Holiday Cactus/ Thanksgiving? Gift from BIL ..

jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)December 30, 2012

What was he thinking?!? DH went to celebrate the last of Christmas with his family yesterday, I was sick and stayed home. He walked in with this little plant, from his brother. I asked if it was his, mine or the family's gift, he said family from his Brother. I laughed and told him good luck with it!

This is one I dearly love but have never bought because all I read makes it seem to be a pain and fickle plant! So.. any pointers for a newbie who now has one that she never planed on having? lol.

from all I've read it needs moved out of the peat garbage it came in that is soggy!!! I saw somewhere that Josh suggested straight bark, and a web site suggested bark a tiny bit of organic and grit. I'm concerned straight bark would be too much to keep up with here in summer.



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Well, CONGRATS you Thanksgiving Cactus NWEBIE!

I think you just night get addicted to them if you can get it to flower. Ever since I all the enablers here, especially Linda, I have been on the prowl for unusual ones now that I can get them to bloom!
Yes, I now have about 7 and 2 real Christmas Cactus Jojo and I just love them. While all my other plants are out of bloom, the only thing I have to look forward to is seeing these things open at the darkest time of the year.

Lol, I can imagine Mike growing

Ok, what I do is put mine into a straight bark mix, which will stop drying out so quickly as it decays and yet you can water as often as you want. It's the un-composted one.
Or, I will make about 5 parts parts of un-composted bark, one part perlite and or one part turface or pumice which I think you might have lots of access too. More bark than any other product as you can see.
Use more pumice if you are looking to retain moisture longer while still having a great aerated mix.
Actually, it was Josh who recommended the mix to me which all my T.C and C.C love!

I can't wait to see what you do with it dear friend or the color of the flowers:-)


This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Sun, Dec 30, 12 at 14:52

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:55AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Fiddlesticks.....wherever did you get the idea that these are difficult plants? Give them good light, a porous, fast draining mix, a dose of fertilizer now and then and before you know it you'll be leaving it to a great grandchild in your will.

Honestly, these are "pass down" plants. I absolutely KNOW that you'll do just fine with your new plant. I think that you're a natural green thumb and just don't know it yet.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Congrats! The big leaf, upper right, looks like there may be a new leaf forming at the tip, toward the tip spike on the right.

All I know to tell you, being very new to these kinds of plants also, is to not make the same mistake in thinking that I did, these holiday cacti are jungle cacti, not desert, no dry sand. I decided to leave the ones I got just after Thanksgiving in their original pots until regularly scheduled spring repotting since they don't seem potbound and don't look like they're any older than cuttings taking sometime earlier this year. Is yours in a crumbly peat-like stuff? I'm not crazy about it either but I was hoping for more blooms (the buds all fell off when I brought them home, except one already open flower - and don't tell me it's a silly dream now, I know, let me have it...) before I give it a real reason to freak out besides riding in the trunk for an hour...

This discussion may help you formulate a long-term plan since, if I understand it correctly, the time of year when plants have to come inside here (probably similar to there - usually late Nov.) is a little late for moving one of these around since it would be in the process of setting buds or fully blooming, and moving them at all, but especially during the bloom season, results in bud drop. Haven't decided if these should live inside all year, or just come in a lot earlier...

Agree with the above you don't need it, but good luck!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 1:37PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello everyone!

Yes, JoJo, you *can* root or grow these plants in straight bark if you choose.
But you must bear in mind that my suggestion is contextual - in other words, I tell folks
that it would be better to root cuttings in pure bark than in water, peat, potting soil, et cetera.

But you'll notice that for my own Holiday Cacti I use a mix much closer to the 5-1-1.
Mike and I use the same general mix, which is uncomposted bark, perlite, and then a porous grit.
Each batch might be a touch different, but the concept is the same. Clean, light, well-aerated.

If you're going to add any potting mix, just be sure to keep it to a pinch.
I personally think there are cleaner means to bind the mix and increase moisture retention,
but some Orchid Mix or African Violet Mix in small measure certainly never hurt a jungle cacti ;-)

For the time being, I would re-pot the plant into the same pot in new mix.
Then, during the Summer, increase the container size so that you won't have to water so often.
That's the trick - matching the container volume to the mass of the plant.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 2:03PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Mike~ I just saw your Christmas Cactus in another post! How beautiful!

It only seems right that Mike should be the one to have to care for this, it was his brother! lol...

I do love these but have always shied away due to some of the care info i've seen and heard.

Hi Rhizo!
Too funny! Not sure about having this to hand down. lol.. I don't have the best track record with house plants ;-)

Well, I've heard and read so many things.
Turn them and they will pout and drop buds.. too much water, drop buds.. Then there's all the fickle care to get them too bloom. So many hours of dark.. certain temps. I've read it's suggested it needs temps in the 50's Sept. and Oct. to bloom. That's not gonna happen here! lol..

We'll see how it goes. :-)

Purple.. good to see you! I've read your post on your plant. Although plentiful here, I would never use sand, but thanks for the advice. :-)

I have read the discussion you linked.
Right now my biggest concern is getting it into a better mix. the one it's in now seems mostly peat and very damp.

Hi Josh!
I will be going with the same mix you and Mike are using.

I have Fir bark in the perfect size~ Perlite, Pumice~ and Turface. What about spag. moss instead of potting mix . I don't have Orchid or AV mix.

I will get something made up tonight or first thing tomorrow and get it out of the gunk!

It better grow like crazy and bloom or next x-mas BIL gets coal! lol
Thanks Everyone!!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 7:28PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Purple~ Good eyes~ :-) I'm looking at the picture and not really seeing what you say even with glasses. lol.. so I went and looked at the plant and there are a few spots that look like a new leaf starting. I will try and remember to get back and post you a pic as they grow :-)
thx for pointing that out. :-)


    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 11:27AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, JoJo!
I would skip the moss entirely.
Mostly bark (screened and rinsed) with a little rinsed Perlite and Pumice would be fine.
I like the larger size of the Pumice in this application, rather than the tiny Turface.

A shake of Osmocote into the mix wouldn't hurt, either.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 2:39PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Rinsed!?! Yikes! You do realize it's cold rainy and yucky today , don't you? ;-)

I'll see what I can get together. I have everything needed . Now to figure out where I left the osmocote.

Thanks Josh!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 3:19PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Warm water, rinsed at the sink! ;-)

Yesterday was nearly we're sunny, but 48F.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Jojo..Doesn't the mix Josh speaks of sound so delicious? lol

Reall! My C.C, T.C, all my Hoya's and many other epethites , is that how you spell that? Oh yes, many of my orchid and most of my houseplants LOVE this mix!

I think you said something about being worried about having to water more often in the heat?

Have you seen how HOT the temps can get where Josh lives? I have never been that hot here, and he seems to do just fine.

Rhizo, you crack me

Wishing everyone a Happier New Year or just as good as the last!

It's 30 degrees here and already dark and cloudy at 4 p.m. So depressing. I was really hoping my plants would at least get a few minutes of sun today. Not:-(

Mom send you an extra ton of love Jojo and wishes all the best for Mike too. You have been such an awesome friend after all these years.

Ooh, one more thing Jojo...Take a look at what the mix could look like. I'll link you.
It's 5 parts bark, one part pumice, and one part perlite.
Josh thanks pal.


Here is a link that might be useful: Good mix for your T.C and other Tropicals

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Mon, Dec 31, 12 at 16:09

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:04PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Oh sure! Now you tell me Josh!
LOL! Brrrr... here today. Was 48* when I last posted. Our temps are way up and down too! Some rain today.

Hi Mike!
Yep! Delicious! lol.. I have used this mix last season on a pepper or 2. and love it!

I was concerned if I used straight bark in our heat, but know this mix will work well. Oddly enough, me and Josh have similar summers, close to same in winter, but he's a little colder sooner and some snow. ;-)

Tons of love to mom too! I haven't been up to talking with this cold, but will try and call as soon as I can talk without coughing. :-/

It's in the new mix.

What it looked like out of the container..

Roots after getting junk off!

The yummy looking mix!! lol

Josh, a close up of the chunky pumice. sry bout the blur. Didnt have my glasses on.

All nestled in... I had a terra cotta just about 1/2" smaller than the plastic it came out of. so it went in that.

2 little pieces came off, so they will go in their own pot.
Behind them is the mess they came out of.

Thanks for all the help guys!


    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:19PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hahaha, hey, Mike!

Yeah, JoJo and I have very similar climate, just on opposite sides of the Sierra Nevadas.
A lot more trees here, though, so the Summer heat is slightly more tolerable ;-)

That nursery mix looked like awful stuff...but your new mix is just perfect!
Plan on re-moistening the mix in 2 - 3 days. Great work, JoJo!!!


    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 10:38PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Morning Everyone!
Happy New Year!

Yep.. you do have a few more tree's Josh. ;-) And it's a little more green than here, but I really am surprised at how close we are at times.

Thanks Josh. :-)
I like how the mix turned out. :-) I need to make a trip out to Mesquite Valley growers again soon to get more of the fir bark! I love that and for the $$ it's nice to have around for smaller mixes like this.

The nursery stuff had some sort of husk in it. reminded me of a grain of rice. It was still very wet Monday afternoon, and I had gotten the plant late Sat.

I feel much better now that it is in a better mix.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 11:18AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Just to clear one thing up , just in case someone is worried. ;-) I have the spag. moss on hand for my gecko, and have never used it in a mix. was just pondering the idea because of the type of plant this is. and agree with Josh , not to use it. :-)
He watches over my potting bench indoors. lol

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Jojo, now does that Lizard have a personality? I hear they are quite cute and look stare at you at times. I once saw one I fell in love with!

That's a cutie!

As for mix, that is the way to go. Great job Jojo. It looks like mine does.
You will just love it as well as your cactus.
What's cool is that you can water as often as you want without fear of rot, while at the same time if you don't, it still holds good moisture evenly throughout. How awesome is that for your plant and for you?

By the way, it is 36 today which to you is freezing, but to us a heatwave after having to put up with an Artic blast coming upon us today with temps to about 8 degrees by the morning. Not fun:-(


    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 11:53AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Mike! That's my little buddy! His name is Croc.. short for Crocodile, because of how he struts when he's hunting. lol. He's on the planting table in the corner of my room, and, yes, he stares at me all the time. lol! It's right next to my sewing table. We take him out and hold him and let him run around. He's a leopard Gecko. I'll see if I have a better pic a little later.

As for the kind words of my mix.. Thank you. :-)
I had enough left over to fill a 3" pot, so I transplanted a lemon tree cutting I rooted into it. ;-)

It was 38* here this morning, frost on everything and can see snow on the mountains off in the distance. Weather says back up to 70's next weekend.

Yes, 36* is freezing to me! Anything below 70* is!! LOL!

Hope you warm up soon! Hugs!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 1:51PM
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