Christmas cactus (or Thanksgiving or Easter cactus) are favorite houseplants and have been for a very long time. I remember my grandmother growing a red one like the one in the photo. While living in Colorado I had a gorgeous white specimen that my sister had given me. Unfortunately, the stems had turned woody with age and were breaking. Having to make another long distance move, I gave it away. Now I have one of the newer yellow varieties, the red one pictured, a miniature pink and another variety of red that might be a hybrid Epiphyllum.

To bring them into bloom in warmer climates than I live in now, I used to stop watering them in late August and begin again in November. Now I just delay bringing them in from their outdoor vacation until the weather is consistently under 55 degrees Fahrenheit, bringing them in overnight when frost is predicted. Usually they already have buds showing when I finally bring them in. So that’s how you bring them to bloom: cool temperatures, less water, and long, dark nights.

Zygocastus are tropical plants from Central and South America, living like orchids in the organic debris caught in pockets formed by tree branches. Like orchids, they need fast draining soil, no sitting in water and a soil rich in humus. When not withholding water to force bloom or resting the plant after bloom, the soil should be kept moist (not soaking).

I still want to replace that white specimen.