Easter Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus – What's the Difference

June 7, 2014 – 02:00 pm

Easter Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus – What’s the Difference?

It turns out that many of the plants sold as “Christmas” cactus are actually “Thanksgiving” cactus. What’s the difference? The stems of Christmas cactus arc, the flowers are pendent, and the stem segments have smooth margins. And because it blooms at Christmas, the flowers are a bit late for holiday plant sales.

Enter the Thanksgiving cactus, Schlumbergera truncata. This holiday cactus blooms a month or more before Christmas. And, rather than pendent, the flowers tip up from the ends of more upright stems which have distinctive spurs on the edges. Due to the ways of the retail trade, it’s quite possible that your “Christmas” cactus will bloom next year for Thanksgiving.

To add to this confusion, both can bloom twice each year. Blooms between March and May led many botanists to the name “Easter” cactus. However, the true Easter cactus is not even a member of the genus Schlumbergera. It is Hatiora gaertneri and it only blooms once each year.

The Easter cactus is more difficult to grow so is not quite as common. While it’s more likely to drop its flowers, shed parts of stems or not bloom one year, the blooms are beautiful. Once you have mastered how to care for your other holiday cactus by effectively managing drafts and watering, you might want to give them a try.

Tip: According to Paul Brunelle, a Canadian expert on these plants, they all like acidic soil. So adding some vinegar to alkaline tap water can be beneficial (1 teaspoon/ gallon). He claims some growers swear by using leftover tea!

Source: sfmga.org


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Twice_shy's October Garden Tour

Welcome to Twice_shy's October Garden Tour
Photo 1: Thanksgiving salad fixin's, "Cherry Bell" radish and "Buttercrunch" lettuce seedlings. Radish is saved seed. Lettuce is 10 cent/pack seeds from local drugstore.
Photo 2: Dahlias making their last show for the season. Not sure of the first variety, some kind of burgandy colored cactus type; the second globe shaped one is named "Rose Toscano" as I recall. I dig these up in early winter, divide & store, then replant in the spring or sprout stem cuttings from a pot tuber. The entire yard could be nothing but dahlias in a year or two, they propagate very easily


Christmas Cactus Plant Rare 'White' Variety
Lawn & Patio ()
  • Buds bloom from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
  • A healthy potted young plant
  • Beautiful rare snow white blooms
  • Rare holiday and year round favorite
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

Related posts:

  1. Thanksgiving cactus plants care
  2. Thanksgiving cactus Blooms
  3. Thanksgiving cactus Blooming in February
  4. Thanksgiving cactus Blooms when