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It’s beginning to look a lot like cactus

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Outdoor plants fall victim to the autumnal cold, but it’s nearly blooming season for holiday cacti.

As winter weather fades the greenery outside, homes can facilitate a perfect environment for holiday cacti. These plants are low maintenance and can stay in the same pot for many years. Some family members even pass them down as an heirloom. On this Horticulture Day, Aaron Steil and Cindy Haynes join Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to share tips for ensuring the plants bloom. The cacti require uninterrupted hours of darkness, so placing them in a cupboard or a box at night will set them up for success.

The experts answer listener questions about how to prevent Christmas cacti from dropping flowers, when to stake a growing tree, and the difference between a Christmas cactus and a Thanksgiving cactus.


  • Aaron Steil, ISU Extension consumer horticulture specialist
  • Cindy Haynes, professor of horticulture at Iowa State University
Talk of Iowa Hort DayHorticultureHolidays
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Natalie Dunlap is a rising junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and minoring in gender, women's & sexuality studies. She is from Iowa City and in her free time enjoys getting coffee and reading downtown with friends.
Aaron Steil is a Consumer Horticulture Specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. Aaron contributes his expertise to the Garden Variety podcast and newsletter and to Talk of Iowa's Horticulture Day program.