ThanksgivingCactus.com Home

Welcome To Thanksgiving Cactus.com!

This site is a resource for those interested in what are commonly called Holiday Cactus … Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, and Thanksgiving Cactus. You’ll find recommendations, care tips, and helpful suggestions for keeping your cactus healthy!

Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, and Thanksgiving Cactus …

Hi, we’re Laura and Jim Hofman. As avid gardeners, we are often given plants from friends and neighbors who are moving, need a little more space, or simply have a brown thumb …

Not long ago, we were given a very small plant that appeared to be on its last legs. At first glance, it looked like a Christmas Cactus, but he turned out to be a Thanksgiving Cactus instead (we’ll explain the difference in a moment) …

Here’s a picture of him, about a year after we adopted him … we named him “Prickly”:

Thanksgiving Cactus

“Prickly” – Our Thanksgiving Cactus

It’s been so much fun watching Prickly thrive and bloom! We decided to share our knowledge of these wonderful plants by establishing ThanksgivingCactus.com . The site will be a comprehensive resource destination for information about Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, and of course, Thanksgiving Cactus plants …

What Exactly Is A Holiday Cactus?

Holiday Cactus plants are cultivars from plants originally found in Brazil (see below for more on their history). Many hybrid varieties are available, and plants are propagated from hardy specimens to be sold during the holiday season.

All three of the cactus plants we’ll focus on (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving) are commonly known by several names, but three of these names are the most common …

The first is “Holiday Cactus”, which is strictly a generic name and not intended to depict the plant’s botanic name. The second term is “Zygocactus”, which is still commonly used but is basically a synonym for the official botanic name.

The third term is indeed the official botanic name, which is applied to both the Thanksgiving Cactus and the Christmas Cactus, but not the Easter Cactus. The name is Schlumbergera. The Easter Cactus is a different genus, and it’s proper name is Hatiora. For more on the history of these cactus plants, visit this Wiki page

These plants are also occasionally called Crab Cactus, Claw Cactus, and Link Cactus. No matter what name they are called, they are still a Schlumbergera or a Hatiora

To avoid confusion, henceforth on this site we’ll be referring to these plants by their common names …

What Is The Difference Between Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, and Easter Cactus?

Actually, all three look very similar to one another! It’s difficult to tell them apart …

See A Beautiful Collection Of Holiday Cactus Plants – Click Here!

The easiest way to know the difference is when they bloom. The Easter Cactus (a different genus as noted above) blooms in the spring. The Thanksgiving Cactus blooms in November, and the Christmas Cactus blooms in December or January.

There are more sight specific methods to tell them apart, other than when they bloom. Here are diagrams of each, starting with the Thanksgiving Cactus:

Thanksgiving Cactus

Notice how the Thanksgiving Cactus has segments (known as phylloclades) that are spreading out and erect. Contrast that with those of the Christmas Cactus, which tend to arc downward. Also, the phylloclades have soft points on the Thanksgiving Cactus, which is largely absent on the Christmas Cactus.

Now, here’s a diagram of a Christmas Cactus:

Christmas Cactus

The flower of the Christmas Cactus tends to be more symmetrical than the flowers of both the Thanksgiving and Easter Cactus.

Finally, here’s a diagram of an Easter Cactus:

Easter Cactus

The Easter Cactus has two distinguishing features which set it apart from the other two Holiday Cactus plants. The phylloclades are noticeably thicker, and small bristles will form at their tips.
For more specifics on the blooming cycles of each, check out their care pages in the right hand side menu.

Where Are These Plants From? Where Do They Grow In The Wild?

These cactus plants originated near the coastal area of Brazil, as shown in the diagram below. They are not, therefore, anything like the traditional cactus you’ll see in the desert areas of the southwestern United States. They are basically known as a jungle cactus and grow on rocks that are cracked or split, on or around boulders, and in branches of trees.

Christmas Cactus Map

The area where these plants thrive in Brazil is high in humidity and moderate in light. Elevation is about 2500 feet above sea level, with cool temperatures at night. Humidity is a big factor for these plants to thrive outdoors, but most indoor environments are quite acceptable, unless your home is exceptionally low humidity. Lower light conditions play a large part in when these plants produce their colorful blooms, which is why they “come to life” in the colder months when other plants are semi dormant …

In the last 50 years, these cactus plants have been cross bred, resulting in a spectacular variety of bloom colors! Our Thanksgiving Cactus produces pinkish-peach colored blooms, while others bloom in vibrant shades of white, red, yellow, and orange.

These plants are most popular during the traditional holiday season because that’s when they bloom. However, they’re very handsome plants even when they’re not in bloom, and they’re generally easy care. Don’t discard your plant after it finishes blooming for the season! With minimal care, your holiday cactus will live for years … even decades!

Be sure to explore all the articles on our site to learn more about these wonderful cactus plants. Thanks very much for visiting us at ThanksgivingCactus.com !

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS