Holiday cacti, like the Thanksgiving or Christmas cactus, are among the most well-liked, distinctive, and lovely houseplants. They require little maintenance, and it’s magical when those small blooms bloom during the holidays. However, did you know that there is also an Easter cactus that bears bright, cheery blooms? The spring cactus, also known as the Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri, originally Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri), has flowers that normally bloom—you got it—in spring, around Easter. The magnificent star-shaped blooms come in a variety of colors—brilliant orange, violet, fuchsia, white, or red—to brighten your home just when you need it. They bloom at sunrise and close at nightfall.
Easter cactus—does it even exist?
You recently talked about Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti. Could you elaborate on the Easter cactus, the third plant you mentioned?
In addition to the previously mentioned Thanksgiving and Christmas species, an Easter cactus is sometimes referred to as a spring cactus, Rhipsalidopsis gaetneri, or Hatiora gaetneri. Easter cacti often bloom in the spring, close to Easter, in honor of their namesake.
All of the holiday cacti are native to South America’s tropics, where they can be found growing on trees in their natural state. Because of this, they all go by the label “jungle cactus” in addition to “holiday cacti.”
There are ways to distinguish an Easter cactus from the other holiday kinds despite how similar they are. The season of blooming is one simple technique to identify the species. Easter cactus flower in the spring, with flower buds first appearing in February and blooming from March until May. Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti often bloom one month earlier than Christmas cacti in the late fall or early winter.
Examining the edges of the leaf segments of the holiday cactus is another way to distinguish them, in addition to their various bloom seasons. Easter cacti are distinguished by the bristles that can be seen on the margins of their leaf segments. In the previous piece, I mentioned that Christmas cactus have smooth, round edges and Thanksgiving cacti have pointed, jagged ones. The spring variety’s flowers have a more star-like appearance, but they still have the vibrant hues that are common to all three species: reds, pinks, and purples, with some cultivars also showing a completely white blossom.
The same growing parameters apply to all holiday plants, which are shorter days, longer stretches of uninterrupted darkness to encourage flowering, and well-drained soil. One thing to think about is how much water they require, especially with Easter cacti. Overwatering can seriously harm plants and is especially harmful to Easter species. Prior to watering the plant, make sure the soil in the pot is dry.
All three offer stunning displays of vibrant, tropical beauty, sure to spread a little festive cheer throughout the holiday seasons, whether you select an Easter, Christmas, or Thanksgiving cactus. With the Spring Gardening Digital Value Pack, you can be sure that your garden will flourish in the spring.
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What distinguishes an Easter cactus from a Christmas cactus?
The holiday season has here, which not only calls for decorations but also festive plants! At this time of year, there are many lovely holiday plants to pick from, whether they are bought from a florist, nursery, or are grown at home. The Christmas cactus is one of the most popular plants to give or receive at this time of year. Or is it a Thanksgiving or Easter cactus?
The three cacti differ from one another in terms of how their leaves are shaped. The edges of the leaves of the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumgera truncata) are very sharply pointed and shaped like claws. The leaf projections of the Christmas cactus (Schlumgera bridgesti) are more scalloped or teardrop shaped. The edges of the leaves of the Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertnerrii) are extremely rounded and centered.
These three cacti are all classified as short-day plants. Therefore, the plant needs low temperatures and 12–24 hours of darkness in order to bloom. If you overwintered your plant outside or bought it from a florist or nursery, you should keep it in a cold, dark place until the buds appear. The optimum location is an infrequently used bedroom or lower level. The Easter cactus gets its name from the fact that it takes 8–12 weeks of short days to bloom as opposed to the Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti’s roughly six weeks. It can be brought into a warmer environment once the buds start to form for your enjoyment. At this stage, a plant may occasionally start to lose its buds. That might be caused by air currents, warm temperatures, an abundance of water, or direct sunlight. Bright light is good for the plants, but not direct sunlight. Before watering, the soil should be completely dry to one inch below the surface. Fertilizing or repotting shouldn’t be done when the plant is in bloom. The plants appear to thrive when they are root-bound.
You might see the Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus bloom once more in the spring, though perhaps not as lavishly as over the holiday season. Simply restore the plant to its short day settings to promote springtime blooming.
Unless they are overwatered, these plants are generally disease-free. If the plant turns crimson, there is either too much sun, not enough phosphorus, or not enough water. There are rumors of plants that have been passed down from generation to generation for more than a century. Take advantage of these easygoing holiday plants and establish a new gardening custom. Call the Linn County Master Gardener Hortline at 319-447-0647 with any and all of your gardening inquiries.
Is there a cactus with Easter blooms?
The Easter Cactus, also known as the Spring Cactus, blooms in a variety of bright colors from March till May. Their several-week-long, star-shaped flowers open at dawn and close at dusk. In the forests of eastern Brazil, Easter Cacti are native epiphytes that grow in the branches of the trees. Knowing a plant’s natural environment is beneficial since it gives the gardener advice on how to grow the plant successfully.
Natural Adjustment Due to their propensity to epiphytic life, Easter Cacti make wonderful indoor plants. Their capacity to develop in trees in their natural habitat is strongly tied to their capacity to thrive in partial sunlight and dry conditions. Sometimes it’s even a good thing to ignore your Easter cactus.
Particular Qualities Easter Cactus has segments of flat, succulent leaves. They freely branch, becoming a full specimen of a plant with glossy, leathery leaves.
Methods for Blooming Dry soil and chilly temperatures in the early winter trigger floral bud set, which occurs in the spring (around Easter). To prevent the plant from shriveling up as fall approaches, often in October, soil moisture should be decreased with only infrequent watering.
Additionally, a chilly phase is required, with nighttime lows in the high 50s to just above freezing for a few months. Later in the fall, you may either keep the plants indoors next to your coolest window or leave them outside (just make sure it’s still above freezing). To encourage floral bud set, it is necessary to drop nighttime temperatures below 60F for a few months.
Watering The dry season must last until the buds are evident because bud production often begins after the first of the year. The plants switch into their growth cycle once flowering is over and the days start to become longer and warmer. At this point, fertilizer can be added and watering is increased. Bring the soil to almost complete dryness between waterings, as you would with most succulents, and then thoroughly moisten the potting soil.
Fertilizer When you water, you can apply fertilizer in a soluble form using a balanced composition, such as 5-7-3 or 10-10-10. Or, you might use an organic granular fertilizer as a topdressing to plants. They are moderate feeders, but when fed often during the summer, they will respond with plentiful growth.
When to Repot Once flowering is ended, plants can be replanted. Use a potting mix that is well-drained and has good air porosity, much like you would for any succulent or cactus.
Pruning After flowering, prune. Trim back the outer leaflets symmetrically over the plant once it has grown to the appropriate size and filled out the largest pot. This will minimize the plant’s overall size and volume.
Insects Easter Cactus typically don’t have any issues with insects. Mealybug and scale can harm plants, but they are not the preferred food source, and it usually takes an infected plant nearby to cause a problem.
Problem solving A damp, heavy potting mix is the main cause of stem and root rot in Easter Cactus culture. The majority of soilless or peat lite mixtures work well, and if the mixture looks a little heavy, you can add more perlite. For usage with cacti and succulents, there are specialized cactus soils available. Growing your Easter Cactus in a clay pot will improve soil aeration and hasten the potting mix’s drying out process. Typically, this stops stem and root rot.
Easter Cactus Collection from Logee Check out our unique Easter Cactus Collection if you want to bring some springtime color into your house. These cacti bloom profusely with vibrant flowers from March through May:
To find out more about the Spring/Easter Cactus plants described in this article, click on the links below:
Which cactus is known as the Easter cactus?
Easter cactus, or Hatiora gaertneri, is a well-known spring-flowering cactus in the Cactaceae family that is grown for its vivid red blossoms that occur around Easter in the Northern Hemisphere. The closely related dwarf Easter cactus (Hatiora rosea) is a small, fragrant rose-pink flowering plant that is also grown. Both species are indigenous to Brazilian rainforests, where they thrive as epiphytes (on other plants).
Easter cactus has no spines and develops into a pendulous branched plant. The flattened cladodes (leafless photosynthetic units) with notched margins make up the segmented stems. The multiple petalsed, funnel-shaped blooms are typically borne near the terminal cladodes. For the best flower buds to develop, a period of cool weather (10 C, or roughly 50 F), throughout winter, is necessary.
What distinguishes a Christmas cactus from a Thanksgiving cactus, an Easter cactus, etc.?
The leaves of the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) have sharp protrusions that resemble crab claws. The leaves of the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesti) have rounded or teardrop-shaped projections. The leaves of the Easter cactus (Schlumbergera gaertnerrii) have rounded edges.
Are Easter and Christmas cacti the same plant?
The Schlumbergera family includes the Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus, therefore their histories are extremely similar. Both of these are tropical cactus from Brazil’s rainforests. They were found by Allen Cunningham in the early 19th century, and the genus was named in honor of an unusual botanist by the name of Frederic Schlumberger.
Schlumberger has six different species, many of which have special holiday names. Every plant has a name that refers to the season in which it blooms in the Northern Hemisphere. The Christmas cactus blooms a little bit later than the Thanksgiving cactus. However, since they both bloom in their native countries from April to May, neither term is used for them there.
The Hatiora family includes the Easter cactus. You’ll notice the difference in watering later because this succulent is also from Brazil, but it comes from the drier jungles. Sadly, not much is known about how the Easter cactus was discovered. However, the Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti are likely to be in season at the same time.
What shades are Easter cacti available in?
If you want to add a little color to your house or garden, the Easter cactus is a great option, especially around the Easter holiday when this tropical cactus is noted for its stunning and profusion of star-shaped blooms. Flowers of this native to the Brazilian jungles range from white to scarlet to purple. The Easter cactus is well known for having a long lifespan and being simple to grow, making it a popular choice for both novice and seasoned houseplant enthusiasts.
How is an Easter cactus maintained?
You might be startled to learn that there is an Easter cactus that blooms in the spring after spending years encouraging a Christmas cactus to do so on time. I know I was when I stumbled upon a tiny potted plant in a nearby nursery that had adorable, tiny flower buds.
The Easter cactus, also known as Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri by knowledgeable horticulturists, is distinct from its relatives the Christmas cactus and the Thanksgiving cactus mostly due to the season in which it blooms and the nature of its leaves. They can be picky, demanding, and resistant when it comes to flowering on command until their expectations are met, yet these various plants also share a lot in common.
Care and Feeding: To get the Easter cactus to bloom on schedule, place it in an area where daily and nighttime temperatures vary by as much as 20 degrees. It will grow in bright, indirect light (sun or shade). Give it a balanced fertilizer twice a month and water it when the soil seems dry to the touch.
Design Advice: Match a white Easter cactus with a creamy-colored planter that matches its flower buds in hue. My-shaped Ben Wolff White Clay Pot with Saucer costs $62.50.
Easter cactus won’t bloom again until the following spring when its current flowering period is over. If it’s root-bound, you can repot it in the interim, and you can prune it anyway you like.
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