Christmas and Easter Cacti
Come to Life

By Patricia B. Mitchell

New Year's Cactus

I'm a plant rehabilitator by family appointment: for decades, my mother gave me her “tired” plants.

For years after we received this Christmas cactus, it didn't die, but neither did it thrive — at least not enough to bloom. But finally, after a near eternity of dormancy, it bloomed shortly after New Year's 2001! Beautiful!

New Year's Cactus Blossom

Correspondent Jean McIntosh suggests that this cactus (pictured to the right, and also above) is “most likely Kris Kringle or possibly Dark Marie” variety.

Spring Cactus Blossom

Moreover, an even more pitiful-looking specimen Mom had given us bloomed in May 2001. The single flower on this “Spring Cactus” is very different from the other plant. (Jean says it “is known as an Easter cactus, but I do not know which one.” John Rendell states, “I believe the cactus plant you are showing is Hatiora gaertneri. It does flower in the spring.”)

If any of you readers out in cyberspace can provide further varietal identifications for these two plants, please e-mail us.

Patricia Mitchell