Temperature, especially night temperature, moderates and, in some cases, can reverse the effects of day length as anyone knows who has tried to flower a Christmas cactus
that has been grown at a night temperature of 60 degrees or higher.
A: There are two common causes of Christmas cactus
losing its buds - overwatering, or fluctuating temperatures, perhaps caused by moving the plant to a place where it catches draughts when a door is open or leaving the pot behind a curtain on the windowsill overnight.
My Merriam-Webster Collegiate dictionary has been replaced by a Christmas cactus
and wind-up clock.
Cyclamen, Kalanchoe and Christmas cactus
are other great flowering plant options.
But while poinsettias are probably just a festive treat, a Christmas cactus
will last for years and thrive on neglect - so it's well worth considering as an alternative.
More common plants that can be poisonous and sometimes fatal include lilies, poinsettias, Christmas cactus
, mistletoe, ivy, holly and berries.
Among the easiest of festive plants is the Christmas cactus
(Schlumbergera truncata), with its spreading foliage and successive, pendulous flowers.
BEST OF THE BUNCH Christmas cactus
They provide a burst of vivid colour to windowsills during the worst of the winter.
If you want your Christmas cactus
to bloom over the festive season, pot it up a size now and start to moisten the soil.
Finally, if you have still got any time and energy left, those tender perennials that you put outside in June may well be needing some indoor protection now that the nights have cooled off - exotic palms, citrus trees, Christmas cactus
and many more besides do not like our cooler northern climate at this time of year.
QI have had a Christmas cactus
for more than 20 years but it needs repotted and cut back.
This is among the easiest of plants, producing masses of sizzling-coloured flowers in red or pink shades at the end of its droopy, succulent leaves.
Do the same for cyclamen and Christmas cactus
but keep them in a cool room (maximum 16C).
My Christmas Cactus
didn't flower this year and my Venus Flytrap is looking less than frightening.
I want to say to her: Did the thief also take that Christmas cactus
, that botanical bully that sits on our deck like a hippo in a wading pool, like something you might see in Jurassic Park?