Sunday, January 03, 2010

Flower Power

My one living room window faces north and the blinds are almost always closed because that same window faces the 3 story townhouses behind us and offers them a front row seat at whatever it is that we're doing. Consequently the house plants don't get enough light to survive let alone flower. I used to have over 100 plants on my south facing windowsill until the parrot got to them, but that's another story. The violets I buy in flower, never bloom again, the Amaryllis I bought last year flowered gloriously and grew a crown of leaves which died off, one after the other this fall leaving me with a stump. I'm hopeful that it has gone dormant and will surprise me soon with another big showy flower. As for the rest of the plants they are mostly just green leaves that look like overgrown grass.

Some time ago my sister gave me a potted cutting from a Schlumbergera more commonly know as a Christmas cactus. It wasn't anything remarkable, just a few leaves stuck into a pot and I put it on the table by the patio doors and hoped for the best. I had reason to open the curtains the other day and noticed a bud on the tip of one leaf. I had no idea what colour the flowers would be and the bud appeared mostly white. White's OK but in a dreary Canadian winter I long for vibrant reds, that splash of "in your face" colour that says 'Hey! Look at me, I'm alive!"

So want to see what it is? It's as close as a cactus gets to red.
Of course you know that in a house where there is exactly ONE flowering plant, you really want to be careful with it, especially while it's blooming. Just as a precaution, I mentioned this to hubby to make sure the delicate flowers didn't get bruised with the curtains being opened and closed as we take out the trash. Of course you know it was inevitable. It's the one plant doomed to get knocked over and turned upside down on it's head. I picked it up and put it back in the pot and pulled it out from behind the curtains to keep it from getting frozen as we go in and out and as an extra safety measure, put it on the dining room table so that I can enjoy it's colour for as long as it blooms. Of course since I moved it to the dining room table, the table has become a necessary work bench and it's been leaned on, knocked over again and had all manner of bits and pieces of things laid on top of it.

If it survives, I'll take a cutting to plant on the opposite side of the pot to balance it out. The weight of all of the leaves hanging to one side is what caused it to topple in the first place. Just to prove that it did live long enough to flower I at least have a picture of it, and while I was at it, I made an attempt to use the macro setting on the camera.
Crappy lighting and my crappy photography skills are to blame for this less than stellar picture. I'm sure it's not the fault of the camera. I'm hoping the plant will still be pretty tomorrow and maybe I can try again in bright daylight. That is, of course, if we get some. Lots of cold, a few sprinkles of snow, but not too much in the way of light lately.


Ridgetatter said...

I love it. I have a north kitchen window full of Christmas Cacti ~ mostly orange and reds. I found they thrive when neglected. One that survived sat under the flood water for a month, came out sickly pale thing ~ one stalk. Now it is HUGE. What I like about cacti is that they can be so neglected, rejected, dumped over and still survive. Put a rock on the 'light' side of the container for weight. In CA I use to pamper these plants, put them in the dark before Christmas, hoping for blooms ~ nothing, just greenery. Now, in the north window, I just leave them be ~ they get watered very occasionally and they bloom like crazy at all times of the year.
But Sher, you CAN get red and orange colored Christmas Cacti.


Tatskool said...

That WILL survive Sharon. I have 2 one in the living room in hanging basket....this counteracts the weight and lets it all hang down..It often doesnt get watered for weeks/months, yet still it flowers tho not much.
The other is in the bathroom and that too survives with a low light level in a north facing room.

Give it a feed occasionally and it will flower its socks off and keep putting cuttings back in to the pot...or a wider pot and if poss hang it up.

tattrldy said...

I have one that is a cutting from the one that my MIL has. I only do things right once in a while because it only blooms every few years. But when it blooms, it blooms everywhere! Don't give up on it, it will survive.

Sally Kerson said...

Christmas Cacti are one of my favourite plants, mainly cos I either over water them or forget them altogether and they still survive! I have them in all colours, red, orange white and mauve and cuttings are easy to take. So don't worry it will survive an earthquake!!!

❦TattingChic said...

The blossoms are lovely!