Gardening Fix

Show day or Christmas Day?

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My Canadian friend calls this a “cactus de noël’ because it flowers at Christmas time. Here in my southern hemisphere it flowers, like clockwork, for Ipswich Show Day in the middle of May. In fact, the first time I noticed this plant was as a potted plant competitor in the Ipswich Show. I just had to have one!

Some facts:

It’s an epiphyte, meaning it derives water and nutrients from the air.

It’s a short day plant – meaning it flowers in response to the lengthening of nighttime hours. Apparently, you can upset their flowering clockwork if they are on a well light balcony or under a streetlight.

We call it a Zygocactus but it is not a desert plant. It comes from humid Brazil.

How to grow it?

It grows itself. Really, it could not be easier. I have them in hanging pots. I am told they do not do well in garden beds. They like a free draining soil and do not like a lot of direct sunlight.  Mine suffered in the summer when I cut back some of their shade but they are still alive and kicking. Except for the one the possum ate.

They grow from cuttings so they are good for sharing too.

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