Joe is Matthew’s partner and our resident plant man. Green fingered at heart, he’s always had an interest in plants that blossomed fully at the start of the year when he started working full time in Horticultural Maintenance. Now a travelling interior gardener, you’ll catch him wandering around the offices of London (usually with a watering can in hand) making sure their plants are all happy and alive. He’ll be visiting the blog regularly with a plant care tips, a monthly favourite green pal and much more leafy content.
As the holiday season swiftly rolls around I wanted to be a bit more festive with my monthly plant pick. She’s one for life (not just for Christmas) and held proud court on many a grandmothers kitchen windowsill sending out happy little blooms year after year, so you’ll probably recognise this South American wonder… The Christmas Cactus!
Guide for a happy plant:
Unlike her desert cousins, the Christmas Cactus hails from the depths of the Brazilian rainforest, nestling herself in to the nooks and crannies of tall trees where water will drain away quickly after rainfall. If you’re looking for another sand dwelling pin cushion for your windowsill collection you’re out of luck. Growing up deep in the jungle has given our flat leafed superwoman a whole different set of rules to follow.
First things first, bright indirect sunlight is a must. She’s not a sunbather though, and tends to stay under shade for fear of burning her delicate leaves. An odd little quirk to help her bloom is putting her in a room which won’t have the lights turned on once the sun goes down. It’s recommended that the Christmas Cactus gets a whopping 14 hours of darkness a night for the best flowers. I’m thinking this explains why she got so popular in Britain, where dark gloomy weather is one of our complaint staples.
Go steady with the water, and only soak the soil when it’s dry as a bone to avoid root rot. Funnily enough, a shower is more than welcome – this baby thrives in humidity which makes her excellent company for those long winter baths. For an extra treat, give her the occasional mist. Oh, and keep her well away from any radiators – she’s really not a fan of being too hot under the collar.
So take a dive back in to nostalgic memories of cups of tea on a cold winters day and those pretty flowers on your granny’s windowsill. Merry Cactus Christmas (Christmas), everyone!