Crestview woman's Christmas cactus covered in 200-plus blooms

Betty Woodward

Left: Betty Woodward stands at her Crestview home's entrance, where "Mama," her Christmas cactus, welcomes visitors. Right: Mama, a Christmas cactus with more than 200 flowers, is almost in full bloom.

Published: Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 11:42 AM.

CRESTVIEW — Mama's in bloom just in time for Christmas, and that warms Betty Woodward's heart.

The pink Christmas cactus was her late mother's only potted plant and, when it blooms, Woodward thinks fond thoughts of her mom, Verna Louise Gillis Williams.

"It always sat on her side porch," Woodward said. "She'd always be waiting by the porch when we'd come visit, leaning against a pillar."

Woodward said other family members took cuttings from the cactus before she brought it home to Crestview from her mother's house near Red Level, Ala.

She named the plant "Mama" in memory of her mother.

When a cutting is inadvertently knocked off the plant, Woodward promptly puts it in water to root, and gives away the new plant. Mama's offspring are scattered far and wide, she said.

"I've taken care of Mama for 32 years," Woodward said. "She's a centerpiece when you walk in my door. She welcomes everyone when they visit."

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