The PERFECT House Plant!

 christmas-cactus.jpg

I have a long history of failure with live plants in the house.  I have been given many over the years, and just never had the “feel” (or the memory!) to  keep them alive.

I had a philodendron on my desk at work for a while and that worked pretty well because it was right there in front of me every day, so I remembered to water it. 

But then I got the bright idea, because I had read an article about coffee grounds being good for plants, to start pouring the rest of my morning cup of coffee on the plant, thus not only watering it but fertilizing it with the coffee. 

That worked for a while but apparently I wasn’t drinking enough of my coffee because when the plant started to look sickly, I took a closer look in the pot and saw that the little fella was more or less floating in a sea of coffee!  So, from that point on, I more or less gave up on live plants.

But four years ago I was given a Christmas cactus.  It had a bloom already on it when I received it, which I assumed would be the last one I would ever see, so I put it in the window over the sink so that I could enjoy it while it lasted.  Big surprise — after a few weeks, it was still alive!  So, one morning when I took my vitamin, I threw the little bit of water left in my glass on it. 

The bloom stayed on for a while, but even after it fell off, the plant seemed to actually LIKE its “window seat” and the amount of water I was giving it (which consisted of  a quarter cup of water whenever I would think, “Uh Oh, I haven’t watered it in a while.”).  I had finally found a plant that matched my abilities — a cactus.

I have come to really enjoy this little cactus.  Its leaves (are they leaves on a cactus?) are a dark shiny green most of the year, but they start gradually turning a little pink around the edges in the Fall, and by late November/early December the whole plant is a beautiful blend of rose and dark green hues and a bud will show up.  After it blooms, and is about ready to fall off, another comes.  There are even sometimes a couple more blooms, before it goes back to its non-blooming state for the rest of the year. 

So, as far as I can tell this is a PERFECT house plant for the “plant-growing impaired” like me.  It apparently has a strong will to live, is happy with just a little water and a bright window, and doesn’t overwhelm its owner with too much “showiness.”

Of course, I will never leave a picture like the one at the top of this post on the counter where my little jewel can see it, because seeing it might make it yearn for a life in a household where it would be encouraged to “be all you can be!”  I want it to think that staying little and only having one bloom at a time is the “norm.” 

And, it could never be appreciated any more than it is by its present owner — who never thought she would have a plant that lived, much less bloomed. 

Thank you, little Christmas cactus — you are loved.

5 Responses to The PERFECT House Plant!

  1. The Eastsider says:

    Amen. My mother purchased us a Christmas cactus when we moved into our home 6 years ago, 3 weeks b4 Christmas. I am not a green thumb and presumed I would kill it my summer. I must be doing something right because she blooms twice a year. Once around Christmas and the next anywhere from May to early July.

  2. I don’t have a Christmas cactus, but they are one of my favorite plants.

    It is fun to get attached to another living thing and loving it, isn’t it? You two sounds like a nice pair. 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    Eastsider — now that you mention it I do remember that it has had a bloom in the spring too, but I don’t think that’s every year. Maybe it has a bad memory, just like it’s owner, and sometimes forgets to bloom when it’s supposed to!

    SBW — It has given me great enjoyment. Much of that because when I look at it it is always a nice surprise that it looks so healthy! I feel just a little vindicated from my reputation as a “black thumb.”

  4. Grandma used to send her plants to our house to die. She would be glad to know that you finally got one that you don’t need miracle grow to keep alive.

  5. Sandra says:

    You’re right, Jen. Although, she would laugh that it took a cactus to suceed at my house!

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