Holiday Cactus

Last year around the holidays my husband bought me a Christmas cactus. I was thrilled because, even though I had not mentioned it to him, I had been wanting one. It blossomed beautifully for many weeks.

My sister told me if you want it to blossom for Christmas don’t water it during the month of September. I didn’t. Several weeks ago I noticed buds beginning to form it. It was blossoming by Thanksgiving.

I learned something new when my aunt was over for Thanksgiving dinner. She mentioned that her Thanksgiving cactus was blossoming. I was surprised at hearing she had a Thanksgiving cactus because I had never heard of such a thing. She explained that the difference between a Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus was in the leaves. After reading this article I determined that my plant is, in fact, a Thanksgiving cactus. It has spikey leaves, and the anthers of the flower are yellow which, according to the article define it as a Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). I do hope it continues to blossom through the holidays.

Have you ever heard of a Thanksgiving cactus?

19 thoughts on “Holiday Cactus

  1. I have not heard of a Thanksgiving Cactus Ruth. My grandmother had a huge Christmas Cactus that she had for years. I’ve often wondered what happened to it after she passed away – we could not bring it across the border and even if we could, we had nowhere to keep such a large plant, nor a window to give it sun. My grandmother had a back kitchen and a huge window where her Singer sewing machine with the treadle sat in front of that window. The Christmas Cactus sat on top of the sewing machine and took up the entire top and hung over the sides. It was gorgeous – wish I had a photo of it. We generally never traveled to Toronto to visit after mid-November when we went to celebrate my grandmother’s November 19th birthday, but she was feeling poorly when we were there for her 80th birthday, so we returned the following month at Christmas as the weather cooperated. I had not seen the cactus in bloom for many years at Christmastime … probably since we moved to the States in 1966. Yours will grow that big too if you have a lot of sun for it.

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      1. That was interesting Ruth and I had no idea they lived that long. I wish I’d taken a photo of it when we were there that last Christmas in 1979. I had the camera handy as neighbors dressed like Santa and an elf and I took photos (in fact I used them in a blog post one year). I remember being young and living in Canada and visiting my grandmother and seeing it that large on the sewing machine top and in bloom then, so I knew she had had it for a while.

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      1. Salmon pinky red.

        But l also found out some information from Suze as it is her plant.

        It’s close to 20 years of age and it belonged to ger aunt who herself died in 2014. I was astonished to learn how old they could be.

        It’s starting to lose the blossom now, but new buds are back.

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  2. What a beauty. I did the withholding trick last year and was rewarded with a plant full of beautiful blooms. This year I did it again and for some reason not a single bud. I think I will give it a new pot since its not blooming anyway.. I too did not know there were different varieties. I found there is actually a third, there is an Easter Cactus too.

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    1. Blossoming also depends on how many hours of darkness they get for a period so if it is in an area where you keep lights on after it gets dark outside that may interfere with the blossoming. I saw mention of easter cacti too.


  3. Hmmm… I always enjoyed seeing this low-maintenance plant bloom during odd times. As an adult, I found out that it blooms around December/January. Given it as a gift, I was told to water it once a week only. And I think it bloomed in like March or something. The one I currently have has white flowers and it bloomed in like April or something. It’s just strange…. I will have to check out your link and see if there is a more scientific method to making this flower bloom. Otherwise, I just enjoy the surprise for when it blooms.

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    1. I understand that they also need 12 – 14 hours of darkness for a period before they blossom. If they are in an area where you keep lights on after it gets dark that may interfere with the blooming. Also learned that there is another variety called an Easter Cactus that blooms March/April.

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  4. I think we all just learned that last year..I thought mine was Christmas but found out it Thanksgiving as well. I had never heard of it either. Mine is getting a second round of blossoms now. The first round had about 30 blooms. Just stunning. I love the pink color you have. Mine is red and lovey but I still have a pink one on my list to get.


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