Saved by Schlumbergeras

Just as the days get too short and the nights too long

and my garden outside dies from the cold,

my Schlumbergeras come into their glory

and bloom with explosive profusion

to show me that a FLOWER

can survive and thrive

inside in winter

and so shall I.

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FLOWER

The Supreme Schlumbergera

It is so difficult to choose a favorite Schlumbergera bloom.

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How can one possibly pick a favorite among these lovely and vibrant contestants?

It takes an experienced judge to discern which one should be given the honor.

Should it be salmon, orange, fuchsia, red, white or pink?

 

The competition is tough, but not Ruth-less.

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Our wise judge seems to be pointing to the salmon-colored Schlumbergera truncata.

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Such an appropriate and well-thought-through decision.

So the salmon Schlumbergera has been selected Supreme for 2018.

Great call RBG.  Keep up the good work.

FLOWER

 

 

 

How Do They Know?

(Lyrics sung to the tune of “How Will I Know?” by Whitney Houston)

How do they know that it is November?

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They’re making buds on every segment.

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They will be blooming in a few weeks.

I’m asking you what you know about these things

How do they know that it’s time to get lovely?

I brought them in to escape the frost (Halloween)

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Watching them bloom is such a sweet treat.

They won’t bloom long, only several weeks.

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How do they know?

How do they know?

How do they know?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from the Thanksgiving cacti , Schlumbergera truncata

Singing FLOW

 

Blooming Again?

My Schlumbergeras are now blooming for the second time since I brought them inside.

I wondered, it is the daylength that has encouraged them to start blooming again?

I consulted the US Navy’s charts on Duration of Daylight for my area.

My cacti were blooming like crazy between November first and ninth of 2017.

The daylength for those days was between 10 hours and 42 minutes to 10 hours and 28 minutes.

Late January daylength has been just over 10 hours. Hmmm? I expected these to be about the same.

Even my babies that just rooted and pieces in water are blooming.

It could not be a change in temperature, because even the cacti in my cold workshop are budding and blooming.

Just when you think you know a plant, it surprises you.

Nice!

FLOWER

 

Purge after Blooming

Just when you thought you could stash your spent Schlumbergeras in the basement,

you have one more assignment.  You need to purge the excess foliage.

This is NOT the same as taking cuttings to root new plants.

I covered this last winter in the post, https://floweralley.org/2016/12/30/in-with-the-new/

In that case, you twist off healthy pieces that are three or more links long.

Purging is when you read the plant’s foliage to guide you on what should be removed.

I look for the shriveled sections and cut them off.

These plants have a form of triage.

When a shoot has too many branches to be supported, one gets bypassed and begins to die.

Cutting off the shriveled parts accelerates this process.

I cut all these pieces off of this one cactus.

You cannot tell it has been purged,

except that it is less cluttered and healthier in appearance.

before purge
after purge
removed pieces

Do not bother trying to revive and root these pieces unless it is a very special specimen that you only have one of.

I have tried various techniques. None have worked well for me.

You will be rewarded next year by taking this step now.

It is also a good time to shape up those lopsided plants.

If you can’t stand to toss a healthy branch in the compost,

dip it in a rooting hormone

and push the piece down in the soil around the mama plant.

Hey. It’s winter, you’re stuck inside. It’s an excuse to play with your plants indoors.

FLOWER

 

Bunnies and Blooms in the Gloom

We have had three cold, wet days here in NC.

Neither I nor the bunnies have played outside.

They have kept busy chewing sticks, barbering each other,

eating, napping and tearing up their box.

I have played with my inside plants.

My Christmas cacti collection will be blooming for weeks to come.

I am so thankful for their vibrant colors.

I am just sharing today’s showoffs up close.

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fuchsia
salmon
red/white
gold and salmon
white

When it stops raining, I will be going outside to photograph all the bloomers that are still braving the elements.

It’s the least I can do for these tenacious plants.

FLOWER

I Wish I Knew Their Secrets

It’s Schlumbergera truncata/Christmas cacti blooming time.  Well, actually I think it is early.

The GOLD came in first and is blooming profusely.

gold Schlumberegra truncata

The WHITE is also covered with blooms and buds.

white Schlumbergera truncata

The SALMON colored is about at its peak also.

salmon Schlumbergera truncata

The FUCHSIA is the brightest ever, but one-sided. Oops!

fuchsia Schlumbergera truncata

The PINK is tumbling over because of so many blooms.

pink Schlumbergera truncata

It’s the REDS  and Light Pinks that are struggling.

red Schlumbergera truncata

They look a little dehydrated. They have fewer blooms.

There’s a problem. Some of them changed. The bottom half to be exact. The “Shop” group.

I had them in two different locations. I watered and fed both sets the same like a good scientist should.

The variable was not as much the amount of sun, but the time of day that they got sun.

None got much direct sun because they were all under an overhang most of the time.

The struggling group got afternoon hours, the thriving group got evening hours of sun.

That hypothesis makes sense, but I have another.

The group by the entryway got more attention.  A plant?  Needs attention?

This may surprise some of you, but plants are living things.

They process and respond to their environment. They communicate with each other.

I can read some of their signs like wilting, drooping and color changes.

I cannot however perceive their chemical signals.

The needs of the downstairs group were not met in some way.

I turned them less, rearranged them less, pruned them less.  It shows.

They have fewer buds, smaller buds and less color.

Maybe you had better check on your plants more often.

Turn them around, pull a leaf or two, maybe a kind word…

I have been misting the sick ones and giving them “banana water.” Now there’s a secret!

FLOWER

 

 

In With The New

I love to share my favorite plants.

Today is the day I pot up the Schlumbergera pieces.

I have taken color requests. I have twisted off pieces with three or more links.

I have let these pieces callus off for several days.  Notice the plates are labeled.

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Now, I dust some rooting hormone on the lower nodes.

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I use craft mesh over the drainage hole for any pots going outside and then inside. It keeps the critters out.

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I use cacti/citrus mix potting soil, but any type will do.  I prefer 3 inch pots, but could not find many.

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Notice the labels for the pots with color and year.  All these babies look the same.

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I let these stand around in their pots for a day and then give them a watering.

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I like to use a weakened mix of Planting/Transplanting solution.

They will be fully rooted and growing nicely when their new parents come in the spring.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

FLOWER

Beauty By the Pot

I misplace things.

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Bright pink

Especially plant tags. (‘Using Chopsticks’ post)

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White white

So here are my Schlumbergeras, by the pot.

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Red red

After they finish blooming.

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White blush mix

I will refer to these photos to take the requested cuttings of the different colors.

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Fuchsia

Without surprising anyone a year later.

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Peach

No one complains, of course.

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Gold blush

Notice they are all on the same tray for size comparison. Also, I put a colored dot on the pot with a Sharpie.  This helps for a while, until the dots fade.

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Pink red

I make up names for color variations. White white has white buds and white blooms. White blush has white buds and blushing blooms, etc..

Happy Thanksgiving

FLOWER