Evergreen trees are a lovely holiday tradition, known to date back at least as far as the early Roman feast of Saturnalia, and carried forward by Celts, Vikings, eventually being adopted into Christmas celebrations in 16th century Germany. By the mid-1800s, the practice was even accepted by Christmas-celebrators in the U.S. (where Christmas trees were initially considered “too pagan” and unseemly by many).
They are not, however, eco-friendly, particularly in southern California. Those trees you find on even the best lots typically have to be trucked in from hundreds of miles away–and less scrupulous tree farmers use chemical pesticides and unsustainable growing techniques. And while you’re strongly encouraged to recycle trees after the season is over, not everyone does, so at least some of them end up in landfills.
Enter Christmas cacti. They can fit in even the smallest space, require far less of our precious water reserves, and after Christmas you can simply take off the decorations and continue to enjoy your awesome potted plant. With certain varieties, you can even make clippings that will propagate new little cacti, which you can give out as gifts next year. Super win-win.
For a gorgeous assortment, stop by the Ponderosa Holiday Cactus Lot at PLATFORM in Culver City. Open on weekends in December, it’s a sustainable twist on the traditional Christmas tree lot experience. Along with succulent specimens, the lot will also feature furniture from Venice-based Bend Goods, hot drinks from Art of Tea, and seasonal sweets from Milk Bar’s food truck.
Daniella Carrasco and Andanette Valderrama opened Ponderosa Cactus in Highland Park, following in the footsteps of their family’s cactus business in Arizona. The shop stocks a beautiful assortment of plants, many displayed in desert-chic ceramics, and Ponderosa’s founders have been brought in to lend their plant design talents to stylish restaurants and shops around L.A.
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