What holiday gift can you give that gardener or plant lover on your list when it's the middle of winter? Loretta Aaron, one of Oklahoma City's most legendary gardeners, had the perfect idea — a Christmas cactus.
Christmas cactuses are in good supply now at supermarkets, florists, and garden centers. Many are at peak bloom. Christmas cactuses are easy to grow and to keep blooming each year. Called Zygo cactuses, they do not require direct sunlight. In fact, direct sunlight would harm the plant, especially if placed close to a south window. Christmas cactuses bloom between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This cactus is a true epiphyte, which in its native habitat grows wild on trees, deriving sustenance from the decay of leaves and other plant debris, and by aerial roots.
The best place in the home for a Christmas cactus is in an area of indirect light. The temperature in most homes would be satisfactory. They do not like sudden temperature changes, especially after buds are formed. When you find one you cannot live without, and the temperature outside is a chilly, windy 15 degrees, ask the sales person to place it in a paper bag for the trip to the car. Just a few minutes of exposure to temperature changes could cause the buds to drop after you get it home.
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