November Brilliance: The “Thanksgiving” Cactus (Schlumbergera truncate)

THE CACTUS PLANT I TREASURE MOST comes not from the desert, but from the mountains of Brazil, where it grows, like the orchid, in the crotches of trees. I’m referring to the magnificent Schlumbergera truncate, pictured above. How to grow this easy-to-find “Thanksgiving Cactus,” and how to tell it apart from the rare “Christmas Cactus:”

From late October through November, the “Thanksgiving” cactus puts on a show that mocks every other resident of my window garden. This is when some two dozen fuschia-like flowers drip from all the leaf tips which cover the plant’s five-inch pot.

If you don’t already own one of these beauties in purple, pink, red, yellow, or white, my advice is to obtain one in early November. Your florist is sure to have one already in bud or bloom at this time. I can tell you the plant is a terrific investment, for it increases in both grace and dignity with each passing year.

Culture: Truncate is all the better for a humus-rich but well-draining soil. My three plants flourish in 2 parts leaf mold and 1 part perlite. If you don’t have access to leaf mold, a commercial peat and perlite potting mix will do.

For better growth, and hence more blossoms, be sure to pamper this succulent during the warm-weather months. Mine lounge and luxuriate on the shady and sheltered front porch all summer. I keep the fountainous growth coming along with every-other-day waterings, and frequent applications of all-purpose plant food.

Summer is also the time I pinch off segments to encourage branching. The broken segments, if inserted 3 to a 4-inch pot, can be rooted for new plants. These often flower their very first year.

Like the poinsettia, truncate produces its flowers in response to shortening day-lengths. In September all food must be withheld, and watering decreased to once weekly. Then, in October, bring the plant to a cool, dim windowsill, and let it remain there until every leaf tip is lit with color. (If your plant refuses to set buds, give it long, 12-hour nights in a dark closet for thee weeks, and only dim light during daytime.)

When buds begin to open, move the cactus to a light (not sunny) place. The plant will look especially decorative if perched on a stand or bracket where its pendulous stems can freely cascade. Cool temperatures and weekly water will insure a lush bloom period that lasts from four to six weeks.

When flowering ceases, decrease water and set the cacti in full sun. That is, until warm weather invites its return to a shaded, sheltered position outdoors.

It irks me to no end that florists commonly mislabel the Thanksgiving cactus, Schlumbergera truncate, as the Christmas one. The true “Christmas” cactus is Schlumbergera bridgesii. Here is how you can tell the difference between the two (even if your florist can’t): Truncate, above, has two or three jagged points on every leaf segment, and its bloom time, under natural circumstances, runs from late October through November. Bridgesii has smooth, not jagged, leaf segments, and typically flowers in January or February.

The Christmas cactus is very difficult to find these days. But who cares? The Thanksgiving cactus offers a much broader color-range than its late-blooming relative.

Update! In May of 2013, I acquired a cutting of the official Christmas Cactus (S. bridgesii). The cutting rooted without a hitch, and now, in January, 2014, the plant is dripping with bloom. As you can see, the flowers are similar to those of the “Thanksgiving” plant. But they are definitely smaller, and more pendulous in form.

And, as I mentioned earlier, the leaves of bridgesii (above) are smooth, not jagged.

So which flowering cactus do you have? The more common Thanksgiving-type, or the rare Christmas specimen?

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Related Posts:
Seven Ways to Beautiful Houseplants
Setting Up A Window Garden
African Violets: My Easy, Always-In-Bloom Program
The Perpetual Life of Pelargonium Peltatum


  1. Well, that's an eye-opener! Since my red “Christmas” cactus has jagged segments, I guess its really the “Thanksgiving” kind. It is all budded up now, and on the verge of bloom. Can't wait!

  2. Kevin, I was amused to read of the different varieties of the thanksgiving cactus. Why can't florists and garden centers ever label the plants by variety-name? Its always “Red Christmas Cactus” or “White Christmas Cactus,” etc.

    This really ticks. me. off.

  3. Is there a special medium (vermiculite?) required for truncate propagation?

  4. Dear ticked-off-Justin: It's the growers, rather than the florists and garden centers, who are to blame. And until we who care about named varieties make a fuss, they will continue to label plants insufficiently (and sometimes inaccurately).

    Gregory – I root mine in the same kind of soil the plants grow in.

    Samantha – so glad you've identified your cactus as the Thanksgiving one.

  5. Wow, thanks for this info. I rescued one of these from a trash can when I was in college 25 years ago — it was a pathetic little thing. Today it's about 2 feet in diameter and blooms up a storm every November. And its offspring have been given to countless friends. Gorgeous, gorgeous plant — and didn't know 'til now that it's not a Christmas cactus!

  6. Tammy – nice to meet you! And, what a happy story! I can only imagine how beautiful a plant of that age must be.

    Hope to “see” you again!

  7. I'd always heard that the Christmas – er – Thanksgiving cactus made a nice heirloom plant, one that could be passed down from generation to generation. Tammy's plant confirms this hearsay!

  8. Kevin:

    Congratulations on your terrific website. I just came across it. I have just moved into a big house and will use some of your many ideas to brighten it up. Ryan

  9. My mom got me one a few years ago. It had always done well-blooming at Thanksgiving. I'm not the best at watering my indoor plants ( I know, for shame!) And I actually thought I lost this beautiful plant a few months ago when Calumet, one of my cats, knocked it over and a tray landed on top of it-squashing it. The poor thing looked pitiful, but I put it back & hoped for the best. Imagine my surprise today when I went to water my plants and saw the cactus starting to bloom. What a great plant!

  10. Ryan – Welcome! So glad you are finding ideas here for your new home.

    Katreader – LOL! What a story — especially the tray part! I guess Schlumbergera is one tenacious plant!

  11. My thanksgiving cactus blooms in November, and again a few months later. Is that unusual?

  12. John – sorry for the delayed response! No, reblooming in early spring is not at all unusual for truncate, although the show at that time is not so glamorous as the one in November.

  13. Hi Kevin! I'm so very happy I stumbled on this blog!! Over 15 years ago my mother-in-law gave me a Thanksgiving cactus. Who knows how old her original plant was!! As soon as I finished reading your article, I quickly ran for the cactus to correctly identify it. Now I must find a cool, dim window to set it in front of. I just wanted to thank you for all your wonderful wisdom 🙂

  14. I just wanted to comment on my Thanksgiving cactus.

    I've had it for 12 years (it is a cutting off my mother's plant which she had had for 20 years at that point – which means my portion of the plant is now 30+ years old). It is roughly 3.5 feet across. And is always lives indoors in an East-facing window, in Michigan. The stems have gotten so old that they have have turned woody at the base in order to support itself.

    I water it with the “left-over” water from my kids nighttime cups (perhaps 1/2 cup) every morning. When it looks limp I give it a bigger drink with a small watering can (1x per month). 2x a year (spring and fall) I give it a complete drink outside, where I spray the leaves to clean the dust off the leaves and soak the entire pot. At these times, I also provide fertilizer.

    It consistently blooms throughout the year. There are almost always some sort of buds, flowers or growth occurring. It blooms at the following times:
    1. 2 weeks before Thanksgiving,
    2. Before Christmas
    3. Late January or early February(half the plant blooms, then I turn it and the other half will bloom a week or so later)
    4. Easter
    5. May/Mother's Day (it is in bloom as we speak – it is May 10
    6. Once during the summer – In the summer, the blooming subsides and the major growth takes over.

    Because the plant is so large, some of the branches are occasional bumped and snapped off by the kids as they walk by – this is probably good, is it promotes new growth for the plant inside (makes it bushier), instead of just making it longer. Although at 3.5 feet across, it is pretty much a bush in and of itself.

    Over the past years, I have transplanted it every spring into a new and bigger pot. Some years I got bigger pots for it to grow into and allowed it 2 years. The current pot it is in (14″), I hope will allow for 3 years of growth. After that, I am not sure what I will do. It takes all my strength to lift it when it is full of dirt, plant and water, to get it back on its stand.

    I hope this helps those that are looking for tips on getting their plants to bloom/re-bloom. I believe the best advice is limited watering, but enough to keep the plant stable and hydrated. In the winter, the heat dries the plant out and it needs water, but not a lot. The little bit I give it from the cups, seems to be just enough (and I rotate, where I dump it).

    Good Luck!

  15. Sue – Sorry I missed your great comment from last May! Normally gmail notifies me when someone posts at A Garden for the House.

    Anyway, what a cacti you have. My truncate often blooms a little in April, but that's it until October/November.

  16. That flower is lovely. I have always wanted an orchid in the house, but don't have the sunny window for one ~ I'm in a pine forest… I grew a Streptocarpus this year outside in a pot, and brought it indoors a month ago not knowing if it would survive. I have it under grow lights. It has continued to blossom with beautiful purple flowers. I have looked this plant up on line and haven't found the exact same flower yet. I hope it continues to thrive as the flowers are beautiful.

  17. Eliza J – I happen to love Streptocarpus. It performs fantastically under lights, and rarely wants a rest, just like its kin the African violet.

    Orchids have never truly appealed to me. I have two, and while they bloom for me once each year, the plants offer no visual interest when they are resting. The Thanksgiving cactus on the other hand is lovely even without flowers.

  18. badger gardener says:

    My best windows face north and west so maybe this is something I could actually get to flower?

  19. Elaine M. says:

    About a year ago my 90 year old Mother gave me two very large “Christmas Cactus” that she could no longer care for and has had forever. One, that I now know is actually a “Thanksgiving Cactus,” is blooming in my windowsill. The other, which bloomed this summer and is sitting in the breezeway, has little red fruits where the blossoms were. I just today told my sister she could have it the next time she was here because I didn't need two. After reading your post I looked at it, and it is a true “Christmas Cactus!” It has oblong smooth leaves just like you said. Now I will have to go back on my word and keep it! I wish I could give starts to you and all your readers!

  20. badger gardener – Give it a try! If you obtain one now, and it is already in bud or bloom, you can place it in your north window. Afterward, set it in your west exposure. It is not a fussy plant.

    Elaine M. – You are lucky indeed. But now I'm wondering, since you mentioned bloom-time was in summer, if you might have the Easter cactus (Schlumbergera gaertneri). This one has leaves similar to the Christmas cactus. But the plant blooms in April/May, and its flowers are not fuchsia-like, but daisy-like.

    Whether yours is the Christmas or Easter cactus, cherish it. Neither plant is easy to find!

  21. I thought that too. But this bloomed white, fuschia like flowers. As I said, it then developed small red fruits, which are still on the plant. I found pics on the web of the Easter cactus, and that is not what this is. I can't seem to find any good pictures of a true Christmas Cactus.

  22. Elaine M. – Your comment is music to my ears!

    On the web there are few pictures of the REAL Christmas cactus because it is so rare. You are lucky-lucky to have inherited one.

    You might like to propagate this Schlumbergera bridgesii in the spring. As insurance!

  23. Found your blog via Logees… loving it!

    I have both the true Christmas Cactus (from my great grandmother), which are getting enormous and need to be propagated before they burst out of their pots, and several different Thanksgiving (“Holiday”) cactus, including a beautiful yellow one. Love them all!

    Question: The Thanksgiving cactus is also called a Zygocactus, I believe? Or is that something else entirely?

  24. Gen – Welcome. You are right — the Thanksgiving cactus was formerly called “Zygocactus” for its symmetrically irregular (zygomorphic) blossoms.

    You (and also reader Elaine M.) are so fortunate to have inherited a Christmas cactus. I certainly covet one!

  25. Hi – just happened across your blog because I am still potting up bulbs for forcing, but have spent an hour with your blog instead – now I will be even later. Drat!

    FWIW, Here is a picture of a (true) Christmas cactus from the web:

    Here is a picture of an Easter Cactus from the web (mislabeled as Christmas cactus):
    I have one of those that I got at Trader Joe's – they sometimes have interesting plants, and relatively low priced.

    I have both of those as well as many Thanksgiving cactus (I call my first one of those a UN Day cactus, because it bloomed on Oct 24 the first year.) I find that the true Christmas cactus gets longer and more pendulous without branching, while the truncata branches naturally and stays more dome shaped. But perhaps that is just how mine are or how I take care of them.

    I put mine out in the shade all summer and bring them in only late in October, when the truncatas already have buds. I know it's supposed to be bad to shock them with the change in environment at that point, but I don't turn my heat on until later, so it's not that much warmer in the house.

    Keep up the good work!

  26. Welcome, Henry, and thanks for the links. I should correct the post above to indicate that bridgesii has smooth, SCALLOPED leaf-segments.

    You are lucky to have the full trio of holiday cacti. Did you inherit your Christmas cactus or did you stumble upon it — as you did your Easter one — at Trader Joe's? (Unfortunately no Trader Joe's in my neck of the woods.)

    And good luck with your bulbs, which hopefully you finished potting without further distraction!

  27. Hi Kevin
    I just found your website–it’s fabulous! Thank you for such great information. I, too, live in upstate NY, but further west.
    I have now carefully examined all my Schlumbergera, jumped from your website to several others and back, and have concluded that my oldest plant–in a hanging basket, large scalloped leaves with points, orange blossoms, from a florist plant about 20 years ago, is “Thanksgiving”;
    the next, blooming now at the end of several weeks, with smaller leaves, scalloped with no points, drooping dark pink “fuchsia” flowers, grown from a small plant given to me about six years ago, is “Christmas”;
    then, a smaller plant, larger scalloped leaves with light pink open daisy flowers, grown from a cutting four or five years ago is “Easter”; as are the two newest and smallest, grown from cuttings a year ago with red open daisy flowers.
    Wow! What a fun way to waste (spend) time on a sunny January day while recovering from a cold.

    If the dark pink bridgesii is rare and you would like a cutting (and your readers, too), let me know. It has abundant foliage and is easy to root and grow.

    (Since I never post comments, I wonder what is happening to me?)

  28. Martha – Welcome aboard!

    You are lucky to have this collection of cacti — and the cacti are lucky to have you. I suspect the dark pink, non-pointy bridgesii is indeed rare.

    What a generous offer to send a cutting. However, it’s probably best to wait until springtime to send it. Otherwise I fear the slip might perish due to the cold which is expected. I’ll email you with my address.

    I wonder if your cactus plants have been flowering a little more abundantly than usual this winter? Here, the truncate have been budding and blooming almost non-stop since October! I suspect this is due to the weird, weird weather.

  29. Hi Kevin
    I don’t remember exactly when the truncata started blooming, but it wasjust ending at the beginning of December when the bridgesii was just starting–that one still has buds and flowers now–bridgesii has been the abundant one. (It lives on an east facing windowsill in the cool part of the living room and keeps getting bigger.)

    A good picture of the Easter cactus (apparently now called Hatiora, not Schlumbergera–isn’t taxonomy and nomenclature fascinating?) is on Wikipedia at

    I found lots of other interesting info at and—-and others.

  30. Ah Ha! Good to know, mine is the Christmas variety, I’ve always wondered. It’s 30+ years old and a beauty, thanks for the information!

  31. Kevin , Thanks for the info about the cactus. I got one from my Mother years ago. She told me it was a Christmas cactus now i know what it is. I always wondered because it bloomed at different times. Thanks alot Richard

  32. Hi Kevin,
    I live in the Netherlands, so climate and sun are different from most USA-states.
    I have a thanksgiving-cactus ( called in dutch lid-cactus) that is a 6 yr old kid of my mothers then 30 yrs old lidcactus.
    It is in a south window, I water it a lot ( always keep it wet except in july when I let it dry a bit) and I never give it fertilizer. It blooms at least twice a year with pink flowers. I have been teached that one should not turn the plant when it has buds because when turned it looses the buds. Today it has some 100 buds and I think it will flower within 2 weeks.

    I also have lots of orchids, on the north window, and last year I did grow 2 baby-orchids. I think I have to wait 2 or 3 yrs before they will also bloom. Yes they are not beautifull when not blooming, but it is interesting to see how new leaves come ( mostly 2 at the time) and then follows a blooming rank.

    My home would not be a home without some plants in it.

    with kind regards,

  33. A friend gave me her Thanksgiving cactus (now I know) and it is currently blooming. However, only 2 branches are blooming. The rest of the plant does not have even a bud. What’s up Thanks.

  34. Thank you for sharing your latest CC pictures. Because of you and your original article on how to tell the difference……I am now a “collector” of every Christmas Cactus I can find. I am focusing on the hunt for the “true” CC and I actually found one at my uncles rest home. It looked like a pitiful unkept mop but now I have many offspring and “Mopsey” as I call her, is doing really well. Thanks again for the update…..I really enjoy your newsletter and thank you for sharing your talents with all of us!

  35. hello , I have obtained a so called Christmas cactus but now I’m wondering the difference between the thanksgiving / and Christmas cactus now and if there is a noticeable difference …you have said that when they flower one of them has a slightly bigger flower .. is that the only way to tell ? thank you for your time . have a great day

  36. This website is a wealth of information with excellent pictures to finally identify the tale of two Christmas Cacti.

    I picked up one flowering tiny Christmas Cactus plant from the half price rack at one of the large home improvement stores about six few years ago, in January, and noticed it never flowered again once at home.

    A few years later, I picked up another half price tinyflowering Christmas Cactus and it has grown and flowered every year.

    Thinking one plant was not liking my gardening techniques, I put them both in the same pot, to have at least one of the two plants to flower. . Now I know the original cactus was a rare find and is a correctly labeled Christmas Cactus. The other is a Thanksgiving Cactus.

    I”ll re pot the plants in the spring and see if I can get the Christmas Cactus to flower next year, and enjoy the budding now and ready to flower soon Thanksgiving Cactus. .

  37. thank you i always wondered why my cactus looked so different i have one of each and one that is mixed with the two kinds

  38. Christine F says:

    I have a Thanksgiving Cactus, that make sense since it always blooms right about now! I have had it for 24 years and it is indestructible!

  39. I actually have 10 varieties of schlumbergia and they flower at different times of the year, some more than once, some sporadically, so I have flowers all year. The shapes of the flowers vary too. You can see several different shapes in the picture you sent, but there are more. I have one with huge red flowers with bright purple anthers. It blooms in early summer.

  40. Thanks for the info on the diff. I have called my cacti the wrong Holiday since they arrived at my home. Now I know, and yes they are all blooming their buds off.

  41. The one I have was always called a Christmas cactus, so maybe it’s a Thanksgiving cactus, but it doesn’t really matter since in the Central Valley of California the silly thing blooms on Valentine’s Day.

  42. Larry Gilbert says:

    I love both the Thanksgiving and Christmas varieties, have several of both. My oldest Christmas cactus is 40 years old. A friend inherited a Christmas cactus back in 1976 from an elderly cousin when she went into a nursing home at an advanced age and the plant had belonged to her mother before her, so is well over 100 years old. I root mine in either the potting soil or in water, have had good luck both ways.

  43. I also notice that the Christmas cactus and Easter cactus differ in the shape of the plant. The Christmas cactus branches splay out from the center and try to remain horizontal till they get too heavy. The mature plant is quite wide. The Easter cactus branches are more droopy and go straight down when they get heavy. I have one that sits on a 4 foot high stool and the branches reach to the floor. When it is covered with red flowers it is truly spectacular. I have a droopy purple blooming one that has red-edged leaves. It blooms in spring.

  44. Brandy Hovonick says:

    Mine is just finishing up the last of its blooms. The green foliage of the plant appears to be taking on a purplish tinge. Is that normal?I had no idea there even was a Thanksgiving cactus, but apparently that is what I have. Thanks for the info. I always learn something from your posts.

  45. Judi Nemeth says:

    Thanks for the info… I do have a beautiful red Thanksgiving Cactus and 2 smaller ones from cuttings earlier this year…. They have also bloomed…. I am going to get my hubby to build me window shelves again on the north side of our sun room, as it gets plenty of light all year around and no direct sun…. will be great for orchids also… Happy Thanksgiving….

  46. Nancy Carr says:

    I have always loved the Thanksgiving Cactus or as I knew it before as the Christmas Cactus since I did not know the difference until today. Thank you for the education and the beauty.

  47. I can’t wait to go home and figure out which cactus I have!! I have 3! I loved your suggestions of using a stand or bracket! Mine seem to bloom all through the year! I love #14 reply by Susan great info!! I will let you know what I discover about mine! Love your site Kevin and happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  48. I have a Thanksgiving cactus. It is in a 8 – 10 inch pot. It must have had 200 blooms on it this year. It has had a few blooms in June or July. I was told by a friend that I must have two green thumbs.

  49. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    I have a Thanksgiving Cactus from 1978, my last year in college. This plant bloomed reliably when in my classroom. Since retiring and bringing it home with me, it has not bloomed at all. I thought it was because of too much light in the room after sunset. I water it regularly and it looks healthy, although much smaller than it used to be after a neglectful period when it almost died. I shall stand in the corner now and hang my head.

  50. christine hurd says:

    I just took my cactus out of the dark closet this morning! I guess it’s a Thanksgiving cactus as it looks just like the pictures – same leaves, and bright pink blossoms. I just love my cactus!!

  51. i LOVE YOUR WEBSITE! My cactus is in full bloom ,beatiful thanksgiving gift! Do you know how to feed and or take cuttings foe a jade plant? I also have recovered a failing penile looking cacti thank just gave me five babies.How and at what size do i separate them.The plant was a save from a coworker.? Any input would help.Thanks Kevin

  52. Doris Gaumont says:

    Well you are just a cute smarty pants, now I know why mine blooms around Thanksgiving.
    I just need to share this info with my friends on Facebook ……..enjoy your holiday!

  53. I was fortunate to find the true Christmas cactus on a gardening mail order website for really cheap. I had my doubts, but the rooted cuttings were actually very nice, especially for the price. Last winter they all bloomed with very bright red blossoms. They were definitely more red than yours look in your posted photo. This winter there are no buds yet, but I’m sure hoping they form soon. My Thanksgiving cactus are all in full bloom. They often repeat flowering later in the winter. I have three colors: peach, fuchsia, and a deeper shade of reddish-pink. I need to get a white one when they go on clearance after the holidays! Thanks for your great and informative info. I hope you keep safe with the snowstorm headed you way tonight.

  54. Ceal Whalen says:

    Thanks for the information. My “Thanksgiving” cactus is bringing such happiness to my house right now. It is pure white and in spectacular bloom but I thought it was confused since it bloomed much earlier than I had expected. The smaller one is loaded with buds which will be a deep fuchsia. So quess my little one is a “Christmas” cactus since the buds have not begun to open? Either way, I love them. They were both rescued at the end of the season last year and I just showered them with love and attention all year long. I cannot tell you how much joy they bring to me and beauty to my living room!!!

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!!!

  55. Thanksgiving Cactus starts blooming in September and after dropping blooms, re-blooms again in November, and continues this same pattern until April. (I have 5 of them.) My Christmas cactus (of which I have 3) do bloom later. Today, upon examination, I learned I have one large pot with both Thanksgiving and Christmas (who knew when I took cuttings???!!!). Now tell us about the “Easter cactus” which has fuzzy tips and blooms only once a year… in the Spring, usually.

    Good info-Thanks!

  56. I have several Christmas cactus and one Thanksgiving cactus. The Christmas ones are from my Grandmother and passed down to me from my Mother. The apparently more common Thanksgiving one I bought. I do good with rooting them, but not seeing the blooms like when they were in my Grandmother and Mother’s homes. Your article will surely give me blooms next season! Also, I always confused the two types. Thank you for clearing that for me. Your articles are always so helpful, but this is the best for me yet. I have several plants passed down to me this same way and don’t want to lose any of them. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

  57. Hi Kevin, thanks for sharing your recommendations and for the clarifications.
    I’ve had one for the last 25 years (..same as Tammy) and always thought that it was a Christmas one.. I was wrong and misinformed like many others! I’m always looking forward for the blooming season (..usually twice a year). Take care and.. thanks again

  58. Color me shocked!! I had no idea of a Thanksgiving catus?? Where can I buy a few from?? I have several Christmas and What I call Mother’s day catus (only time I see them in Walmart) I would love a Thanksgiving catus….please enlighten me….thanks in advanced!!

  59. Linda Bevins says:

    Just checked and I have a true Christmas cactus. Is it really rare? Mine was given to me many years ago by an elderly lady who had to many house plants. It is very large, how do I transplant it? It needs new soil or can I just add soil?

  60. Sue Rowland says:

    Great article, very informative. I have realised after reading it, that I have both a Thanksgiving Cactus and a Christmas Cactus. I have had my Christmas one for about 6 years but have only had the thanksgiving one for about 6 months. I live in the UK.

  61. Judy Pennington says:

    I guess I am one of the truly lucky ones. I have two of each. My Thanksgiving Cactus was from my mother and she always thought it was the Christmas one. It has the spiky leaves and is old enough that the biggest deepest stems are rather woody too. The color is fuchsia and just glows. The other one was given to me by my sister-in-law who has asthma so bad she had to get rid of all of her houseplants. It has white blooms with tiny fuchsia stripes in the center. The true Christmas cactus hasn’t bloomed for a long time. I am moving in a couple of weeks and intend to repot everything in new soil and cleaned pots. Hoping maybe then it will bloom for me. Thanks for all the info on them.

  62. Judy Pennington says:

    I forgot to mention that Mom had the Thanksgiving cactus for as long as I can remember (I’m 68) and I’ve had it since she’s been gone and that’s 15 years. So I think it’s at least 60 years old, and I have no idea where she got it and if it was a start or what. Isn’t it odd how long some plants can live. I also have some of her African Violets that are about 50 years old, or at least the original plants were, I’ve gotten babies of some of them.

  63. Hi Judy – What fun to read about the Thanksgiving cactus you received from your mom. Amazing how these plants can live indefinitely — and with so little care!

  64. Hi! I was given a Thanksgiving Cactus on December 23 and it had buds on it. Now on the 28th it is bloomimg. Why a month late?

  65. Mavis, it may have been kept in cooler conditions than it prefers, which delayed bloom time. At least that is my assessment.

  66. John Lewallen says:

    Thank you, Kevin. Nicely done explanation of the two varieties.

  67. brenda roher says:

    Could you explain what is the Easter cactus? I purchased pne from a nursery and it has the smooth leaves? Im really confused.

  68. Love your website, just wanted more information about blooming periods. I can’t believe my two thanksgiving cactuses have been blooming from early November until the end of April nonstop. I’ve been so excited all winter season to have my orphaned cacti’s from my grandparents blooming happily all winter. Just wanted to find out when they might stop blooming. Hopefully not anytime too soon.

  69. Hi Cathy – My Thanksgiving cacti are in bloom now, too! Suffice it to say the plants have a mind of their own.

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