Holiday Cactus – Christmas Cactus Vs. Thanksgiving Cactus Vs. Easter Cactus – What’s the Difference?

easter cactus

Today, we are talking about holiday cacti. You might have heard of Christmas Cacti, Thanksgiving Cacti, and Easter Cacti, but did you know they are not all the same? Let us break it down in simple terms so you can tell them apart and give them the love they deserve.

Holiday Cactus Showdown: What are the Differences

Here are the differences in each and every type of Holiday Cactus Showdown:

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

  • Leaf Edges: Smooth and round, like little scallops.
  •  Flowers: Hang down like lovely, colorful ornaments.
  •  Bloom Time: Around Christmas, bringing cheer in winter.

How do I care for my holiday cactus?

Caring for your holiday cactus is pretty straightforward and does not require too much fuss. Here are some easy tips to keep your cactus happy:

  • Light: Your holiday cactus prefers indirect or filtered sunlight. Too much direct sun can burn the leaves.
  •  Watering: Check the soil every 7-10 days and water only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
  •  Temperature: They enjoy temperatures between 70°F and 80°F during the growing season. When it is time for them to bloom, they like it cooler, around 55°F to 65°F.
  •  Feeding: Fertilize your cactus monthly from June through August with a balanced houseplant fertilizer at half-strength.
  •  Bloom Induction: To encourage blooming, provide them with about 12 hours of darkness each night for six weeks before their expected bloom time.

Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)

  • Leaf Edges: Pointy and jagged, like crab claws.
  •  Flowers: They stand up like they are reaching for the sky.
  •  Bloom Time: Shows off its beauty around Thanksgiving.

Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri)

  • Leaf Edges: Soft and rounded, with no points.
  •  Flowers: Star-shaped, they are a springtime spectacle.
  •  Bloom Time: Celebrates spring by blooming around Easter.

Caring for Your Holiday Cactus

All these cacti love a bit of a chill and darkness before they bloom. Think of it as their beauty sleep. Give them about 12 hours of cool, dim conditions for six weeks, and they’ll reward you with stunning flowers.

What is the best way to propagate these cacti?

Here are the two methods to propagate these cacti:

Propagating in Soil

  1. Take out a segment of the stem from a healthy cactus using your fingers. Aim for a piece with 3-4 segments.
  2.  Place the cuttings in a warm, dry spot out of direct sunlight for about 24 hours. This helps the cut end to callous over and prevents rot.
  3.  Use a container with well-draining soil. Plant the cuttings so the first segment is halfway buried.
  4.  Do not water the cuttings for the first 1-2 weeks or until roots begin to form. You can check for roots by gently tugging on the cutting to feel for resistance.

Propagating in Water

  1. Choose a healthy segment of the cactus, preferably with new growth.
  2.  Put the cut end of the plant segment in a jar or vase of water.
  3.  Keep the jar in a spot with bright, indirect light.
  4.  Once roots have developed, you can transplant the cutting into soil.

Holiday Cactus Light Requirements

Holiday cacti, including the Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, and Easter Cactus, prefer bright but indirect sunlight. Here is a quick help for you:

  • Bright Indirect Light: They thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, which mimics their natural habitat under forest canopies.
  •  Avoid Direct Sun: Direct sunlight can harm their leaves, so place them near east or north-facing windows or use a sheer curtain for south or west-facing windows.
  •  Darkness for Blooming: To trigger blooming, they need about 12-14 hours of darkness per day, so ensure they have a dark period each night.

Fun Fact About Cacti

These cacti are not the prickly desert types. They are actually from the jungles of South America, where they hang out on trees like orchids. Pretty cool, right?

So, next time you are at the garden store, look at those leaf edges and bloom times. Now you will know whether you bring a Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter cactus home.


What are Holiday Cacti?

Holiday cacti are special plants that bloom around certain holidays. There are three types: Christmas Cacti, Thanksgiving Cacti, and Easter Cacti.

When do they bloom?

  • Christmas Cactus: Around Christmas.
  •  Thanksgiving Cactus: Around Thanksgiving.
  •  Easter Cactus: Around Easter.

Do they need special care?

Yes, they like bright but indirect light and cooler temperatures before blooming. They also need a period of darkness each night to help them bloom.

Can I make more holiday cacti from the one I have?

Yes, you can twist off a piece of the stem and plant it in soil or place it in water to grow roots.

Read more: Holiday Cactus – Christmas Cactus Vs. Thanksgiving Cactus Vs. Easter Cactus – What’s the Difference?