Succulents of the Cactaceae family include the Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus, and Easter cactus. These festive cacti are frequently sold in stores under generic names like “Christmas cactus” or “holiday cactus.” These cactus plants’ leaves and blooming periods are the key variations between them:
- 1. Early winter is when Christmas cacti blossom. The authentic Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) blooms in the first few weeks of December and has scalloped leaves.
- 2. Early spring is when Easter cacti bloom. Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, also known as Hatiora gaertneri, is an Easter cactus that blooms in February or March and has rounded leaves.
- 3. Late fall is when Thanksgiving cacti bloom. The crab cactus, also known as the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), has claw-like leaves and blooms in the late fall.
How often does a Thanksgiving cactus bloom each year?
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.
Do Thanksgiving cacti have two blooming seasons?
On occasion, in March, Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti bloom profusely. This sort of thing does occur occasionally. Even while these flowers are typically more sparse than those you’ll see during the holidays, don’t be shocked if you see them from March to May. The majority of holiday cactus bloom more than once per year, which is the cause. Look for any buds that are developing in the spaces between the leaf segments. Using the methods mentioned above, you can encourage them to blossom, or you can just watch to see what occurs.
At any time of year, take advantage of the vibrant blossoms and post images to our Facebook page!
A Thanksgiving cactus blooms for how long?
The popular Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti, Schumbergera truncata and Schumbergera x buckleyi, are native to Brazil and bloom in the fall and winter. They come in a wide range of hues, including red, rose, purple, lavender, peach, orange, cream, and white. These Schlumbergera species are excellent choices for hanging baskets because to their pendulous stems, which allow them to grow as epiphytes among tree branches in gloomy rain forests.
Thanksgiving cactus typically flower around Thanksgiving, about a month before Christmas cacti bloom, when planted under regular night length conditions. The Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri; synonym Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri), which blooms intermittently throughout the year with pink or red flowers, is another member of the group of cacti sold as holiday decorations. The Thanksgiving cactus is most frequently found for sale during the winter holiday season because of when it blooms. If the plants are kept at 68 oF, flowering can extend up to 7 to 8 weeks.
You can tell the Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus apart by observing the shape of the flattened stem segments, or phylloclades as they are known botanically. Each of these stem segments on the Thanksgiving cactus has 2 to 4 saw-toothed serrations or projections along the borders. The Christmas cactus has more rounded stem edges. Both of these holiday cactus lack genuine leaves, thus photosynthesis takes place inside the green phylloclades.
Based on the color of the pollen-bearing anthers, a second way to identify between these two Schlumbergera species. The Thanksgiving cactus has yellow anthers, whereas the Christmas cactus has purplish-brown anthers.
Is it normal for my Thanksgiving cactus to bloom in March?
At the Information Desk, we occasionally receive inquiries that appear more complicated than they actually are. “Why is my Christmas Cactus flowering in March?” was this week’s riddle. This is actually pretty easy to answer: Because it is an Easter Cactus and not a Christmas Cactus.
Most people imagine Christmas Cactus when they see this plant. By the end of the year, you can get them almost anywhere – in grocery stores, big-box retailers, or even in white, red, or pink hues.
Three distinct cactus from the same family have collectively come to be known as “Christmas Cactus.” What most people mistakenly believe to be a “Christmas cactus” is actually a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter cactus. How do you distinguish between the two? Is it currently in bloom? Which month is it now? Is it early November, late December, or the end of winter/beginning of spring? You may get a major hint from that. The leaves, though, are where you can really tell them apart.
The leaf parts of all three plants are mushy and flat. The edges of the leaves on Thanksgiving cactus are longer and curled. The Easter cactus has only gently scalloped leaf margins, whereas the Christmas cactus has smaller, more right-angle-like projections. These succulents are part of the Schlumbergera genius of succulents (although Easter cactus has multiple accepted names: Schlumbergera gaertneri, Phipsalidopsis gaertnerii, Rhipsalidopsis gaetneri or Hatiora gaetneri). The Brazilian woodlands are home to all three.
These cacti have a very long lifespan and are frequently passed down within families from one generation to the next. This image is from a Bismarck Tribune article about a family’s cactus, which is 111 years old. Writer Ann Parr wrote about her family’s 150+ year old cactus in response to a news article about a 145 year old cactus owned by a family in Bozeman, Montana.
“Christmas Cactus” is a deceptive popular name. These plants are not drought-resistant, sun-loving cactus. Due to their native habitat of the treetops of Brazil’s coastal mountain ranges, they want bright, filtered sunlight and regular watering to prevent their potting soil from drying up altogether. They thrive in pots, which makes them much simpler to care for since they don’t need to be replanted.
They should be cared for like a houseplant once the blossoms have faded. They should be watered frequently and should be in bright light but not direct sunlight. If their pots are put in dappled shade, they are watered frequently, and they are taken inside before nightly lows of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they can be cultivated outside during the summer. You may have a healthy, happy plant by fertilizing it once a year in late spring or early summer.
How to get Christmas Cactus to bloom again after the first year is the most typical query people have about them. Cooler temperatures and extended nights are necessary for blooms. Because they are short-day plants, these cacti bloom when it is a long, cool, dark night. For between 3 and 6 weeks, they require between 14 and 16 hours of nonstop darkness and 8 hours of daylight to form flower buds. You can either choose a room in your home that is rarely used at night and install them near a window, or cover streetlights and interior lights each night to maintain their required darkness cycle. It will be much better if the room’s temps are a little lower. Their preferred overnight temperature ranges from 50 to 68 degrees. You can return the plant to its original location in your house as flower buds start to form along the leaf edges so you can enjoy the blossoms.
Be cautious while including them in drafts. Bud decline may result from drafts. A few buds falling off is typical, but if the plant loses all of its buds at once due to a draft, you’re out of luck for another year.
You may get a lovely, free leaflet about the maintenance and growth of Holiday Cactus from Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University here.
How do I get my cactus to bloom?
Cacti and succulents prefer summer and winter seasons, as well as a clear variation between night and day temperatures. Succulents prefer colder outdoor nighttime temperatures of 50-550F (10-130C) or at least 60-650F indoor nighttime temperatures (15-180C). Succulents prefer a noticeable contrast between their night and day temperatures to imitate their natural habitat, with the low night temperatures playing a crucial role in the plant’s growth cycle, especially when kept in a controlled setting.
If you want to see your succulents and cacti bloom, overwintering is also crucial. For desert cacti in particular, this can be accomplished by keeping plants cool and largely dry over the winter. During the winter, keep them at a comfortable temperature of between 35 and 440 °F (1.5-70C). If maintained indoors during the winter, try to keep them in an unheated room or keep the temperature low to provide them the necessary cold winter season. This does not apply to holiday cacti, such as Rhipsalis, Schlembergera, and Hatiora, which have different moisture and temperature needs than desert cacti (see below for Holiday cactus blooming tips).
Make sure the plants are kept in a bright area and receive enough sunshine throughout the year, including during the darker winter months. Most succulents and cacti require at least 4-6 hours of bright sunshine every day, if not more. Some plants require filtered but bright light to avoid solar damage since they cannot withstand harsh, full sun. Lack of light causes plants to gradually etiolate, become paler, and spread out in search of more light. To provide adequate lighting, place indoor plants in windows with a south or east orientation. If more light is required indoors, think about using grow lights. Lack of sunshine stunts the growth of succulent plants, and they are unlikely to blossom as effectively.
Giving your plants the nutrition they require instead of fertilizing them will assist maintain healthy growth and promote blooms. Flowers require a lot of energy to grow, therefore giving plants more nutrients during flowering season will assist meet their nutritional requirements. The best time to fertilize is during the active growing season, which is in the spring and summer. Fertilizers work best when applied every two weeks at a quarter- or half-strength. Avoid fertilizing during the winter and towards the conclusion of the fall growing season. It is acceptable and typical to use a balanced fertilizer blend that has been diluted to half strength. Cacti and succulent-specific fertilizer mixtures are also appropriate.
Although cacti and succulents can store water, they still require frequent watering during the active growing season. Regular watering helps to guarantee that they don’t lose all the water they need to store for growth. Regular watering also improves their ability to resist the hotter summer sun. Water plants thoroughly during the active growing season until water begins to leak out of the pot’s openings. Don’t water again until the soil has dried out. Before watering, check the top inch of the soil for moisture. During the hot summer months, watering should be done more frequently; during the chilly winter months, less frequently. Succulents and cacti suffer from overwatering, so make sure to let the soil dry out in between waterings.
Succulents and cacti require a well-draining soil in addition to suitable watering methods. Cacti and succulents don’t like to sit in water. If left moist for too long, their roots are prone to rot. The capacity of a succulent potting mix to drain efficiently is its most crucial requirement. You have the option of using store-bought potting soil or making your own for succulents. Giving them the proper medium increases their chances of flourishing and blossoming. Keeping your plants content will boost blooming.