I couldn’t resist showing off my Christmas Cactus while it is in full bloom. If you have ever watched the Simpsons you will probably see why the plant was given the name Sideshow Bob. I took this photo and measured Sideshow right before making this post. The plant measures close to 40 inches across and is reaching the 50 pound mark. It is hard to capture in a photograph just how big the plant has become but it is one hefty plant.
I bought the plant over 25 years ago at our local supermarket. It was a sad little thing with only 2 sprigs, one fading bloom and had been reduced to .99 cents. It was the last tiny Christmas cactus that didn’t go home for the holidays. So I brought it home and gave it a spot on the windowsill. Over the years the plant has suffered from too much water, not enough water, too much heat, not enough heat, dust and general neglect. Through it all Sideshow has soldiered on.
One summer I got it in my head that the plant might be happy outside in the sun. So I set it up in a nice sunny spot in the garden where it promptly got badly sunburned. I thought I had killed it. It was brought back inside to recover and there it remained for a couple more years. I like putting my houseplants outdoors in the warmer months and didn’t want Sideshow to be the exception. We have a north facing patio which only gets a bit of early morning sun and a few minutes of sun late in the evening. Since I wanted the plant outside but didn’t want a repeat of the Sunburn Incident, I decided to try putting Sideshow out on the north patio. The rain washed away years of dust that had gotten deep into the plants recesses and the plant soaked up the gentle morning sun without getting damaged.
Sideshow exploded! It started growing.. and growing.. and then it started blooming. Not the pitiful handful of blooms that it used to put on but a full, eye-popping, spectacular display with huge flowers. Sometimes you could barley see any green because the entire surface was covered in blooms.
Now Sideshow is carted outside every May, once the nighttime temperatures are warm enough and is brought back inside after the first light frost, which is usually late October early November. It always feels like Spring has officially started when Sideshow migrates out to it’s spot on the north patio. The migration ritual begins with furniture being moved to create a clear pathway, doors opened wide and the dog shooed away so my husband Chris can hoist up the plant and make a run for the door. Poor man. Chris dreads these moves because the plant is getting too heavy and the width makes it very awkward. However we will continue on with this ritual as long as we can because the effort results in the plant doing as many as three full blooms a year.
Who could resist such a beautiful reward.