Dunnville Horticulture Society

What type of Cactus do you have?

Which cactus did you buy before Christmas? Do you have a Christmas cactus or a Thanksgiving cactus? I’m sure it’s not an Easter cactus, as they are the same genus but a different species. How do you tell the difference?

While all usually bloom in cooler seasons, they are not the same cactus.

Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti are in the Schlumbergera genus. They are both short day cacti and need long periods of cool temperatures and dim conditions before they set buds. Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus are in separate species designations and have a different leaf structure.

The Thanksgiving cactus has clawed edges on the leaf and is often called crab cactus. The Christmas cactus has notched edges, but they are not as pointed. They both have tubular, brightly coloured flowers. The Christmas cactus’ flowers are drooping with purple-brown anthers and the Thanksgiving cactus flowers grow horizontal to the stem with yellow anthers.

The Easter cactus has a smooth leaf edge with no notches and the flower is a flat star shape. The Easter cactus needs a longer period of cool temperatures and low light period to form flowers.

All three plants come in a variety of colours, mostly red to fuchsia, and you may find white, orange and yellow, too. No matter what type you have, they are all delightful and will brighten your day.

The Dunnville Horticultural Society has resumed in-person meetings at the Dunnville Optimist Hall. Our next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2022.

If you have questions or comments, please contact group president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Tips from local gardeners: Honey as a Rooting Hormone

We’ve been using a commercial rooting hormone for years, and then it crossed my screen recently to use unpasturized honey as a rooting hormone. 

Honey does, after all, have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. I’ve also learned that it protects the cuttings from pathogens and allows the natural rooting hormones in the cutting to stimulate root growth. 

But is it as good as the synthetic one we normally use? Well, a study by the University of Hawaii found that although honey does demonstrate an ability to root plant cuttings, it wasn’t as effective. 

You could also say it’s better than nothing though.

Adding a pinch of cinnamon to the honey creates added benefits, as cinnamon has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help to protect the cutting. It also allows the natural rooting hormones that are found in the green growth of the cuttings to produce roots. 

Honey can be used for just about any type of cuttings, including soft-wood, green-wood, and hard-wood cuttings such as rose, camellia, hydrangea, and geranium. Even succulent cuttings can benefit from honey.

As with any rooting hormone, the first step is to prepare your cuttings. Depending on the plant, the cuttings should be between 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in length and cut on a 45-degree angle. 

Once you have your cuttings ready, dip each cutting into the honey and make a hole in the potting mix for each cutting. 

Keep the potting media moist and you can expect roots to form in approximately 7-14 days.

Succulents can be dipped in honey and placed on top of the potting soil. In a few weeks’ time, roots will start growing from the lower part of the leaves.

Honey can also be used for water propagation. Just dip the cutting in the honey and  place it straight into the water.  Once the root gets to about an inch (2.5 cm) in length it can be potted up.

So, I’ll make the switch as I have many plants to propagate over the winter to prepare for Dunnville Horticultural Society’s plant sale in May.

Susan and Brad Emery are members of the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS). DHS has resumed its in-person meetings! Their next meeting will be on January 20, 2022 (7 p.m.) at the Optimist Hall. They will have a special speaker, refreshments, and 2022 memberships will be on sale. Keep up 

with DHS at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org 

or on their Facebook page. You can also contact President Deb Zynomirski for more information at debzyn@gmail.com. Think green thoughts!