Holyday Cactus

Schlumbergera truncata is the Holiday/Thanksgiving cactus. It is called a leaf cactus but is not a true cactus. Rather it is an epiphyte, those plants which live on other plants. The leaves are broad and flat with slight serrations on the edges in the Thanksgiving vs. Christmas cactus, which has smoother edges.

One of the most crucial aspects of Thanksgiving cactus plant care is water. These tropical plants should not be allowed to dry out; however, excess water at the roots can cause rotting and fungal issues. As an epiphyte, it often has exposed roots and gathers most of its moisture through humidity in the air. Potted plants need well-draining soil and good drainage. Water thoroughly and then allow the top 1/3 of soil dry out before you water again.

The flowers that appear in fall are similar to fuchsia blooms and come in hues of yellow, white, pink and red. These plants are classed as Zygocactus, which some scholars call a misnomer, while others shout it from the roof tops. Whatever type of plant it is, the Thanksgiving holiday cactus is a proven winner, with blooms that last for 2 to 4 months and an easy-going nature. The only real problem with the plant is its need to be fooled in order to bloom again the next year. Forcing Thanksgiving cactus to bloom requires cool temperatures and shorter daylight hours. That means if you live in a region with no frost, you can leave the cactus outside to experience just what is naturally occurring. Those of us who live where temperatures get cold will have to create false conditions indoors to protect them from the cold, but can experience cool temps down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 C.) and reduced light, including artificial light. Start forcing Thanksgiving cactus to bloom in late summer to early fall.