Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Cactus or Poinsettia?

Photo: theseedhouse via Etsy
I won't lie. I stopped buying Christmas flowers a few years ago. I've killed too many potted poinsettias to hope they will last after Christmas. Are they meant to live? Because, they don't! The light, temperature and moisture are likely all wrong in a Manhattan apartment for them to thrive. Still their bright red blossoms are beautiful, indeed!

Some sources claim that a Christmas cactus is hardy compared to the more delicate poinsettia. Certainly, they are lovely too. Just like poinsettias, they have the same contrast of vivid green and red Christmas colors. Here is how to care for the latter in case you're looking for holiday plants.

What's more if you lack a green thumb, there's no shame in settling on an artificial plant. Perhaps they can't fully replace real flowers, yet some arrangements can fool you, short of a close inspection. For me, buying a couple of sprigs from Michael's, a NYC art and craft's store, turns the trick, and after the season I store them away with the rest of my Christmas decorations.

What I love about decorating for Christmas is, there are many ways to deck the halls. Everybody has their own tradition. Do you buy potted plants? Christmas cactus, or poinsettia?? 
Photo: 1-800-flowers

You may also enjoy:
The Pendleman Collection
Should You Give Money As A Gift?
10 Affordable Christmas Gift Ideas
Gift Food Baskets For The Holidays


  1. Dearest Debbie,
    That Christmas cactus did not look at all like an artificial one.
    Years ago, in the 80s we had lots of Christmas cactus and I loved them.
    Lost all and I've not found myself tempted to start with that many houseplants again...
    Poinsettias can be lovely but you have to have lots of space and they always wilt away in a couple of weeks time...
    So here at our home it is neither one of them.
    Sending you hugs and wishing you a happy 2nd Advent!

    1. When I 1st moved into my apartmant I had flower plotted plants, but nowadays just 2 pathos -- which can tolerate quite a bit of neglect and also remove toxins in the air to release oxygen. I have an odd neighbor who smokes at 3 am and/or 5 am - just terrible, so I hope the plants do a little good. One day it will not be a surprise if she fells asleep with one of her many cigarettes burning in her hand.

  2. Although I love Christmas cactus (a/k/a Poinsettias), I have avoided them for two reason -- first, I do not have a green thumb and second, they are poisonous to cats. They are beautiful, though.

    Mme Mère had the most amazing green thumb. She could make anything grow inside and outside. Her little room at St Mary's Nursing Home during the last years of her life was filled w/plants that thrived under her touch. They gave her great pleasure.

    Advent calendar number 2 to be lit this Sunday at church. I always look forward to that.

    Cheers, M-T

    1. I can appreciate seeing Mme Mère's lovely room. Although I don't have her green thumb either, I understand how therapeutic attending to potted plants is by the little bit I do with easy-to-care for ones like basil and pathos. With pathos, if you forget to water them, they stay green and alive. My parents had the same pathos potted plants for years, so after I tried my hand at potted flowers, I brought in two pathos for clean the air and a little nature. They live on.

  3. I love poinsettias at Christmas, Debbie. Sometimes I receive one as a gift and plant it in the garden. Hoping for another this year as I have just the right spot. They must be tropical, because they are easy to grow here. On the other hand, a perfect live Christmas tree is all too difficult for us, and we resort to rather expensive artificial trees.

    1. Trish, l love sharing some of the differences between our Southern and Northern hemispheres. What we take for granted cannot always be taken for granted.

      I read somewhere that the tradition of having poinsettias at Christmas came from Mexico, so indeed, they must thrive in milder climates as you noted. I could adopt to and enjoy a summer Christmas very easily.

      I hope you get your poinsettia for your garden! Here churches and businesses all bring them in, so I won't be deprived of seeing them all around this December.