Expert Advise

Expert advice

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Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus, with flowers ranging in color from yellow, salmon. pink, fuchsia and white (or combinations of those colors), isn’t just for the holidays – it can be grown indoors throughout the year.

While it adapts to low light, it will produce more abundant blooms if you place it in a sunny spot. In the summer, you can move it outdoors, but keep it in a shady or semi-shady location, since too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves. When it’s time to bring it back indoors in the fall, do so gradually to allow it to adjust. Since it relies on shortened daylight in the fall to induce budding, help it along by placing it in a room that receives no additional evening light. Once buds begin to appear again, bring it back into the living room or kitchen.

Despite its name, the Christmas cactus isn’t a true cactus, and it’s not quite as drought tolerant as you might think, so water it thoroughly when the top half of the soil feels dry to the touch. During the summer, keep it continually moist, and when fall arrives, water it only well enough to prevent wilting.During the month of October, give it no water at all, and then cautiously resume watering in November, being careful not to let the stems get full from over watering.

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