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Christmas Cactus Or Thanksgiving Cactus – Which One Do You Have?

Christmas Cactus Or Thanksgiving Cactus – Which One Do You Have?

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As the holiday season approaches, we tend to bring out the best decorations we have. And what better way to lift up the holiday spirit than by growing a holiday cactus in your living space? 

However, there are different holiday caci that are designated for specific holidays. For instance, you can choose between Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus.  

The trick is that these cactus plants look much alike, so most gardeners are not even sure whether they are growing a Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus. Throw the Easter cactus in the mix, and you have a cacti wonderland! 

In this article, we are going to help you distinguish between them. So, let’s figure out whether you should create an arrangement around your cactus during Thanksgiving or wait until Christmas to put out your decorations. 

Let’s get started! 

Christmas Cactus vs Thanksgiving Cactus 

Since they bloom around the same time, both Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus are used for holiday decorations. These are often mistaken for one another, but there are a few tricks that can help you differentiate between the two. 

For starters, both of them belong in the Schlumbergera genus. They are short day cacti that require dark to trigger blooming. These are all similarities, but what about the differences?

The trick is to look at their leaves – Thanksgiving cactus (also called Schlumbergera truncata) has somewhat clawed leaf borders. This is why Thanksgiving cactus is also referred to as Crab cactus. 

On the other hand, Christmas cactus aka Schlumbergera bridgessi, don’t have pointed edges but notches instead. Besides the leaves, there’s really not much difference. Both produce pink, tubular-shaped flowers. 

However, Thanksgiving flowers have yellow anthers while Christmas cactus flowers have purple-brown anthers. This is hardly noticeable but useful for identification! 

As the holiday season is approaching, this article might be useful: Tips For How To Trigger Christmas Cactus Blooming

Differences Between All Three Holiday Cacti 

Easter cactus is a bit different compared to the other two. While all three are called Zygocactus, the Easter one belongs to the Rhipsalidopsis or Hatiora genus. 

Nowadays, it’s hard to tell because the gene studies often come with novelty results that lead to cacti switching from one genus to the other. All three of these cacti have about 300 different varieties, which leads to even more names and confusions. 

But to identify Easter cactus, you look at the leaf structure first. If they have smooth edges and need more time in the dark to bloom, then you are growing an Easter cactus. They also have star-shaped flowers that look slightly different from the other holiday cacti flowers. 

Source: Pinterest

Nonetheless, all three holiday cactus plants are equally beautiful and quite easy to grow. I’m sure that their festive nature will make your holidays more enjoyable! 

Also read: How Often To Water Cactus Indoors And Other Important Info