Changing A Thanksgiving Cactus Into A Christmas

June 21, 2014 – 03:35 pm

This is my ten-year old Christmas cactus. I really should say Thanksgiving cactus because for most of its years with me it has bloomed on Thanksgiving and never on Christmas. This is my own fault and one I am trying to rectify this year. It’s all in the chilling. More on that in a second.

My Christmas cactus is from the genus Schlumbergera. Schlumbergera is a genus of cactus from the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity. one to the other and flowers which appear from areoles at the joints and tips of the stems. This genus contains the popular house plants known by a variety of names including Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus.

Over the last several years, I have put my Christmas Cactus in a shady area in my back yard usually in the beginning of June time frame. Frequent watering and feeding is about all I do to the plant. In ten years, I have re-potted it into a bigger planter only once. Cactus because it needs little care for the most part. Here is the plant at its regular summer home in my back yard.

In the first weeks of November, when the weather gets much cooler and frost is possible, I have brought the Christmas Cactus indoors and placed it on my kitchen table. This transition from cool to warmer temperatures has always triggered the plant to begin to grow flowers that then bloom around the Thanksgiving holiday. ms at Thanksgiving do we call it a Christmas Cactus? That’s when I made a chilling decision.

The decision was to keep my Christmas Cactus outside until the beginning of December–one month later than usual. I’m thinking that the plant’s transition from cool to warmer temperatures is the blooming trigger, so if I delay that transition for one month then I can truly have a “Christmas” Cactus. So that’s what I did and my plant came indoors on Saturday. As a precaution, I did cover the plant up on extremely cold nights or nights when a heavy frost was predicted. Here is my plant when under the covers.

While the plant looks healthy and nothing appears to have perished due to the extra month of cold weather conditions, I think that the next few days of the plant being in the house will determine its fate. It will either make it and begin to bloom in the next few weeks or it could also shrivel up and leave us because of the additional cold it has endured over the last month. Keep your fingers crossed with me–let’s hope it transitions without a hitch.


Hirt's Hirt's Yellow Christmas Cactus Plant - Zygocactus - 4" Decorative Pot Cover
Lawn & Patio (Hirt's)
  • Homegrown by Hirt s Gardens
  • With proper care will bloom between Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Prefers some sun, water when dry
  • Makes a great gift. Easy to grow house plant
  • The plant you will receive is growing in a 4 inch pot with decorative pot cover. The color of the pot cover may vary.

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Christmas cactus help

I have had Christmas cactus' for over 20 years now. Every May I pinch each stem back. Every one that gets pinched back will form a bloom. I fertilize with a weak solution of miracle grow each week when I water. However, as soon as the blossoms start to form, I water very little or else the blossoms will fall off. Mine bloom for me at Thanksgiving, again at Christmas, and then at easter. These blossom better if they are in a cooler room setting. It sets the blossoms. Last summer we had a few cooler nights and I had my plants outdoors for the summer, well it set the blossoms on them and they bloomed in August! I usually put my plants outdoors on the cooler fall nights just to set the blossoms before bringing them in for the winter

Thanksgiving bloomer.

My christmas cactus is about 8 yrs old and has always bloomed on Thanksgiving.My mom's plant (from which mine came from ) blooms at Christmas. She lives near me.
It always has tons of blooms ...I guess my ignoring it because of being busy has paid off because honestly it often looks dead before I get off my butt to water it.

How about poinsetta plants with gold bows

or gold and ruby bows
I know this picture does not show a pretty bow, but I love poinsetta plants AND right after Thanksgiving Costco and Sams Clubs sell HUGE Plants for almost nothing!
And you can give the plants away to special guests after the reception.
Also some Christmas cactus flowers are almost ruby colored

Who knows? Maybe for some bizarre reason

They didn't like the mention of Christmas Cactus. Maybe they feel that plants should be lay-only? (There's a word for that but I can't remember it.)
I had a couple of Christmas Cacti in my office. I brought them home, where they became Halloween Cacti. I put them outside this last spring and they became Thanksgiving Cacti who now look as if they may extend their run through Christmas.

I have an . . .

Easter, Thanksgiving, and a Christmas Cactus and never prune them back. They seem to prune themselves, dropping selected bracks, and new rich, full new growth begins. They only reason to prune them back is if the plants gets bigger than you want it to get. Then those cuttings can be easily rooted to make new plants. If the plant gets "leggy," it's usually because it's not getting enough light/dappled sun. Mine grow year round outdoors, hanging from an olive tree, and bloom profusely every year.

Hirt's Hirt's Orange Christmas Cactus Plant - Zygocactus - 4" pot
Lawn & Patio (Hirt's)
  • Easy to grow house plant
  • With proper care will bloom between Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Prefers some sun
  • Water when dry
  • The plant you will receive is growing in a 4 pot, with multiple plants in the pot

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  1. Yellow Thanksgiving Cactus
  2. Transplanting Thanksgiving cactus
  3. White Thanksgiving Cactus