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Holiday cactus     

Schlumbergera truncata

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Belonging to the Schlumbergera genus, Holiday cactus has a botanical name of Schlumbergera truncata. The botanical name epithet truncata means 'cut off square at the end'.

Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) – Branching epiphyte with flattened joints. Foliage is dark and glossy green with two teeth at the apex.
The white flowered plants, and the yellow ones too, tend to flush with pink if temperatures are below about 65º when the buds are forming

Thanksgiving cactus will flower more when root bound. If moved from one place to another when in bloom it may start dropping both buds and flowers.

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Cerise pink and   Light fuchsia pink and   China pink. Leaves appear approximately as a   Apple green

Holiday cactus grows as a perennial and is a flowering succulent / houseplant. Being a perennial plant, it tends to grow best over several years (approx 3 years and greater).

Holiday cactus is known for its clump-forming habit and growing to a height of approximately 31.0 cm (1.01 feet). This plant tends to bloom in mid winter.

Popular varieties of Holiday cactus with home gardeners are Pink, red, Schlumbergera, White Christmas and Thor Nille.

Brazil is believed to be where Holiday cactus originates from.

Due to how easy it is to grow in a variety of conditions, Holiday cactus is great for beginner gardeners and those that like low maintainance gardens.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Holiday cactus have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Holiday cactus

  • Indoor

  • Dappled Sun

  • Medium

Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) – Branching epiphyte with flattened joints. Foliage is dark and glossy green with two teeth at the apex. Plant Form or Habit: cascading. Plant Use: rotational color hanging basket. Exposure: medium. Flower Color: Red, purple, white. Blooming Period: winter. Height: 1 foot before weeping. Width: 1 foot. Foliage Texture: medium. Heat Tolerance: medium. Water Requirements: medium. Additional Comments: Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings; allow temperatures at night to drop slightly to induce flowering.


DO NOT transplant in the winter! Only transplant in the spring. After the buds are gone, keep the plant fairly dry (to totally dry, to the point of shriveling) all winter until the days get warmer and longer. Then treat like a normal houseplant. They really like to be outside (in the shade) all summer and until about October. In September, fertilize with a bloom type fertilizer. The shorter days initiate bud set. When the buds do set, keep evenly moist (not wet), and importantly, make sure the light hits the plant from the same direction as it did outdoors. (Suggestion: place a marker in the pot, a bamboo skewer or something on the south side of the pot before I bring it in so I know that light will hit the plant from the same direction.) If you don’t do this, the buds, if larger, will turn to the light and often twist themselves off.

A indoor lighting / dappled sun position will ensure your plant thrives and remember to water moderately. Zone 10 to 12 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Keep in mind when planting that Holiday cactus is thought of as half hardy, so remember to protect this plant from frosts and low temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Holiday cactus to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Holiday cactus from seed

To grow from seed gather the black seeds from the fruit and sow them in 50 per cent peat and 50 per cent vermiculite, keep warm and moist. Sprouting may take from one to three months.(1)

Transplanting Holiday cactus

Mature single segments of the plant are used for propagation. Leave the segments to form a callous for at least 24 hours if not more. Place the cut end in a mix of perlite and peat. The container should receive indirect light and they should begin to root in a few weeks.

Holiday cactus will appreciate to be placed outdoors under shade during the summer months.

As Holiday cactus is half hardy, ensure temperatures are mild enough to plant out - wait until after your last frost date to be on the safe side.

How long does Holiday cactus take to grow?

These estimates for how long Holiday cactus takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Holiday cactus to germinate?

Average days | Min days | Max days (0)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Holiday cactus?
+ days

Average days | Min days | Max days (0)

Days to Maturity How long until Holiday cactus is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 2745 days

Average 2745 days | Min 467 days | Max 7363 days (9)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Holiday cactus?
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Holiday cactus Etymology

The holiday cactus group is a phenomenal favorite, and LOTS of people have at least one plant, at least in the USA. The most common holiday cactus is commonly called “Christmas Cactus” but this plant is actually the “Thanksgiving Cactus” or “Holiday Cactus.” These are actually two different species of Schlumbergera. The Thanksgiving Schlumbergera truncata has pointed soft spikes on the segments, and is the more common plant. The S. truncata is also called Holiday Cactus. The true Christmas Cactus (more rare) is Schlumbergera buckleyi, and has rounded scallops on the segments.

Holiday cactus Folklore & Trivia

Originated in the South American Jungles

Other names for Holiday cactus

Christmas cactus, Crab cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, Schlumbergera truncate, Holiday Cactus

Schlumbergera truncata (Haw.) Moran

Misspellings: Schlumbergera truncate

Latest Holiday cactus Reviews

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Holiday cactus Forums

  • Holiday Cactus!

    This is for that special group of people that love christmas cactus.

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