I have had some questions about Christmas cacti (Schlumbergera truncata or S. × buckleyi ) recently, either about flowering or about red leaves (stems). They will soon be in the shops, covered in buds, but because they are so easy to care for this tends to be the one Christmas pot plant that survives for more than a month. There is a story about the plants that, once the buds have formed, the plants cannot be moved. There is a grain of truth in this but, if it was true then there would be little point in buying plants in bud from the shop. The tiny buds, as they first appear, will try to twist to the light if the plants are moved and they may/will drop. But once the buds have started to colour and are 1cm long there is no risk of them dropping when moved.
However, if the plants are allowed to dry out, or are sitting in cold water or are severely chilled, it may cause bud drop.
Reddening of the stems is usually caused by drought and this may be because of a lack of water or it may be because the plants are very overwatered and the roots have rotted. In the latter case it is usually possible to take cuttings or knock the plant out of its pot, repot in a smaller pot and water very carefully until the plant recovers.
Sunday Puzzler answer: October 15
How did you get on yesterday? The plants you had to identify were:
That gives you C A U N R A S G E
If you rearrange those, bearing in mind that I gave you a huge clue with ‘Cavan’, with a bit of googling you may have worked out that the missing word was ‘Sugarcane’. ‘Cavan Sugarcane’ is an oddly named apple that is supposed to have a good flavour – we will see.