header image

Holiday Cactus

Holiday Cactus

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Cactus 

All three succulents come from the coastal mountains of Brazil and grow in shade to part-shade in high humidity. They all bloom at various times. Flowers and leaves are slightly different.  

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) have broad, pointy leaves


Thanksgiving cactus

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)  have flat, scalloped leaves

Christmas cactus

Easter cactus (Schlumbergera, Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) have rounded, scalloped leaves

Easter Cactus


All 3 varieties have the same environmental requirements. It is best if they are placed in an east-facing window, as strong bright sunlight can cause the leaves to fade and scald. Plant them using an excellent quality cactus or succulent soil in a pot that has a drain hole. They prefer the nighttime temperature to be around sixty-five degrees and the daytime temperature in the mid to high seventies.  

Water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry – typically once every 2-3 weeks when indoors. If you put your plant outside in the summer keep it in shade and physically check soil to know when to water it. Keep in mind when holiday cacti are flowering it is good to keep your soil more moist, as flowering takes moisture to keep flowers nice.  

You may feed your plant monthly with a regular house plant fertilizer. Reduce nutrients and water less after flowering to give your plant a rest. An eight-week rest works well for most plants. 

If your plant gets leggy, prune after flowering by pinching off excess leaves at the joints. You may repot these to start new plants.  

These are long-lived plants, many being around and passed down for over 100 years. They seem to be perfectly happy being slightly pot bound. If you re-pot make sure you do not increase the pot size by more than 1-2 inches.  

Christmas cactus

Also in Lawn & Garden Blog

Ilex verticillata or Winterberry

Commonly known as Winterberry, this deciduous holly flowers along the stem and develops brightly colored red, orange, or salmon berries in the fall. Native to eastern North America and typically found in damp...

Continue Reading

basket of evergreens & berries
December in the Landscape

One of the harbingers of the winter holiday season is our native Ilex verticillata or Winterberry Holly.  Glossy red, scarlet, salmon or gold berries cover the stems of these shrubs during the winter months. 

Continue Reading

Dwarf Conifers
Dwarf Conifers

Dwarf conifers are an excellent landscape plant for smaller gardensMost conifers are evergreen, so they provide year-round interest in the landscapeThey give structure to the landscape

Continue Reading