Another holiday plant some have trouble with is the poorly named Christmas Cactus. For one thing, the genus schlumbergera is neither a cactus nor does it naturally bloom at Christmas. It is a succulent, which means it needs a little more water than a cactus.
Originally, these are native to Brazil, and there, they grow in humid, shady regions in the trees. They are epiphytic, like many orchids.
Plants should never dry out completely (they are not cacti); and they should be kept in a fairly shady window. Bright indirect light–just like the poinsettia likes–is great for them.
They set their buds in relation to day length and temperature so again, a darker, cooler window is better if you want them to bloom earlier, or a brighter, (but not sunny) warmer one is better if you want them to bloom later. I find that as soon as we turn the clocks back in November, mine form buds.
And, of course, because we keep our house very cool, they bloom shortly thereafter. Here is my west window this Thanksgiving weekend. If it has been a particularly cool and dreary October, I may have one or two in bloom by Halloween. But it is rare that I still have a plant in bloom at Christmas, unless I buy it that current season as I did with the one in the cream colored pot.* It’s no matter. There are enough other lovely things decorating the house at Christmas. The house plants are often over looked at that time anyway.
*Cute story about the Spoiler. I walked into his den carrying that plant just after I had put it into the cachepot. He asked what it was. I think I replied “Christmas cactus.
“Oh, no water?” he asked. You see how pervasive the myth of these things are–or perhaps it’s just the problem of its common name “cactus.”