Christmas Vs Thanksgiving Cactus
Holiday cactus are a very popular gift during the holiday season, but they can be confusing to identify. The most common confusion is between Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus.
The differences between these two types of holiday cactus are mainly in their appearance and flower color, but a few other things can also help you make the right decision. For starters, where the plant is from can help you determine what it is.
They’re both epiphytes growing naturally in the rainforests of Brazil, so their habitat and natural environment have a lot to do with what they look like and how they bloom. They are also very similar in their care requirements and basic needs.
Both the Thanksgiving cactus and the Christmas cactus are very easy to grow as houseplants, so they’re perfect for beginners. They don’t require a lot of water and they’re easy to propagate from stem cuttings, so they’re an ideal choice for gift giving.
Christmas cactus flowers – These come in a variety of colors, and the blooms hang down on the stems and have evenly spaced petals around the center. They’re usually pink, but can be other colors as well.
Thanksgiving cactus flowers – These are more vertical to the plant and have a wider range of colors. They’re not as wide and flat when they open up, so they’re easier to tell apart from the other two.
The best way to tell if you’re dealing with a true Christmas or a Thanksgiving cactus is by the shape of their leaves and stems. The stems of a Christmas cactus are smooth and scallop shaped with rounded edges, while the stems of a Thanksgiving cactus have spiky points.
Another way to tell them apart is by the shape of their flowers. The flowers of a Christmas cactus are drooping with purple-brown anthers and grow horizontally to the stems, while those of a Thanksgiving cactus are more flat with yellow anthers and grow upright on the stems.
Both plants need a cool and low light period to form their flowers, so it’s important to provide these conditions. The Thanksgiving cactus, for example, will need a period of forced dormancy starting in October and stopping feeding, reducing water and lowering the temperature to 50 degrees. This can be done by putting the plant in a dark room for 5-6 days, or keeping it out of direct sunlight and turning off any lights at night.
They both bloom for 2 to 4 months, but the Christmas cactus usually lasts longer than the Thanksgiving cactus because it’s more hardy. It’s important to remove any buds before they open and deadhead them after they have, so that your flowering plant stays healthy for a long time to come.
The earliest you can expect the Thanksgiving cactus to bloom is November or December, while the Christmas cactus will start blooming in January. However, thanks to their hardiness and ease of care, both can bloom at any time of the year if you’re patient and willing to wait.