Monday, May 14, 2007

Check out what I've been doing!

Ok, first things first, I've been playing with a green thumb. Mom already knows that I have some Christmas Cacti, and she has seen some pictures of my successes with them, but here it is for everyone, now, and Mom, you can just back down, now, and quit barking at me about posting here! LOL

This first picture is of the plant that Pam has had for years. Since before I met her, it has been a sad droopy little plant, and for the last 10 years it's continued to be a sad droopy little plant. Most of this has been my fault - I have been operating under the assumption that it is a true cactus, and have been only watering it about once a month, if that often. I can't believe that I didn't know any better, seeing as how Mom almost always had at least one or two Christmas Cactus plants around, but the pathetic truth is that I was wrong, and I can't believe how long this poor plant hung in there, waiting for me to come around and grow a brain. At any rate, this past winter, while browsing my Spring Hill Nursery catalog, I decided to take a more active interest in this poor plant. I can't show you how it looked before, because I don't have any pictures of it, but trust me, it drooped and sagged like an ancient little old lady. Here's how it looks now - and there is more text and pictures after, so keep scrolling down...

I told Pam that I didn't think this plant had had that many blossoms on it at one time in the whole ten and a half years I have known her and her plant. She looked at it again and decided I was right. They don't all show, but there are 17 blossoms on this one right now, and this is only this half of the plant. The other half bloomed out about 3 weeks ago, with not quite as many blossoms, but close - I think it was 12 or 13. I am thinking that I might very well seperate these two halves into two pots and see what happens, as these are clearly well established. I'm keeping a close eye on it to see if it starts to show any other signs of being too root bound.

Next, there is the plant that Pam's Father sent home with me about 2 months ago. He told me he was going to donate all of his house plants to the Church Bazaar, and I asked him to let ME have the two Christmas Cacti, instead. He readily agreed, and I am so excited - check this out!

The first one I took home with me that night. It is another one just like the one Pam had, and, while it wasn't as droopy, still, it was getting there. Pam's Dad is getting older, and just doesn't have what it takes to keep up with his plants like he used to, and these were both showing it. I don't mean any offense, just offering it as explanation. I brought it into the house and gave it a home right next to the Pam's, and started treating it the same way. Will get into what I have done for it later in this post. This is the second Christmas Cactus in my house, being the one on the right, not hanging. Haven't gotten a hanger for it yet.

As you can see, there is one blossom on this second plant. I haven't figured this one out yet, unless it was just slow - the whole rest of the plant was covered in them about the same time the hanging one was, about 3 weeks ago or so. I took a picture of those blossoms and sent it to Mom, showing that each blossom was as long as my hand. I have never seen them that long or big before. Mom, if you will send that one back to me, I will include it here, or you can if you want. Will insert here, whoever does it.

This next picture I took to show the incredible growth going on on this second plant. Like I said, I will tell you about what I am treating these plants with later on. Take a look at all the little red leaves pushing out. These will, if the past 2 months or so are any indication, be full grown and green in about 2 weeks or a little less. This was the best I could get a picture to turn out, and it doesn't show nearly all of the new leaves!

On to the second of the two that Pam's Dad gave me. I didn't have room for both of them that night, so he brought the next one down to me about a week later when he came to visit. It was in SUCH rough shape that I was afraid it was all the way dead. Turns out I was wrong again, thankfully! I ended up taking this plant apart into 6 seperate pots, and am doing everything I can to con them all into growing. I know for a fact that 2 of them are taking root and growing very well, and am doting on the rest as though they were as precious as my little grand daughter, who most of you have seen pictures of, and I will post some of her another time. My point is that I have been checking these 6 plants at least 6 or 8 times a day, though if you ask Pam it's more like 20...

Here are a couple of pictures to show the 2 that I know are growing well. They were little snips off the bigger main plant, which I found out had dead roots. I am particularly excited about these little guys, as they are from a plant that had red blossoms instead of the traditional pink!!

Two little leaves pushing up from the first joint on the right. I noticed them about 3 days ago, and have been dancing a little jig every time I think about them - they are growing just as fast as the ones on the 2 big plants have been!

One big leaf pusing up out of this one, and it's been growing there for about 2 days longer than the other small guy. These are looking to be starting well!

Ok, Ok, what AM I feeding them? Hang on to your hats, folks - this is not one that you will hear about from Miracle Gro®! I've been feeding them my day old coffee! Brew a little extra, then the next day add water to thin it WAAAAY down (if you don't, it'll burn your plants!), and water your house plants with it! I can't even begin to tell you what a difference it's been making! You see a little bit of it in these pictures, but the pictures don't do them justice, they just don't!

Now, I know you are all saying, "But we don't drink coffee!" Well, I came up with a solution. Folger's® makes little tea bag like single cup coffee servings. If you were to brew ONE bag according to the directions, then add about 12 cups of COLD water, it would do the same thing. You want to be able to see through the brew when you use it on your plants. I don't drink my coffee that thin, which is why I water it down, but if you can see through it fairly well, it won't burn your plants. Make sure you keep the soil for your Christmas Cactus (or Cacti, if you have more than one, lol!) moist all the time, don't let it dry out at all. I have been having amazing results, here, so let's hear it for COFFEE!! lol


PS ~ Love you Mom! *grin*