A 55-year Old Christmas Cactus Perks Up With Basalt

Christmas Cactus

We received a testimonial from a grateful customer that made us curious about a plant that many of us know as the Christmas Cactus (also known as the Thanksgiving Cactus or the Holiday Cactus).

“At one of the trade shows in Portland, Oregon I purchased a small packet of Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster to try on my cactus plants. For years there was no leaf luster to the cactus no matter what I used or repotted them into. All of the plants received a sample of the sample packet. The Christmas cactus which is 55 years old (yes, 1957, which means it was a broken-off start of an original plant back then) has gotten back its leaf shine…even the old bark has a luster! Thank you, your natural product works.” – From Susan, a Cascade Minerals customer

It makes sense that volcanic basalt gave Susan’s Christmas Cactus a much-needed boost. That’s because the Christmas Cactus belongs to the genus Schlumbergera, a species of cactus from the coastal mountains of SE Brazil that grows on trees or rocks.

In fact, most of the world’s cacti are rock dwellers. Instead of feeding on rich, organic soil, they live off the mineral compounds that are found naturally in the rocks that they grow on. Grown as houseplants, cacti have to rely on us to provide them with the minerals they need—including calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron (found in Cascade Minerals).

Here are a few other interesting Wikipedia facts about the Christmas Cactus:

  • In Brazil it is known as the May flower, reflecting the reversal of seasons
  • The Schlumbergera flowers in white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple
  • It does best when planted in a relatively small pot
  • They are very light-sensitive—too much light causes stems to take on a reddish color, too little light will prevent flowering
  • To propagate, use short pieces of stem (1-3 segments long), twisted off rather than cut. Let cuttings dry for 1-7 days until they form a callous at the broken end. Then root in a growing medium.

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