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Christmas Cactus fail

Posted by lenle 4 (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 29, 12 at 20:29

A very, very generous GW'er provided me with some true CC cuttings a while back, and initially I thought they were doing well but when checking on them today, I discovered they were all dried up, with no roots to speak of and no hope of salvaging (crunchy, crispy) them. My process: I watered sparingly, rooted them in pine bark fines and kept them out of bright, direct light. I'm not sure what went wrong or when, but I clearly erred in some way.

I intend to try again, and so I've been keeping an eye out for replacement cuttings. Now, the one place I've seen them offered so far is not exactly wallet friendly ($100+ for a plant and nearly $30 for cuttings). I can't help but think this is extremely odd. I know they're "rare" plants... but $100+ rare?

Jeni


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

I purchased true CC cuttings from EBay this summer, and each time kept the total under $15. Recently one very active seller has jacked up the price considerably. If you keep watching, you may see some of the sellers are still giving a good price. I bought Buckleyii cuttings, and a solid pink which was a rooted cutting. I bought another in June, but it was poorly packed and didn't survive the heat. I hope to be able to share cuttings, but that will be in the future. They are not growing well for me.


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

lenle, these are jungle cactus that need almost constant moisture. Allowing it to dry for an extended period caused the death of the plants. Keeping it only in pine bark is for established plants with almost daily watering or life in a humid climate. Like so many things in life, try again. These plants like organic rich soil, so add something to the pine bark next time.


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

  • Posted by minflick 9b/7, Boulder Creek, (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 29, 12 at 23:05

I'm no expert, by any means, but I've got all the holiday cactuses out back, hanging from one of those fugly 4 legged plant/bird feeder things. I've got 2 of the Thanksgiving, 1 Easter, and 1 Christmas that were cuttings from a neighbor of my mom's, neighbor got it from her grandmother when she died - and her plant was 3-4 ft across with very long stem/branch things.

Mine is in a plastic pot, rooted in about 1/3 pea gravel (or broken up brick), 1/3 sand, 1/3 dirt with manure mixed in. It took a long time before the wee cuttings (which had scale ALL over them, and I got advice here on how to get rid of it) rooted happily (this was 3 years ago), but now they're out 24/7, with some sun, some bright shade. Soil mix drains very fast, and they get watered with a feeding most times, about every 4-5 days. I started my cuttings in little 3" plastic pots, and they got watered more then, but not much - I some of the cuttings to rot (as did a friend I shared them with), so I cut back to less watering.

They haven't bloomed yet, but they're a beautiful clear green now (not translucent, just a happy green). I have hope for flowers this year. My Thanksgiving and Easter have both bloomed for me, I can't wait to see the Christmas blooms whenever they happen.

In the picture 1st pot on the left has 3 small pots, each with a different kind of plant. white pot is the Christmas cactus, 3rd pot (in back) is friends Thanksgiving cactus (I think, can't remember right now), and 4th pot is my oldest Thanksgiving pot that was brutally abused last winter (fell off the washing machine about 6 times!) and will take some years before it's back to balanced and pretty.


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

Lme - I think I know who you're talking about...what amazes me is the plants seem to sell. Even the cuts from other sellers always go high... At least for what I'd consider paying for cuttings (which always run the risk of not rooting). I'm sorry to hear that they aren't growing for you. If they don't, please let me know? Maybe between the two of us we can work something out? I'm looking locally for CC's and may eventually find one, in which case I'll be glad to share.

Dzit - Thank you for the suggestions. I'm sure humidity isn't an issue. The humidity in my area during the summer is always high and I kept them in a bathroom. I think they like the bark too (I have a flourishing TG cactus in all bark), but maybe not until they're established. After unpotting the cuttings, I did find that the lower half of the bark was saturated, with the top half bone dry. I'm now thinking the container was too deep (terra cotta 4.25").

Min - That's quite the collection you've got there! I have yet to get mine to rebloom (TG/EC) naturally... I think leaving the light on for my jades has a lot to do with it. :) But the TG cutting in the kitchen blooms like mad, and it gets a good deal of light throughout the day and sometimes at night. Puzzling!

Jeni


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

I was asking a grower about true Christmas Cactus about a month ago, he said that they do poorly in transit. They break real easy and most do not survive. But from what he was saying, they do not like traveling. That may be the reason they are so pricy? And getting one from a friend thru the mail would be risky. But that is just one person's opinion.

I am going to try to get some this year anyway, maybe one that is already started real well.

I hope you can find some again and they work out for you.. wish me luck too??

Marjie :)


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

  • Posted by minflick 9b/7, Boulder Creek, (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 30, 12 at 18:00

Lenle, it started out 5+ years ago as 2 peoples separate collections. Then one of them (my best friend) had to move out of the area and asked me if I wanted most of her plants. I said yes. I now have a pot ghetto glads, 20+ irises needing planting and a rose, and a ridiculous number of the holiday cactuses...

One of my TG's is white with a thin medium pink blush at the base, the other is hot pink. Easter is a bright coral. Friends 1 TG is a salmon, one is also hot pink. No idea what the CC is - the lady who gave me the cuttings said it bloomed in yellow, orange and red, but mine have yet to bloom.


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

I have received several old fashioned CC cuttings and a few small rooted CC, EC, and TC in the mail. I had good luck with almost all of them. Some cuttings rotted but the majority rooted. The true CC are difficult to find but they are available, I purchased some very nice small rooted cuttings from JBsBirdsandMore. They were healthy and arrived quickly and in great shape, very reasonably priced too. She was great to communicate with, I would not hesitate to purchase from her again.

I was very fortunate to have a lady that I know give me a huge CC. I am very happy and honored that she would give me such a wonderful plant since most CC are handed down to younger relatives to care for.

55 year old Christmas cactus
Tami


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

Hi....I have a old CC and I have send out lots of cuttings to people on GW..and when I take the cuttings its not easy to get them off the plant...these people have told me that they rooted and they now have nice plants.....I am going to be sendings more cuttings out this week....my CC fell over twice this summer and the broken pieces I put in a pot and are growing.....I use MG-cactus soil, MG-orchid soil, MG-perlite all mixed together and I use this mix for all my plants and they do well, I have posted lots of pictures on GW from time to time....
Jeni I have sent you a e-mail.....linda


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

Jeni, thanks so much for your offer, I'll be sure to stay in touch. I think I'm too impatient. My rooted CC from Ebay is doing very well, and the cuttings are slow, but not rotted yet. What really spoiled me was plant sitting for my daughter who was given a huge hanging pot of CC - many long stems, very lush and green. I was sad to give him back, and now mine seem even smaller.
Tami, thanks for the name - JBsBirdsandMore. I'll have to look that up and see what's available. Your CC is awesome!


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

  • Posted by Ron4310 6B West Kelowna BC (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 30, 12 at 19:25

To root my Christmas cactus cuttings and all other cuttings I use Vermiculite. I put it in my container, usually a discarded plastic food package with a clear lid and I have made drain holes with my soldering iron. I soak the vermiculite with water and drain well. Then I LAY the cactus cuttings on top and pin them down gently so there is contact with the vermiculite and close the lid. If I don't have anything to pin them down I will just put a couple of nickels on the leaf. The cactus will root from each leaf joint and you can get more than one plant from each cutting. My cuttings are usually 3 or 4 leaves long. I check the moisture every couple of day and make sure it is damp, not soaked. Never lost a cutting in over 60 years. Good luck and good growing.


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

I root my cuttings in cactus mix, orchid mix, and a little african violet mix. I do have one established TC growing in orchid bark only, it seems to be doing well.

I was one of the lucky recipients of some of Linda's cuttings as well as some from another generous GW member--Thank you both! Both sets of cuttings rooted easily and are growing well.
Jeni and Marjie, sent you an email.
Tami


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RE: Christmas Cactus fail

Thanks for all the replies (and emails) so far! I love seeing how people grow things differently, and learning about the results. I mostly use either full bark or gritty mix -- I try to stay away from potting soil because my luck in using it has been pretty disastrous. I'm still learning though, so there's always room for change.

Jeni


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