I am thankful for my Christmas cactus.
Several months ago, my father-in-law gave me a large Christmas cactus he no longer wanted. I was happy to get it because it was a houseplant that wasn't harmful to my cats. We enjoyed its vigorous blooms before Christmas, but recently is when I've been the most happy to have it.
You see, as part of the staging to sell our old house and as part of setting up our new home, we got two new rugs. They both made the rooms they were in more comfortable and attractive, but they smelled. Meaning they gave off volatiles that had that chemical, new carpet smell.
We hadn't had a new rug in years, so I didn't even think about this problem when I bought them. We got the first rug and put it down in the master bedroom as part of our staging. Each time we would enter the house, the chemical smell hit me. My mind would go into worry mode as I imagined that no one would buy a house that smelled like this. Ward, who was not as sensitive to the fumes, said that it was better to have the house smell like we just painted it (that's how it smelled to him) than to have it smell like a house that had cats living in it. After the cats moved out, we had been pretty successful in eliminating any trace of them.
|The first offending rug.|
However, we had to do something. To get rid of the smell, we kept the windows open even though it was freezing outside. We vacuumed. We used air filters. Only slight improvements. I researched and found that some houseplants were supposed to absorb the offending chemicals. They were mostly tropical plants that disappointingly were poisonous to cats. So instead, I moved my cactus into the room. There was an improvement after adding it and luckily, by the time we were ready to put the house on the market, the smell was much better.
We thought all was well until we moved the offending rug to the new house. There when it was shut up in a little used bedroom, I started to smell it again. Not as strong as before, but there all the same. We opened the windows for a few days and that helped some. However it was getting pretty cold, so I shut the windows and moved the cactus into the room. The next day there was a definite improvement. There was not doubt about it. That plant really made a difference.
|The other offending rug.|
That's where the plant stayed until we got a new rug for our family room. I tried to do smarter shopping this time, and while the odors from this rug were much milder, they were there all the same. The cactus moved into the family room and is currently doing it's thing. I don't even notice the smell anymore. The cats come by every once in a while and nibble on the cactus, but no harm is done to either the plant or the cats.
So for this Christmas cactus and it's magical odor-elimination-powers, I am thankful.