Holiday lore and Christmas cactus care

Christmas cactus care

  • Place in a well-lit location in a well-drained container

  • Keep away from fireplaces and vents. Direct exposure to hot air will tend to cause buds to drop before opening.

  • Blooms will fall off of the plant prematurely when overwatered and when the plant is too dry. Monitor the soil by touch and water when the top inch feels dry.

When it comes to Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is evergreens––Christmas trees, firs, hollies. Typically, our minds don’t think: cactus! So what’s the deal with the Christmas Cactus? How did it come to be an indoor plant we use to decorate with for the holidays? Let’s find out!

As folklore goes, there are many versions of the story. The Christmas cactus legend we like best goes a little bit like this… 

Once upon a time, deep in the heart of the jungle of Brazil, a little boy prayed to the heavens. While we’re used to chestnuts roasting by the open fire on cold nights in the Southeastern United States, the natives of Brazil were living out their winter days in the heat and humidity without the need for a fire. So the boy prayed tirelessly for a sign of Christmas but nothing appeared until Christmas morning when he left his hut only to find beautiful bursts of pink and red flowers stemming from the branches of cacti that had been growing on the branches of trees. As the limbs of the plant tended to create a weeping floral spread, it was as if the boy’s prayers had been answered in the form of majestic floral bells. A sign sent from the heavens signified Christmas was here!

The funny thing is, Brazlians tend to refer to the Christmas cactus as “flor de maio” or May flower because it actually blooms within the coastal jungle in May, not December. Nevertheless, the Christmas cactus name is here to stay and these cacti are the perfect present to bring to any holiday affair as a reminder of the gift we’ve all been given of time together during the holiday season.