Unbelievably, you might have a Thanksgiving-themed cactus rather than a Christmas-themed one! Despite having extremely similar appearances, the two plants are distinct.
Unfortunately, the fact that these Christmas succulents are sometimes mislabeled at garden centers contributes to the confusion between them. Furthermore, the misunderstanding is exacerbated by the fact that they both bloom in the late fall or early winter. But it’s good to know which one you actually possess. How to tell them apart is as follows:
Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)
The Thanksgiving cactus’ leaves can be used to distinguish it from the Christmas cactus. The leaf segments, or “phylloclades,” have pointed spines and are serrated or “toothed,” with 2-4 on each side.
Because of this, these succulents are known as “Crab Claw Cactus.” The final segment’s end has a point on either side and a little concavity.
Thanksgiving cactus flowers are created at the tips or the point where the leaf segments converge. They look like a long tube, like a flower inside a flower.
They normally bloom around Thanksgiving and come in a variety of hues, mostly pastels, such as red, pink, peach, purple, orange, or white.
Observe the pollen-bearing anthers as well.
Christmas cactus anthers are pink to purplish-brown, and Thanksgiving cactus anthers are yellow.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)
The Christmas cactus has leaves with a more rounded, scalloped edge. Although each segment’s tip has a small curvature, they can appear practically straight across.
Christmas cactus blooms often bloom in December and are pink or white. But if you notice flowers on these plants between March and May, don’t be alarmed.
Unbelievably, there is also an Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri), and you got it, it blooms in April. The leaves of these succulents feature a strong ridge on one side and tiny bristles.
The flowers are more shaped like stars. They originated in Brazil’s native, temperate woodlands. Although this cactus is significantly more susceptible to over- or under-watering, use caution when watering it.
What distinguishes a Christmas cactus from a Thanksgiving 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 profusely as during 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.
What exactly is a Thanksgiving cactus?
Thanksgiving Cactus Schlumbergera truncata is a succulent. Although it is not a genuine cactus, it is known as a leaf cactus. Instead, it is an epiphyte, a plant that grows on another plant. In contrast to the Christmas cactus, which has smoother edges, the Thanksgiving cactus has broad, flat leaves with faint serrations on the edges. Fall flowers have fuchsia-like blossoms and occur in shades of yellow, white, pink, and red.
These plants are categorized as zygocactus, which some academics argue is a misnomer and others proclaim loudly. The Thanksgiving holiday cactus is a tried-and-true winner no matter what kind of plant it is, with blooms that endure for 2 to 4 months and a laid-back disposition. The plant’s need to be tricked in order to blossom again the following year is the only serious issue.
Cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours are required to force the Thanksgiving cactus to bloom. This implies that if you are in an area without frost, you can leave the cactus outside to experience things exactly as they would be if they happened naturally. Those of us who live in colder climates will need to create artificial conditions indoors to be warm, but we may still face temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and less light, including artificial light. In the late summer or early fall, start forcing Thanksgiving cacti to bloom.
Are Thanksgiving cacti considered succulents?
Thanksgiving cacti, like other holiday cacti, prefer bright light, but not direct sunshine, which will turn them yellow. When the soil is dry throughout the spring through fall growing season, water until about one inch below the surface (poke your finger in to feel before watering). Don’t let them to fully dry out since this could cause the roots to wither as well, making them unable to absorb water when you do give them a drink. Additionally, because they are succulents, avoid keeping the soil wet to prevent rotting.
It is not required to repot Thanksgiving cactus and their relatives for a number of years because they bloom better when slightly pot-bound. During their active growing season, which lasts from April to October, feed them once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer like 20-20-20 to promote blooming.
Are dogs poisoned by Thanksgiving cactus?
- Holly (Ilex sp.). This shrub, which is frequently found around Christmas, can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Depression of the mind is also possible.
- Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp). Abdominal pain, tremors, drooling, sadness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can all be brought on by ingestion.
- Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.). Another Christmas plant, this one can also produce considerable diarrhoea and vomiting. Additionally, this plant has been linked to respiratory problems, slowing heartbeats, collapse, and, in extreme cases, death. Even more bizarre behavior and possible hallucinations may be displayed by some animals.
- Poinsettia (Euphorbia). This plant may cause nausea, vomiting, and mouth and stomach irritation. It is overrated as a toxic plant while having a low level of toxicity. Many individuals believe it to be essentially non-toxic.
- Easter cactus, Christmas cactus, and Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera or Zygocactus). Large doses of this herb have been known to cause mental depression, mental vomiting, and potentially even bloody diarrhea in dogs. Usually, there are no toxicity symptoms with minor ingestions. These plants are regarded as low-toxic ones.
How frequently do blooms on Thanksgiving cacti?
A Thanksgiving cactus will bloom once a year in the late fall if the appropriate circumstances are met. Thanksgiving cacti: How Long Do They Live? Holiday cacti are frequently handed down through the generations due to their extraordinarily long lifespan. With the right care, a Thanksgiving cactus can live up to 100 years.
Are Thanksgiving cacti perennial bloomers?
Are there additional blooms on Christmas cacti each year? In February, my Christmas cactus is flowering once more, and I describe how it happened here.
When November and December arrive, Christmas cacti are incredibly popular. They make excellent houseplants in my opinion, and I appreciate them even when they are not in flower. Did you know that they may repeat the blossom, though? Yes, Christmas cacti bloom more than once a year; mine began to do so in February.
Let’s get a little more technical for those of you who are plant nerds like me. Thanksgiving (or crab) cactus is what you are seeing here and in the video instead of Christmas cactus. It was marked as a CC when I purchased it, and that is how it is frequently offered for sale in the trade. These days, they might be identified as Holiday Cactus. Whichever one you have, it’s possible for them to bloom more than once a year.