CHRISTMAS CACTUS, NOVEMBER 25, 2019 — Marilyn Armstrong

Christmas Cactus — November 25, 2019

Mind you, I’m still waiting for my orchids to stop sending out shoots and start putting out buds. But — you can’t hurry a plant. You can’t force buds, at least not here in this house. So we have blooming cactus until we also having blooming orchids!

There are a lot more buds ready to pop and the first flower to open is beginning to droop. Should we get a little bit of sun one of these days, all will go better. Or so I believe.


The Cactus is Back!

I had been noticing how exceptionally healthy both my cactuses looked, but I hadn’t noticed any buds. Until I looked more carefully and realized they were full of buds. Tiny buds at the end of almost every strand.

Now, some of them are big, plump buds and just about ready to open. Here’s how they looked yesterday:

An overlook of the big cactus

Closeup one

A little broader look

Softly framed


Red Cactus Flowers Galore! -FOTD – 05/19/19

There are still unopened buds on the cactus. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cactus bloom nearly continuously for so many months. Maybe it’s the gray, cloudy, cold weather. The cactus seem to like bright light, but not full sun.

Also, while the cactus is doing its thing, the orchids are coming in. So far, I can see three spikes for flowers. I think there will be a few more.

I’d love to buy more orchids, but I have no idea if there’s anyplace in driving distance that sells them. I don’t think I can get these from Amazon — but then again, I haven’t tried. They say you can get anything on Amazon.

Can you buy living flowers? In pots?

As much of the cactus as I could fit in the lens

RED CHRISTMAS CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

Red Christmas Cactus Blooming FOTD – 05/15/19

I’ve been taking pictures as the blooms budding and as they open. It has been pretty spectacular. This morning, it was amazing. For reasons of pure laziness, I shot these two pictures with my 100-300 lens.

I was very surprised at how well they came out.

Remarkably, it worked really well. I got exactly what I wanted, which was the entire plant in context with the other plants by the window.

I got it!

With only the light from the French doors after four in the afternoon …

Shooting in low light can bring out stronger color


Blooming Red Cactus Flower – FOTD – 05/10/19

Just as the pink ones died off, the red ones bloomed. It’s been a really big year for cactus flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever had them bloom so frequently or so plentifully.

How about a few pictures? These are all macros. I got revved up and changed the lens!

Amazing, eh?

That’s some cactus flower!

A bloom and a big bud

The color is perfectly red. Or is it scarlet?


More from the Red Cactus – FOTD – 05/05/19

It’s lucky I have indoor plants because it is so miserable and cold outside, it’s very hard to persuade me to go anywhere. I’m cold ALL the time. My feet need constant defrosting … but the Christmas cactuses are busy setting buds.

I don’t know what has made them bloom so much this year. I haven’t done anything differently than usual. I don’t re-pot them. I don’t trim them. I don’t fertilize them. I occasionally turn them so they grow evenly, but otherwise, I water them when they are dry. That’s it. The totality of my relationship with them.

The big red one is getting ready to bloom again and is setting a lot of buds. I swear they are trying to make up for the miserable weather outside!

Setting buds

And you can see my new Norfolk Island Pine. I have never had much luck with them, so maybe I’ll get lucky this time



Red Buds on the Christmas Cactus – FOTD – 05/01/ 2019

And just as the pink Christmas Cactus dropped its final flower, buds appeared on the red cactus. I am particularly grateful to my indoor plants for blooming because outside, the endless rain has been killing everything.

Bushes I was sure were impervious to weather — like the Rhododendrons — are withering and dying. The ground is so soaked, the roots can’t find any oxygen. They are literally drowning.

Buds with my Norfolk Pine behind it.

So the nearly constant blooming of the cactus is a bit of a life saver for me. At least there is some color, a little brightness, and cheer.

You can see a second bud in the background

There are no blooms on the plants yet, but there will be in a few days. And meanwhile, the orchid is sending out shoots too.

Nice fat red bud!


Pink Christmas Cactus – FOTD – 04/03/2019

Having just recovered from a major blooming of the scarlet Christmas Cactus, the pink one is coming into a heavy bloom of its own. Unlike the red one, it only threw a few flowers in season, but now it’s got a lot of buds, one flower fully in bloom and another about to burst for tomorrow.

Almost ready to bloom


Another bloom

Fat bud



More Flowering Cactus – FOTD – 03/10/2019

I think the big one is nearing the end of its run, but I noticed today that the smaller one is full of buds too. So maybe we’re going to have a few more weeks of flowers.

I assume they will be pink rather than red, but sometimes the pink one has red flowers.

I have no idea why.

Full flowering cactus

REIGNING CACTUS – FOTD – Marilyn Armstrong

Reigning Cactus – FOTD – 03/08/2019

I’m going to miss this cactus when it finally stops blooming. Fortunately, I have a getting-ready-to-bloom orchid pushing its way upward.

Just about when the cactus finishes, that should be full of buds. I hope!

I’m going to be at the hospital today so I won’t be answering comments or writing anything until tomorrow. Sorry!

View 1 – I kept turning the plant to see if I could get better light on different parts to see where I’d have the best color

Really hard to get both the color and enough light


THE CACTUS IS BACK – FOTD – MARCH 7, 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Cactus Is Back – 03/07/2019

I’ve been dealing with snow and birds and hungry squirrels, but today I took a look at the cactus and I was actually impressed. I’ve had this cactus for more than a decade and never has it bloomed like this. It has always bloomed, but never fully. Never so many flowers and buds.

It looks absolutely beautiful against the snow on the deck. I’ve been trying to get a good picture of it, but the light coming in from the door does strange things to the flowers and their colors.

I think these two are the best of today’s bunch!

SO GROWS THE CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

So grows the cactus – FOTD – 02/25/2019

I picked up the camera today. My shoulder actually hurt more than yesterday and it was obvious that I needed to shoot. I realized as I spent all day shooting, then processing photographs, that the problem isn’t the camera and its weight. It’s these all day workouts on the computer.

I’m not sure what I can do about it because when you shoot, you are going to process … and if you take a lot of pictures — and Garry took quite a few today too — you are going to process a lot.

If anyone has an answer for how to do this without all the crippling side effects, let me know. My wrists, shoulder, neck, and back will thank you.

There are a lot of buds waiting to open soon, too. So there will be more!

Full bloom

Standing back



What a little sunlight can do!

MORE ABOUT THE CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

Christmas Cactus in Bloom – FOTD – 02/23/2019

I think I might be able to hoist the Big Lens tomorrow, but for today, it’s all about the Christmas Cactus which is blooming its heart out as February is ending. Maybe it will bloom continuously. It certainly seems able to do it.

Really, this little cactus has been blooming pretty much since last Thanksgiving. It bloomed through Christmas and most of January.

Suddenly, it’s blooming again.

Big bud, ready to bloom

Macro blooming