How to Tell the Thanksgiving Cactus Apart From The Christmas Cactus

I can still remember the first time my Christmas cactus bloomed in my sun-room. It seemed to be one of those novelty plants you buy someone as a gift or bring home to enjoy during the Holidays and then dumb in the compost pile come Spring.  Little did I know that if you take care of the plant it will bloom again and again! In this post we learn about How to Tell the Thanksgiving Cactus Apart From The Christmas Cactus

Cactus Pink

Thanksgiving V.S. Christmas Cactus | Interview with Houseplant Guru

Find this interview and more on Creative Living with Bren Haas Show. 

What’s with The Name?

Would the REAL Schlumbergera bridgesii please stand up... Did you know that most of these plants labelled Christmas cactus are impostors?  At the store most ‘Christmas’ Cactusare actually the Thanksgiving Cactus. It is true….my friend  Lisa Eldred Steinkopf who is the Author of Houseplants – the Complete Guide first broke the news to me on my Creative Living with Bren Haas show. She shared that the Christmas cactus isn’t really the original cactus but that the plant has been hybridized. The new plant was being called her grandmothers Schlumbergera bridgesii cactus.  The true Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) blooms later in the year than the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata).  Lisa  also shares on her blog the best way to tell the plants apart.

How to tell the Thanksgiving Cactus from at Christmas Cactus

The easiest way to tell them apart, though, is the shape of their stem segments or phylloclades (cladodes). The Latin for leaf is phyllo- and for branch is -clade. They both have these flattened stem segments, but the Thanksgiving cactus has segments with small pointed appendages, whereas the Christmas cactus has rounded edges. By the way, they really are cactus. Epiphytic cactus, as they grow in Brazilian rainforests in trees, but cactus none the less.  read more at HouseplantGuru.blogpost.com 

Segments From The Plants

Images by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf

How to Water the Christmas Cactus

Lisa recommends during the interview that the Thanksgiving/ Christmas Cactus is watered once a week. I like to do the finger in soil test after watering making sure the top of the soil is very wet.  The cactus plants did not like to be completely dry.  Or it will look sad and dry like mine did in the video presentation above.  Use a watering can and pour the water directly into the soil around the plant.  Lisa also recommended taking the saucer of the container and filling it with pebbles that you will fill with water providing a microclimate for the plant indoors.   I hope you will Tweet  Lisa and ask her if anyone else in her household ever takes showers with her plants! 

[Tweet “Hey @houseplantguru anyone showering with plants in your household? #gardenchat “]

Caring is Sharing

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How to Tell Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus apart

Let’s Connect

Your comments mean to world to me so be sure to leave one below.  I’d love to hear what you think about a cactus blooming during the Christmas season so check out my contact page!

Happy Gardening,

 

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