A Guide to Holiday Cacti Care – The Basics Pt. 1

As the holiday season approaches, many gardeners turn their attention to indoor plants that bring a touch of festive magic to their homes. Among the stars of seasonal flora are holiday cacti, charming succulents that bloom in vibrant hues, creating a cheerful ambiance. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of holiday cacti, exploring their varieties and offering essential tips for care to ensure a spectacular display during the holidays and beyond.
Christmas Cactus (schlumbergera) isolated on white background

Types of Holiday Cacti

Three popular types of holiday cacti dominate the market: Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi), and Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri). While they share similar care requirements, each variety has its unique characteristics and bloom times.

Pink christmas Zygocactus (syn. Schlumberga) flower

Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata):

Named for its tendency to bloom around the Thanksgiving holiday in the Northern Hemisphere, this cactus boasts flattened stems with pointed teeth along the edges. Its flowers range from white and pink to deep red, creating a stunning contrast against the green foliage.

Schlumbergera Gaertneri with white flowers, close-up with a dark background

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi):

A popular choice for holiday décor, the Christmas Cactus typically blooms in December, showering its caretakers with an array of vibrant flowers. Recognizable by its scalloped, claw-like stem segments, this cactus offers blooms in shades of pink, red, and white.




Fine leaves of the flower of Schlumbergera with drops of water

Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri):

Distinguished by its rounder and more segmented stems, the Easter Cactus usually blooms around Easter, as the name suggests. Its flowers come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, and lavender, bringing a touch of pastel elegance to your indoor garden.

Care Tips for Holiday Cacti


Place your holiday cactus in bright, indirect light. While they can tolerate some direct sunlight, too much can lead to scorched stems.

A wall home thermostat being adjusted.


Keep your cactus in a cool to moderate temperature range, ideally between 60-70°F (15-24°C). Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations, as these can stress the plant.


Watering can on a lawn. Photo taken 05-01-20.

Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s crucial to strike a balance. Use well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging.


Maintain a moderate level of humidity, especially during the winter months when indoor heating can dry the air. Placing a tray of water near the cactus or misting occasionally can help.


Feed your holiday cactus with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer). Reduce or cease fertilization during the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

Christmas cactus plant. Schlumbergera gaertneri
Holiday cacti are not only festive additions to your indoor garden but also resilient plants that can thrive with proper care. By providing the right environment and attention, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning display of blooms, turning your home into a holiday haven. So, embrace the charm of holiday cacti this season and create a vibrant, living celebration in the heart of your home.

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Posted: November 20, 2023

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, HOME LANDSCAPES, Lawn,
Tags: Cacti, Cactus, Christmas Cactus, Garden, Gardening, House Plans

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