Cactus Flowers in Waiting

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #72: Waiting

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Over 20 years ago I received a Christmas cactus as a gift. I was encouraged by the fact that cactus plants have a reputation for survival.

In other words, it would be hard for me to kill it. As I often did with houseplants – unintentionally – much to my continuing dismay.

I think it flowered that first year, but rarely did it bloom as advertised…supposedly at Christmas time. So there it sat on a living room shelf…near the window…or away from the window…for years. I pruned it. Or I didn’t. No matter what I tried, my cactus remained…well…green. Dusting the branches didn’t help either.

But thankfully it stayed alive. For the most part.

When we moved several years ago, it mysteriously started showing signs of color and bloomed gloriously at our temporary beach rental that November. I thought the placement by a sunny window made it happen. Or perhaps it was waiting for us to downsize. I’ll never know for sure.

This October, I pruned my aging cactus and pumped it full of plant food at its spot by a sunny window. And I waited.

Nothing.

Waited some more.

Until one day I noticed buds…sprouting on the tips of almost every branch.

My visiting grandson was dutifully impressed (as only a 3 year old can be) when I announced: LOOK! Buds! They will turn into flowers! This is so exciting!

Another week passed.

I watched and waited. Carefully watered. Not too much. Not too little (just guessing at how much “enough” really was)…

Then, last weekend I noticed an explosion of sorts from one of the buds:

blossom day 1

 

Waited another day…

blossom day 2

And finally today…two days later…

blossom day 4

A complete flower…

…with more to come.

Definitely worth the wait!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45 thoughts on “Cactus Flowers in Waiting

  1. I love these! You have so beautifully told the story and photographed the bud turning into a flower. The plant waiting and keeping us waiting. Great take on the challenge.

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  2. WOWZA! As an inexpert plant mom, I rejoice with you for this holiday miracle!! It’s beautiful! I’m discovering that there are plants who/which will do well…and those that just won’t! I’m never buying another bromeliad–good grief, expensive and apparently they don’t like me. The anthuriums, though not blooming, are at least maintaining green–for which I’m grateful. I had to chuckle about your note on “dusting”–I’m not good at dusting…furniture or plants. The air plant is a boon–only needs to soak in water for 24 hrs every 2 weeks–not sure it’s “growing”, but it hasn’t gone brown, so I’ll take it as it is…it came in a little plaster seashell (glued), and hangs in my eastern kitchen window. So I have a total of 10 ‘kids’ who are at least still alive–sufficient brood for my ability to nurture 🙂 Blessings on your week, and plants!! ❤

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    1. Thank you! It does feel like a miracle every time it blooms – which is rarely. But at least it is happening! Dust builds up on the greenery and it is also rare that it gets removed. Oh well! I like the air plant idea. Really low maintenance – my kind of plant 🙂

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      1. Yes, if you don’t have an air plant–which I’ve read is actually a member of the bromeliad family–put it on your Christmas list, maybe that adorable grandson would enjoy giving it to you!! I’m pondering a poinsettia…will have to read up on it. If it’s not too fussy, and stays green when the blossom leafs fall–I might like one this year…makes me think of my grandmother ❤

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  3. Here in Texas, we are surrounded by Cactus of many different varieties. My outdoor cactus bloom in the spring and summer, but a few days ago, one large one sprouted a flower after a 23-degree night. Strange plants, but fun to grow them.

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  4. YAY – they are gorgeous flowers. Great photos!! They can be fickle plants and we are supposed to let them go dormant each year. Or at least that’s what my mom always did with ours. I didn’t (other than neglect it) and it bloomed every year until it finally just outgrew the pot and the soil and it was too big to transplant so it passed on to plant heaven. Congrats yours has survived!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, the blooms are gorgeous when they grace us with their appearance. I had read somewhere once to put it in a dark closet every night. Something about alternating light and dark. I didn’t because it sounded ridiculous. And just not very nice.

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  5. I have a New Year’s story of rebirth too: the Poinsettia I thought was dying has sprouted 3 tiny green leaves; and the Peace Lily I was resigned to believe would never bloom again, has one slender white blossom about to unfurl. “Signs and Wonders” that lifted my spirits to view a new decade with hope 🙂

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    1. Those are all good signs for the new year! Congratulations to you. New growth = rebirth…I agree. My cactus is now hibernating…or something…no flowers now. I figure it is taking a well deserved rest! Thanks for your comment!

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      1. Resting is okay…for plants and people 🙂 (I wanted you to know I’m still the one who Follows you from whatever new blog I perch on 🙂 )

        Plants can be so strange–I have a non-flowering one whose philosophy seems to be that it can only have 3 leaves at a time. It’s just weird! Maybe the pot’s too big…no clue 🙂

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