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ThanksGiving Cactus Red-Orange Flower

The second to last of my Thanksgiving cactus flowers. The buds on this plant were a nice orange color but when they unfurled they looked more of red-orange maybe it is the addition of the white throat that changes the color temperature? This year I've realized that were these holiday cacti are concerned you can't judge the final bloom color by the color of the bud. My fuschia colored buds were more of an Asian red color and my white buds had a pink hue to them.

I have a confession.

There are two indoor plants in the world that I can say I hate. The poinsettia and these Christmas-Thanksgiving-Easter cacti. So why do I own these plants? Because Walgreens was selling them last year and I couldn't stand the sight of these plants tucked on a shelf next to the Snickers bars. The first time I noticed them the plants had buds that were swelling with the promise of blooming for the holidays.

Thanksgiving Cactus Red Orange FlowerAfter of few days of living on a shelf next to the Snickers bars the buds either dropped or shriveled up. I knew what their fate would be if they were allowed to remain in the store so I bought them and brought them home. I tossed them on a shelf in a window and left them to their own devices, it had been years since one of these plants last saw the inside of my home.

Watching the blooms unfurl and spread out in their unique and dramatic fashion I've started to feel something for them. It isn't love or anything serious like that but maybe the beginnings of a deep respect. Seeing all of my plant rescues reward me with wonderful flowers I'm beginning to understand why the ladies of the houseplant forum on GardenWeb flip over them. I've got the strangest urge to visit Wal-Mart in the hopes of finding a yellow flowering Schlumbergera. In the entry for oriental lily seed pods I was struck by how those pods reminded me of a building here in Chicago. The flowers of this Thanksgiving cactus when viewed in profile remind me of the Pritzker Pavillion's profile. But having seen both of them in person I can tell you that Frank Gehry's work has got nothing on this flower.

Today I stopped into Walgreens and noticed a display of "minature" poinsettias. Not those tacky colored ones with the glitter that make them look like "temporary companions" but the traditional red colored variety. At first my stomach churned at the sight of them but then I noticed that the little buggers were 4-5 inch tall and blooming their little heads off. Don't be surprised if you come here a year from now and see a photo of a poinsettia on these pages. I'm a sucker for two things; plants in distress and miniature looking plants. In a few days Walgreens will have both by the shopping cart load.


  1. It's hard when the plant is cheap and you're tempted to save it, even if you're not fond of it in the slightest.

    Yellow was hard to find. I had to buy my yellow one through ebay. After reading posts online, people say the yellow doesn't last long. That in a few years time, it'll revert back to some other color or some such. Still didn't stop me from buying it.

  2. I understand wanting to 'save' a plant that you can see is doomed. But, really, have you seen those horrible purple and glitter- sprayed poinsettias at Wal-mart? What on earth possessed someone to do that to a defenseless plant? ugh.

  3. Hey DS,

    I know what you mean. I had to stop myself from buying more C&S from Walgreens just to spare them from death.

    I hadn't heard of that of the yellow one before. Hmmm makes me not want it so bad now.


    I have seen those very plants. I don't know why people do crazy things like that to plants or why people buy them.

    "Ugh" is right.

  4. I'll admit to hating Thanksgiving cactus as well. The only thing preventing me from rescuing any forlorn specimens is that they undoubtedly face a worse fate if I bring them home. I suck at houseplants. I've killed pothos, peace lily, aloe, and sansieveria---all plants that I've seen described as "almost impossible to kill." It is an act of mercy on my part to leave plants in the store to fend for themselves ;-)

  5. My story's similar, in that I got some cuttings from a trade just so I could see what all the fuss was about. I think I like them: if nothing else, I'm always impressed by plants that propagate easily, and my cuttings, which I got in July, had buds by November, so that's pretty easy.

  6. Giggle. Before you can love something, you do have to respect it...and since you've developed the beginnings of a deep respect....;-)

    I'm with you on the glittered and painted poinsettias. But the miniature ones ARE charming...that's why there are four of them in my house already....they're cute, easy to care for and move around, and come in a wealth of colours and patterns. (but not blue, purple, or glittered. Ick. I already had my tantrum about those, though.

  7. Anonymous3:09 PM

    What beautiful petals. i love the different colours.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  8. That red-orange flower looks pretty good to me, Mr Brown Thumb - if you were less than 1200 miles away I might try to swap one of my pink T-cactus for it.

    I saw some of the glittered Poinsettias and they were pretty scary.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  9. "Just shows to go ya'" that you don't have to love something to know a lot about it! :-)

    I've never cared for/about either plant myself, until I brought one or two home... the cacti are pretty hardy (a huge positive!)and when they flower I feel as though I'VE done something. Ha. The poinsettia (well, I've only bought one a year for two years) are festive and their purchase is a fairly inexpensive way to decorate! ;-)

  10. @ Collen
    LOL. I suppose if you're that bad you should leave them to the rest of us.

    @ Mr.Subjunctive

    Yeah if they're easily to propagate they find a space if only for a little while. I have a piece (one and a half segmets) that broke off and is still trying to flower. Gotta admire that kind of power.


    If you weren't out a writer out of my price range I'd outsource the writing of my blog to you. "Charming" is the perfect word for those little plants.

    @ Sarah

    Sorry you comment isn't a link to your blog. I've been complaining to blogger about bloggers like you having trouble being able to comment. I hope they fix it so you all can go back to participating on blogger blogs.


    They're pretty tacky and kinda like a pile up on the freeway. When I see them in the stores I can't help but wander down the isle and look at them.

    I'll reserve "scary" for the Drag Queen I once saw pull a 12 inch screw driver from her nether regions and get into a fight on the bus. Now that was scary.

    You're onto something. There's something about the easy of either growing these plants or being able to "dispose" of them after the holiday season that has helped them be so popular.

  11. Hi Mr. BT...funny I should run into your post about your T-Cactus...I just posted pics of mine...which are quite lovely, I might add...I think they are much more interesting than orchids (sorry to all orchid lovers everywhere)!!!



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