Viewing tabasco's Garden Diary: Christmas Cactus Culture 'Schlumbergera bridgesii'
Sunday, December 3, 2006
A Formula for "Becky's" Beer-based Plant Fertilizer
This may be a useful fertilizer for African Violets and Christmas Cactus:
Here it is:
12 oz beer
1 cup Epsom salts
1/2 cup ammonia
2 cup water
1/2 cup molasses (I use black strap)
4 tbs bloom booster
vit B12 (I use 250-500mg)
You use 1 tablespoon per gallon of warm water.
[[email protected]] search for 'Becky's Formula'.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Texas A &M University article by Harvey Lang
I came into temporary possession of my Grandmother's Christmas Cactus which has caused me some concern, or you could even say 'anxiety'.
The big plant in a nice clay pot was a recent bequest from my mother's estate with some important strings attached...I was to propagate cuttings for my other eight siblings and additional members of the third generation, or rather fourth generation, if you consider that the plant was originally a gift to my grandmother some fifty or sixty or more years ago and she now has at least eighteen great-grandchildren from just one of her offspring, my dad.
Since the old fashioned Schlumbergera has been domiciled with me, though, the poor thing has not thrived and seems to be just hanging in there. My mother, who cared little for plants and gardening, seemed able to to keep it very happy despite the line of possession coming down through her mother-in-law, which was a 'challenged' relationship, at best. Which might explain my problems with the plant.
Now that I look up Christmas Cactus culture, I read that it requires not much more than feeding with a simple fertilizer once or twice a year, a bit of water now and again and a sunny window sill. Now that I review my past few months of foster care, though, I discover that I have been killing my plant with TML, as my children call it--Too Much Love. Too much water, too much fertilizer, too much attention.
So, now I understand what to do-- just treat the old plant the way I treat my Mother-in-law and my mother did hers before me--give it a place of honor in a sunny window, as I do my husband's mother, feed it once a year, which is about how often I see my mother-in-law, and leave it alone and let it thrive, a distant yet respectful approach which has worked well in our thirty-seven year old relationship and I hope will work as well with the Christmas Cactus.
With the right cultural approach to our cactus heirloom then, I may be able to teach the next generation a lesson in relationships!