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Holiday Cactus Types: A Guide to the Different Varieties of Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter Cacti


holiday cactus types
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When it comes to holiday plants, most people think of poinsettias or mistletoe, but have you heard of holiday cacti? These plants, also known as Schlumbergera, are a popular choice for adding festive color to your home during the holiday season. They come in different colors and types, each with its own unique features. In this article, we will take a closer look at the different varieties of holiday cacti.

Christmas Cactus

The most well-known variety of holiday cactus is the Christmas cactus, which is native to Brazil. It is named after the time of year when it blooms, usually from late November to early January. The Christmas cactus has flat, segmented stems that grow in a cascading manner, making it a great plant for hanging baskets. Its flowers range from white to pink, red, orange, and even purple, and they can last for several weeks. To care for your Christmas cactus, keep it in bright, indirect light and water it regularly but avoid overwatering.

How to Propagate Christmas Cactus

If you want to propagate your Christmas cactus, the best time to do so is in the spring or summer months. You can do this by taking a stem cutting and allowing it to dry out for a few days before planting it in well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist but not too wet, and within a few weeks, you should to see new growth.

Thanksgiving Cactus

The Thanksgiving cactus is another popular variety of holiday cactus. It is native to the coastal mountains of Brazil and blooms in late fall, usually around Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving cactus has rounded, scalloped edges on its stems, which are more upright than the Christmas cactus. Its flowers are typically pink, red, or white, and they last for about a week. To care for your Thanksgiving cactus, keep it in bright, indirect light and water it when the soil feels dry to the touch.

How to Tell the Difference between Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus

One way to tell the difference between Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus is by looking at the shape of their leaves. Christmas cactus has smooth, rounded edges, while Thanksgiving cactus has more pointed, jagged edges. Additionally, Thanksgiving cactus blooms earlier in the season than Christmas cactus.

Easter Cactus

The Easter cactus, also known as the spring cactus, is native to the rainforests of Brazil. It blooms in the spring, usually around Easter, and its flowers are typically pink, red, or white. The Easter cactus has flattened stems with serrated edges and is often confused with the Christmas cactus. However, unlike the Christmas cactus, which has smooth edges, the Easter cactus has small, sharp spines along the edges of its leaves. To care for your Easter cactus, keep it in bright, indirect light and water it regularly.

How to Care for Your Holiday Cacti

While each variety of holiday cactus has its own unique features, there are some general care tips that apply to all of them. First, make sure to keep your cactus in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves and cause them to turn yellow. Second, be careful not to overwater your cactus. These plants prefer well-draining soil and should only be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Finally, be sure to fertilize your cactus during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer.


Holiday cacti are a beautiful and festive addition to any home during the holiday season. Whether you choose a Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter cactus, each variety has its own unique features and care requirements. By following the tips in this article, you can enjoy these beautiful plants for years to come.

FAQs

Q: Can I keep my holiday cactus outside?

A: While holiday cacti can be kept outdoors in warmer climates, they should be protected from direct sunlight and frost.

Q: Why is my holiday cactus not blooming?

A: Holiday cacti require a period of darkness (12-14 hours per day) for several weeks in order to bloom. Make sure to keep your cactus in a dark room or cover it with a cloth at night during this time.

Q: Can I prune my holiday cactus?

A: Yes, you can prune your holiday cactus to promote bushier growth. Simply cut off the top segment of a stem and allow it to dry out before planting it in soil.

Q: How often should I fertilize my holiday cactus?

A: Holiday cacti should be fertilized once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer.

Q: Can I propagate my holiday cactus from a leaf cutting?

A: No, holiday cacti cannot be propagated from a leaf cutting. Instead, take a stem cutting and allow it to dry out for a few days before planting it in soil.


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