Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus and Easter Cactus

February 1, 2014 – 01:44 pm

I have a “Christmas cactus” that always blooms at Thanksgiving. Is there a way to make it bloom a few weeks later?
Answer: A Christmas cactus is one of three popular holiday cacti: Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can probably guess by their names when these festive plants usually bloom; Thanksgiving cacti typically start in late fall and Christmas cacti around a month later. An Easter cactus starts producing flower buds in February.

If you have a Christmas cactus that always blooms around Thanksgiving, it is probably because of one of the following reasons: it is actually a Thanksgiving cactus or it blooms early due to growing conditions.

Thanksgiving cacti are often sold as “Christmas cacti” and these two holiday plants look very similar. Both fall under the genus Schlumbergera, have the same color scheme and require the same care. There are two main differences between a Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus: the flowering season, which we have already discussed, and the segments of the leaves. To help determine whether your cactus is a Christmas or Thanksgiving variety, will depend on the edges of the leaf segments. Christmas cacti have smooth, round edges while Thanksgiving cacti have pointy, jagged ones. A Thanksgiving cactus is shown at the top of this article; a Christmas cactus is shown at right. Note the difference in the leaves.

If your holiday cactus still sounds like it belongs to the merry Christmas groupings, than it probably flowers early in the season due to the growing conditions. Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti need cool temperatures (roughly 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit) to begin the production of flowers, so your cactus is most likely exposed to this change in weather early. You can help instigate when your plant will bloom by keeping track of the temperature outside. When it is below 50 degrees, you can place the container by a drafty window or when it hits the ideal 55 to 60 degree range, place the container outdoors. These cacti are most successful with longer periods of uninterrupted darkness, around 13 to 16 hours, and shortened days.

My biggest piece of advice for you if you want a Christmas cactus to bloom later in the season, is to make sure it actually is a Christmas cactus and not a Thanksgiving one. When purchasing a new cactus go by the botanical name instead of the common one. A Christmas cactus is Schlumbergera x buckleyi and a Thanksgiving cactus is Schlumbergera truncata. As for now, manipulate your cactus’s exposure to light and temperature conditions to try to achieve the perfect blooming season for your needs.


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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 White Christmas Cactus Plant - Zygocactus - 4" pot
Lawn & Patio (Hirt's)
  • Homegrown by Hirt s Gardens
  • Easy to grow. Blooms between Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Prefers morning sun or very bright, indirect light
  • Water when dry
  • The plant you will receive is growing in a 4 pot

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  2. Yellow Thanksgiving Cactus
  3. White Thanksgiving Cactus