RE: the Christmas Cactus. When I returned home from vacation this week, I went through all the saved newspapers. (I love to read the paper and cut out any articles that might give me an idea for a story later) ... anyway, I found an article on the Christmas Cactus in the Garden section.

Here are some fun facts:
1. it's native to the South American rain forest
2. Even though it's a cactus it has no thorns
3. Once it receives 12 - 16 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day, buds form
4. Their flower colors range from lavender, fuchsia, orange, red, and white

Now, here are some gardening facts:
1. keep them in bright cool location
2. keep the soil moist, but not soggy
3. don't fertilize until growth begins in the Spring
4. You can start new cactuses by taking stem sections of two or three segments and sticking them in porous, moist potting soil or sand. They root quickly.

How to get your Cactus to bloom?
1. Once temperatures stay above freezing, move your cactus outside for Spring and Summer. Keep it in an area that is shaded, expecially in the afternoon. Feed with a dilute water soluble fertilizer every other time you water.
2. About the first of October place it in an area where it will receive no light for about 12 hours each afternoon and night.
3. Buds should start to develop around the first of November and begin opening between Thanksgiving and Christmas

I hope that bit of info helps for getting your cactuses to bloom this coming Holiday season!