Friday, November 1, 2019

Our Tardy Cactus Hangs On

The library's Christmas cactus is blooming away. This plant gets minimal (and dubious) care from the school cleaning staff but it manages to hang on and even prosper year in and year out. You may remember that several pieces of it were broken off not too long ago, and I brought them home and put them in soil to root.

Here's how those pieces look now. They're a bit behind the mother plant but they're all on their way to blooming. The leaves look slightly droopy and shriveled -- and much more purple, which I believe is a sign of a stressed plant -- but I assume that's because the roots still aren't very established. I'm just glad they've survived so far! I move the pot periodically between the bathroom (where it's more humid) and the dining room (where it gets more light).

Speaking of plants, yesterday morning I repotted the foxgloves I grew from seed. I went outside and noticed a squirrel had knocked over one of the plants, and when I checked to make sure it was OK (it was) I realized its roots were growing out the holes in the bottom of the pot. So I transplanted all six of them to bigger pots. Nothing like some last-minute gardening before work!

Oh, and speaking of work -- I can't believe I forgot to tell you this -- remember the kid who had a library book checked out since April? The one whose parents I wanted to meet with, and whose father then told me he wanted the kid to deal with the problem himself? Well, the kid came in on Monday and morning and -- gasp -- paid for his lost book! So that little issue is finally settled.

Now I have to move on to the 7th grade girl who's had nine books checked out since June.


Kids are so funny. Whenever I ask one of them about an overdue book, they all say, "Oh, I know where it is." And I respond, "Well, I'm glad you know where it is, but unless you bring it back that doesn't help!"


  1. I have a couple of Xmas cacti ( cactuses? ) They have pale pink flowers and the old one that I have had for many years is just coming into bud. I believe that you shouldn't move them while in bud of flowering as the buds might drop off!

  2. It is sometimes said that plants, like pets, take after their owners so it is hardly surprising that your Christmas cactus is "droopy and shriveled"... Hurrah for the bad boy who brought the money in to replace the lost book! It's party time at the library!

  3. Please ignore YP, I don't think you are "droopy and shriveled" give him a ticking off Steve, lol

  4. Droopy and shriveled??? Not going there...At least the kid finally owned up!

  5. Christmas Cactus obviously thrive on neglect.
    I can't believe that boy came in and paid for his book! Dad must have at least had a chat with him.

  6. Nice Christmas cactus save there. So glad that kid paid for the book. It's a good lesson in responsibility.

  7. I'm impressed by the end of that story about the kids and the lost book! Restores my faith!

  8. One of our infamous miscreants made the famous comment,"I don't know where my book is but it's not overdue."

  9. your cuttings do look a little stressed but you are so good at resurrecting discards I'm sure it will be fine. and yay for the kid finally paying for the book.

  10. My mom had a Christmas cactus just like that one, my oldest sister still has it, and so do various nieces and grandchildren scattered around the country. I should get a cutting again from one of them and try my luck. I think Mary Moon is right, they love to be left alone.
    I also wanted to comment on yesterday's post regarding the pumpkins. We were raised on baked squash of all kinds, including pumpkins. But I discovered that the kinds of pumpkins we grew were different than what are commonly sold as Halloween Pumpkins. It was explained to me that Halloween pumpkins are what is known as field pumpkins and are grown in some parts of the world as cattle feed. After Halloween they are gathered back up and processed for that purpose, so they are not a big agricultural waste. The ones we grew in our garden had a lot more meat on them than these tend to have, and the meat was sweeter. We often had them just baked, with a bit of butter.


  11. This seems to be a common refrain from me whenever you talk about house plants, but I'll say it again: our cat ate the last Christmas cactus we had so I gave up. That cat no longer lives with us so maybe I ought to try again. I do like them. My great grandmother had a huge one in their parlour that my mother remembers being big when SHE was a girl (and she'll be ninety early next year). I don't know what ever happened to it after her son (who had it after her) passed away.

  12. Christmas cactus is one I don't see often here but they certainly are very pretty. I'm glad the boy paid for his book. It took him long enough.

  13. All it took was patience, Steve. As with the overdue book, so goes the Christmas cactus.

  14. Love That Blooming Christmas Cactus - Waiting For Mine To Produce - Thanx For Sharing


  15. may he become a tad more on the ball by the time he graduates, that slow reader.

    That's a lovely purple on your cactus. Ours are a duller red. I once had a white one but it didn't last.

    We chuck out the xmas cacti after their 3rd blooming bout (around Easter) and when there is no more risk of frost. They sit all spring and summer and autumn in the dry heat by themselves and shrivel a bit but by mid October they start to produce buds and I bring them in and satrt watering them and they always start to glow and shine beautifully.

  16. I am so glad the student paid for his book. You were right to make it easier for him while still being firm about it. What was the title?

  17. Frances: You're probably right about moving them. I'm just so indecisive about what kind of environment the plant needs right now!

    YP: Hey now!

    Briony: THANK YOU! Who does he think he is?!

    E: Yeah, best not. :)

    Ms Moon: I think they do, actually. They don't like to be coddled. I agree -- I think Dad had a word with him after our talk.

    Robin: Hopefully he absorbs the lesson!

    37P: They usually come through in the end, but it took longer than normal with this one!

    Red: HA! That's even WORSE!

    Ellen: The cuttings are very large. I think they're probably too big to support themselves with no root system. If I'd done it right I'd have trimmed them down and only rooted some small pieces. But oh well -- we'll see what happens long-term.

    Tom: Thanks for the background on the pumpkins! That is good to know. I was dimly aware that eating pumpkins are different from carving pumpkins but I didn't know exactly how.

    Jenny-O: Apparently they are amazingly long-lived plants. I bet your grandmother's is still out there somewhere!

    Sharon: They're tropical cacti, as opposed to desert cacti, so I don't think they'd thrive in Arizona. (Not outdoors anyway.)

    Catalyst: There is a deeper message in all of this, isn't there? Remember the old "Kung Fu" TV show? "Patience, Grasshopper!"

    Padre: Be sure to share some pictures when it does!

    Sabine: Yeah, he's only in 8th grade. A lot of kids are scatterbrained at that age. That's a good idea, about putting the cacti outdoors in the summer. We should try that. (Assuming it survives!)

    Penelope: It was a nonfiction book with a mouthful of a title: "The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West."

  18. Your Christmas Cactus are beautiful. What a surprise that the kid finally came in and paid his bill. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  19. Ahhhh I really hope that my Christmas Cactus blooms like yours and yes I do believe that the purple indicates some stress but they are so hardy. I received mine and it is just the same color of pink as yours from my son for Christmas. This Christmas will be 3 years and last year I had one bloom. :(
    They say that they will bloom either twice a year or not at all so I am hoping that this year that it will take off and give me a boon of lovely flowers.
    I watch this lady on YouTube and she is studying Horticulture and she stresses that succulents do not like a lot of water. One of her videos she said that after the Christmas Cactus becomes bone dry to leave it alone for a week and then water it fully and let drain well. It is ok to use a spray bottle to mist in between if you are crying and feel it is going to die of thirst lol. I love watching her. She is too funny sometimes.

    I laughed at the kids who always knows where the books are but never bring them back... Well it not only happens to kids.. I don't have books out but I do owe a fine at the library. I want to thank you for posting about the kids and books because (FLASH)… I remembered I have a library fine! When I finish catching up on your blog posts I am going to get online and pay it.. Thanks again..!!!

    Speaking of blogs, I am catching up on reading my few and then I am going to go and work on my own. I am back from Reno so I have some free time today and I am going to Blog!!!
    TTYL Beth