Also known as
Crab Cactus, Common Winter Cactus, Lobster Cactus, Christmas Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Mayflower, Claw Cactus, Linkleaf, Yoke Cactus
Schlumbergera truncata (1) by Dwight Sipler (CC BY 2.0)
10 years to reach maturity
This plant has no fragrance
More images of Thanksgiving Cactus
Thanksgiving Cactus Overview
Schlumbergera truncata is often confused with the related Christmas and Easter Cacti. This plant can provide a wonderful Christmas display, blooming around thanksgiving, hence the common name Thanksgiving Cactus. It's a frost-tender, epiphytic, perennial cactus that produces deep red or sometimes pink, purple, orange or white flowers in late autumn and winter, its leaves growing in oblong sections, with long tooth-like notches. Thanksgiving Cactus can produce deep pink, red, orange or white flowers about 8cm long from late autumn to winter. It is easy to propagate from cuttings and best grown as a houseplant in a well-lit spot, out of direct sunlight. Ideally it likes some humidity - this epiphytic species can be found growing without the need for soil substrate on coastal rocks and trees around Mexico. Improve humidity at home by placing plants on stone or pebble trays filled with water.
Common problems with Thanksgiving Cactus
Flower bud dropping is usually caused by fluctuating temperatures - usually too hot by day too cold by night. However, overwatering can also cause flower buds to drop.
How to harvest Thanksgiving Cactus
Take cuttings well after flowering.
How to propagate Thanksgiving Cactus
Take stem segments in spring and place upright in moist compost, sand and perlite mix. Push the bottom of the cutting into the soil about 1cm or just deep enough to keep them upright.
Special features of Thanksgiving Cactus
Fleshy stems store water for drier times - and flower formation depends on a dry time!
A good container plant. If properly repotted, it can be passed on from generation to generation.
A houseplant that makes a great addition to nearly any indoor setting. Make sure they get a night rest without light though, to ensure flowers forming.
Other uses of Thanksgiving Cactus
Cultivated for their flowers.