Gardening: Best of the Bunch - Christmas cactus

Christmas Cactus. 'See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
Christmas Cactus. 'See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
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In their native homes, these forest cacti are attached to trees in woodlands and jungles, but in the UK you generally buy them in a much more sterilised environment, in bud in November, waiting to burst into bloom in colours of white, pink, red or purple.

They have flat, tooth-edged leaf-like stems with a trailing habit and tiers of flowers which bloom at the end of the stems during the winter months and throughout January.

They also need little maintenance, apart from watering thoroughly when the compost begins to dry out and maintaining a minimum temperature of 55F.

They also need a cool, dry resting period after 
flowering and will benefit from placing in a shady spot during the summer to help them produce next year’s flower buds.

Don’t move a plant once the buds appear or they may all drop off.