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HomePlant ProblemsMethods to Plant, Develop, and Take care of Thanksgiving Cactus

Methods to Plant, Develop, and Take care of Thanksgiving Cactus

Whether or not you’re searching for residing Thanksgiving décor, a vibrant pop of coloration across the holidays, or just a stupendous flowering houseplant, Thanksgiving cactus checks all of the bins. It’s notably standard round November however makes an equally alluring houseplant for the remainder of the 12 months when it’s not in flower.

There are some tips to getting these crops to look their finest round Thanksgiving time, however they aren’t actually thought of troublesome to look after. In case you’re a newbie questioning whether or not this plant is best for you, you’re in the appropriate place.


Close-up of a blooming Thanksgiving cactus in a large terracotta pot. The plant blooms with large beautiful flowers of bright pink color with white elements.

Watering Necessities


Pests & Ailments

Mealybug, spider mites, root rot

Soil Sort

Effectively-draining cactus or orchid combine

What Is It?

Close-up of a blooming Thanksgiving cactus in a decorative gray pot against a white wall. The plant features flat, segmented leaves that are generally smooth and toothed along the edges. It produces stunning, pendulous flowers that are tubular in shape and bright pink in color.
These crops are saved as houseplants attributable to their adaptability to indoor situations.

Thanksgiving cactus is thought firstly for its vibrant and complicated flowers that pop up on the good time for the vacation they’re named after. As a vacation cactus, it’s usually in comparison with or confused with the Christmas cactus. However whereas there are some similarities, they’re nonetheless totally different species with distinctive traits.

Scientifically generally known as Schlumbergera truncata, this cactus is just not a ‘cactus’ within the conventional sense. It originates from jungle environments, rising as an epiphyte connected to timber. Indigenous to heat and balmy South America, this plant naturally thrives beneath the canopies of tall timber. This partially shaded setting matches the situations usually discovered in lots of properties, which explains why it’s saved as a houseplant.

The attribute flowers seem late fall, so long as they obtain the appropriate care. For the remainder of the 12 months, you possibly can take pleasure in them for his or her fascinating form and cascading nature.

Thanksgiving Cactus Vs. Christmas Cactus

Image comparison of two plant species Thanksgiving Cactus Vs. Christmas Cactus. Thanksgiving Cactus features flat, segmented stems with jagged edges. Christmas Cactus, scientifically known as Schlumbergera bridgesii or Schlumbergera buckleyi, showcases flat, cascading stems with distinctive, flattened leaf segments. The leaves have slightly smoothed scalloped edges. The flower is large, features multiple layers of delicate, curved petals of bright pink color with a white base.
Essential distinctions embrace serrated stems, November flowers, and upright development.

Every of the vacation cacti seems remarkably comparable, and it may be arduous to inform them aside at first look. Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti are sometimes in contrast, with very comparable flowers and total shapes. However, should you look intently, there are some things that set it aside:

  • Stems: Thanksgiving cactus stem segments have serrated slightly than rounded edges.
  • Flowers: Thanksgiving cactus blooms in late November, versus late December.
  • Type: Thanksgiving cactus stems stay upright slightly than cascading down like a Christmas cactus.

It’s vital to know which species you’re coping with, particularly should you depend on the plant to flower at a sure time.

Methods to Develop

In case you perceive their native environments and attempt to match situations as finest as potential, Thanksgiving cactus is a breeze to develop. It may be just a little tough to get them to flower on the proper time, however past that, they’re remarkably beginner-friendly.


Close-up of a blooming Thanksgiving cactus in a white pot on a light windowsill. The plant produces long, dark green, segmented stems. Each stem has serrated edges. The plant has colorful and tubular flowers. The flowers have multiple layers of petals in white with bright pink edges.
Thanksgiving cacti thrive in vibrant, oblique gentle and should keep away from full solar, as direct daylight can stress them.

Whereas they admire loads of vibrant, oblique gentle for sturdy flowering, this species is just not keen on full solar – regardless of what the ‘cactus’ within the title could make you consider.

The stems are delicate to extreme direct daylight, which may result in a yellowing or perhaps a reddish tint to the leaves, indicating stress. An east-facing window that receives light, direct solar within the morning and oblique gentle for the remainder of the day is good.

Relating to flowering, these crops require durations of darkness to encourage bud formation. Protecting them in round 12 nighttimes every day over a number of weeks will sign to the plant that it’s time to begin producing flowers. That is simpler indoors, the place management over gentle publicity is simpler.

As soon as they begin flowering, keep away from conserving the plant in low-light areas for a lot of the day. Lack of daylight will prohibit flowering and might result in a better threat of rot should you’re not watering rigorously.


Close-up of a blooming Thanksgiving cactus in a small brown plastic pot. The plant is covered with drops of water. Thanksgiving cactus features flat, segmented leaves that are smooth and toothed along the edges. The leaves are dark green with purple-brown edges. It produces stunning tubular flowers in a soft pink hue.
These cacti thrive in moist and humid situations, absorbing moisture from the air and needing common watering.

Imagining a typical cactus, you might consider dry soil and little to no watering. Nonetheless, whereas these epiphytes maintain some moisture of their leaves, they’re not accustomed to the identical sandy and dry situations.

In moist and humid jungles, Thanksgiving cacti take up moisture from the air and tree gaps. They admire common watering but in addition want loads of oxygen round their roots to keep away from rot and stunted development.

In case you’ve planted them in the appropriate soil, you possibly can deal with them such as you would different epiphytes, like orchids. Give them a deep watering every time the soil begins to dry out, making certain any extra drains out the underside of the pot earlier than you substitute the plant.

After blooming, development slows, and your cactus gained’t require as a lot consideration to remain pleased. The soil can dry out a bit extra between watering periods, mimicking the pure cycles in its native habitat.


Close-up of a woman's hands pouring fresh soil into a black plastic pot. The soil is dark brown, loose, slightly moist.
To assist its epiphytic nature, this plant requires well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

As their epiphytic roots attain into the gaps of towering timber of their native habitats, common potting soil and even backyard soil gained’t fairly match as much as their wants. A well-draining, nutrient-rich soil combine that leaves loads of air across the roots is crucial if you would like the crops to flower or merely dwell longer than just a few months.

The soil combine you select needs to be free and ethereal, permitting water to drip by whereas additionally offering sufficient retention to maintain the roots evenly moist. My beneficial combine combines potting soil with perlite, coconut coir, and bark for a chunky and well-draining medium. You may also use a well-draining cacti and succulent combine if you have already got some mendacity round.

Temperature and Humidity

Close-up of a blooming Thanksgiving cactus in a large gray ceramic pot, outdoors. The plant has many upright, slightly bending, flat, segmented stems that are dark green and slightly glossy. The flowers are large, tubular, bright red.
To advertise flowering, preserve reasonable to heat indoor temperatures round 70°F, with barely cooler situations.

Temperature and humidity are very important situations to manage to make sure profitable flowering. Slightly than the new and dry situations many members of the cactus household require, the Thanksgiving cactus appreciates jungle situations like many different houseplants.

Indoors, this interprets to reasonable to heat temperatures and comparatively excessive humidity. Round 70F is good for constant development all year long. Fast fluctuations in temperature could confuse the plant and impression flowering time. Round Thanksgiving, barely cooler temperatures will set off flowering. 

An integral a part of conserving situations constant is avoiding positions with frequent drafts, akin to these in entrance of an open window or door. Equally, maintain your plant distant from heaters or air conditioners.

Humidity performs an equally pivotal position in well being. These crops thrive in excessive humidity, ideally above 50%, to match situations of their native habitats. They will deal with barely decrease humidity however could face development issues if the air is just too dry, together with an absence of flowers.

There are just a few tips you possibly can attempt in case your indoor humidity isn’t fairly what this plant prefers. Grouping a number of crops collectively, putting the pot on a tray full of pebbles and water, or putting the plant in high-humidity rooms are methods to boost the ambient humidity barely.

But when your indoor air may be very dry, think about using a humidifier to make sure this plant (and another houseplants you could have) are a lot happier of their properties.


Close-up of a blooming Thanksgiving cactus in a clay pot on a wooden table indoors. The plant has long, flat, segmented stems that are dark green in color. These stems have leaf-like segments with jagged edges, slightly reminiscent of crab claws. The flowers are large, tubular in shape, with many petals that open in a star-like shape. The flowers are bicolor white and red.
To foster development and ample flowering, common fertilization is essential.

For sturdy development and prolific flowering in containers, a daily fertilizing routine is crucial. Whereas good diet begins with good soil, your crops will nonetheless want an additional enhance to offer them all the things they should develop and flower.

Fortunately, you don’t want something fancy – a balanced liquid fertilizer will ship all the things the plant wants, changing any vitamins misplaced by absorption or overhead watering. Make sure you observe the beneficial dosage on the fertilizer packaging, as an extra may cause root development and stunt development slightly than enhance it.

How usually you fertilize will rely on the product, but it surely’s usually finest to use liquid fertilizer round as soon as monthly. After flowering, you can too gradual fertilizing to offer the roots just a little break.


Close-up of a woman in a blue sweater holding a blooming Thanksgiving cactus in a white pot. Schlumbergera truncata, commonly known as the Thanksgiving cactus, features flat, segmented stems that are dark green and glossy. Thanksgiving cactus striking are its colorful and tubular flowers. These blooms are pink and they emerge from the tips of the stem segments. The flowers have multiple layers of petals, giving them a distinctive and vibrant appearance
After the blooming season, trim the cactus in spring to encourage new development and extra flowers.

As soon as the blooming season ends, a fast pruning session will assist take away any problematic areas to advertise sturdy development the next season. Gently trimming again the stems in spring can assist promote new development, encourage branching, and, by extension, ship much more flowers annually.

Deadheading (gently eradicating spent flowers) also can assist preserve the aesthetic attraction of the cactus all through the season. Not solely does this make the plant look tidier, but it surely additionally directs vitality towards producing new flowers.

Vigilance additionally falls beneath upkeep, notably regarding pests and ailments. Preserve a detailed eye out for annoying pests like mealybugs or frequent ailments like root rot to resolve the problem earlier than it takes over.


Thanksgiving Cactus Propagation. Close-up of stem cuttings planted in a propagation pot. These cuttings are short, flat, segmented plant stems with jagged edges. They are dark green in color with a slightly glossy texture.
Schlumbergera truncata may be simply propagated from wholesome stem cuttings, ideally with three segments.

Take Cuttings

Schlumbergera truncata is finest propagated from stem cuttings, permitting you to develop your assortment 12 months after 12 months with out spending an additional cent. The method can also be extremely easy, even for novices who haven’t tried houseplant propagation but.

Begin by rigorously selecting a wholesome and damage-free stem, ideally one with three segments, for one of the best possibilities of rooting. Utilizing a pointy, sterilized knife or shears, make a clear reduce into the stem, making certain minimal injury to the dad or mum plant and the chopping.

The following step is (considerably) optionally available however does assist keep away from rotting in cacti and different succulent crops. Depart the segments in a cool, dry location for a day or two to permit the stem to develop a callous and heal barely earlier than planting. This barrier will restrict the possibilities of rot, growing your success charge. Though it requires some persistence, it’s much better than having all of your cuttings rot earlier than they will root.

Root in Soil

As soon as the reduce finish has developed a callous, put together a small pot with a well-draining potting combine. I exploit a mix of coconut coir and perlite to root cuttings within the soil, however you can too add a little bit of orchid bark to spice up drainage.  

Gently insert the calloused finish of the cuttings into the soil, making certain the foundation aspect is down. In case you plant within the unsuitable orientation, there is no such thing as a probability your cuttings will have the ability to develop roots the other way up. Water gently and place the pot in a heat space with vibrant oblique gentle to advertise root development.

In just a few weeks, it’s best to discover the chopping starting to ascertain roots, indicated by new development or resistance when evenly tugged. Modify your care because the plant grows to offer the appropriate moisture and vitamins on the proper time.

Widespread Issues

This plant is beginner-friendly, however there are just a few areas the place you might journey up. Look out for these frequent issues to return your plant to good well being very quickly.

Bud Drop

Close-up of red buds on a Thanksgiving cactus. The plant has long, flat, segmented stems that are dark green in color. These leaf-like segments have jagged edges. The buds are small, cone-shaped, bright red in color, and grow on the edges of the stems.
Flower drop occurs with abrupt shifts in temperature, gentle, or sometimes humidity.

Bud drop happens attributable to sudden modifications in temperature, gentle, or, much less incessantly, humidity. Preserve the environmental situations constant, particularly through the budding and blooming part. Keep away from transferring the plant round when flowering. Select a great place for development and persist with it till flowering is full.

Root Rot

Top view, close-up of a Thanksgiving cactus in a large white old pot. The plant has long, flat, segmented leaves that act as stems. These segments have jagged edges and are dark green in color.
Poor drainage may be remedied by including perlite and orchid bark to the potting combine.

Root rot is attributable to extreme watering or, extra generally, an absence of drainage within the soil. A brand new potting combine amended with perlite and orchid bark to spice up drainage can resolve soil points.

For overwatering, regulate your routine and maintain the plant in a vibrant space. Chances are you’ll have to trim the roots again to take away the foundation rot fungus and cease it from spreading.


Close-up of Mealybugs on a cactus stem. Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects that are white in color. They are covered in a waxy, cottony substance that can make them resemble tiny pieces of cotton or lint. Mealybugs have a segmented body with numerous legs, and they cluster in colonies, feeding on plant sap. They are small, oval-shaped, with a white, powdery coating.
Thanksgiving cacti are liable to mealybugs and spider mites, which may be managed utilizing neem oil.

Mealybugs and spider mites generally plague Thanksgiving cacti. Recognized by their white, cottony look, mealybugs may be managed utilizing neem oil or insecticidal cleaning soap. High-quality webbing between stem segments signifies an situation with spider mites, handled equally to mealybugs.


Close-up of a Thanksgiving cactus with discolored leaves. The plant has flat, segmented stems. These segments resemble leaves and have jagged edges. The leaves are pale green and yellowish in color.
An excessive amount of solar or inadequate watering may cause discoloration of foliage.

Discoloration usually outcomes from extreme daylight or insufficient watering. Adjusting the sunshine situations to take care of vibrant, oblique gentle all through the day with out an excessive amount of publicity to direct solar. An everyday watering routine (in different phrases, not beneath or overwatering) also can assist flip discolored segments inexperienced once more.


Close-up of a Thanksgiving cactus with tiny buds on the edges of the stems reaching towards the sunlight. Stems are vertical, flat, segmented, dark green. These segments are smooth with jagged edges.
Stretching happens attributable to inadequate gentle, prompting the plant to succeed in for gentle sources.

Etiolation, or stretching or elongation of the plant’s foliage, is attributable to insufficient gentle. A scarcity of solar will trigger the plant to stretch out towards the closest gentle supply, negatively impacting development. Transfer the container to a brighter place with out going to the alternative excessive. Inside just a few weeks, new development ought to return to regular, however you might need to prune again stretched areas to enhance the general look of the plant.

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

This plant wants just a few weeks of darker days (round 12-14 hours per day) to push the plant to develop buds. In the event that they don’t obtain a lot darkness within the place they’re positioned in indoors, place the plant in a darker room to simulate quick days and lengthy nights. If it’s nonetheless not blooming and that isn’t the trigger, search for variations in setting.

Whereas they’re each holiday-blooming cacti, these two crops are totally different species. Probably the most notable distinction is that they bloom at totally different instances, therefore the frequent names. Nonetheless, you can too take a look at the form of the segments to inform the distinction between the 2. The sides of the Thanksgiving cactus are barely serrated, whereas the Christmas cactus is clean.

As tropical crops, they will develop outdoor in heat tropical and sub-tropical areas. These in USDA zones 10 and above can take pleasure in rising these crops outdoors year-round, however in different areas, it’s finest to maintain them indoors and shielded from the chilly. Indoor areas additionally let you higher management their environmental situations, translating to improved development.

Last Ideas

Following the following tips, you’ll have the ability to maintain your Thanksgiving cactus pleased and (most significantly) blooming 12 months after 12 months.



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