I worried the lights in my kitchen would interrupt her bloom cycle.  Or, cats . . . being cats.

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But, the bud continued to swell and swell.  Last night during dinner, I noticed a slight change in shape.  I watched my favorite TV show, Call the Midwife, and sort of forgot about it.  Then, poof, there she was – a huge bloom staring me in the face.

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My orchid cactus came from Amazon two falls ago for $4.  A small cutting in a small pot through the winter.  Then, she grew into a bigger pot and moved to the porch, where she spends summer on a drip system.  She is pretty happy. I am hoping for more than one bud next summer.

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The blooms only last a few hours.  Like a daylily, but at night.  It is busy at work this week, so I didn’t stay up all night.  But, I did stay up late enough to enjoy her with my bedtime dessert.