All About Thanksgiving Cactus

All About Thanksgiving Cactus

Schlumbergera truncata

The Thanksgiving cactus is a tropical cactus, not a desert cactus, originating from South America. As the name suggests, these bloom right around Thanksgiving and are often given as Holiday gifts. Under the right conditions, they will bloom every fall. Once you learn all about caring for Thanksgiving Cactus, you’ll have blooms for years to come!

Of the three Holiday Cacti, Thanksgiving is the easiest to identify because they are the only Holiday Cactus with sharp, serrated leaves. It also grows the largest and is the easiest to care for.

One of the features that also make this plant highly desirable is that it is non-toxic and Pet Safe.

Orange thanksgiving cactus

How To Care for Thanksgiving Cactus

All Holiday Cacti are epiphytes and grow from trees in their native Brazilian environment. They prefer airy soil and will appreciate a little orchid bark mixed in with their soil.

You can pot them up an inch or two every two years or once the roots start growing out of the bottom of the pot.

The average temperature and humidity in most home environments is perfect for these tropical plants. They love a bright, sunny window, especially during the cooler months but avoid direct summer sun.

Read on to learn more about caring for Thanksgiving Cactus ……

USDA Zone 10a-12b

They don’t like to completely dry out like desert cacti so water when the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry. If you are unsure, stick your finger in the soil. Too much water can cause root rot.

These are medium-sized plants growing to around 2 feet wide. They can be kept compact and full by pruning. Read on to learn how.

They prefer bright, indirect light but can grow well in medium-light situations. They will survive in low light but not thrive.

Use an airy potting mix that drains well. Incorporate orchid bark and perlite into regular soil to create more airflow.

They are native to South America and like 50% or higher humidity levels.

Thanksgiving Cactus is non-toxic and safe for children and pets. Find more pet-safe plants here.

Fertilize every three months during the growing season with Green Grub Insect Frass. You can either make a compost tea to water with every time or sprinkle a layer of fertilizer on top of the soil. If using synthetic, use an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer with a balanced ratio.

Propagate by stem cuttings and offsets. Read on for propagation instructions.

How to propagate thanksgiving cactus

How to propagate Thanksgiving Cactus

Propagating Thanksgiving cactus is easy and encourages bushier growth! It’s best to wait until your plant is actively growing in the spring to take cuttings.

1. Take a stem cutting from your plant that has two to three leaf sections on it. Make your cut where the two sections meet.

2. Place the cuttings in a dry, well-ventilated place for 24 hours while the cuts callus over.

3. Place the stem one inch deep into a potting mix or into a cup of water for water rooting.

4. Keep the soil moist and warm for best rooting conditions and you should have root growth in a couple of weeks. You can use this method to create new plants from cuttings or to fill out a current plant and make it larger and bushier.

Getting Your Thanksgiving Cactus to Bloom

All of the Holiday Cacti are triggered to bloom when temperatures drop or rise due to seasonal changes. The Thanksgiving cactus blooms when temperatures and sunlight drop during the fall.

Depending on where you live and the temperature inside your home, you may need to remind your cactus that it’s fall and time to bloom.

Place your Thanksgiving Cactus on a windowsill so that it is exposed to cooler temperatures and lack of sunlight. You can also try putting it outside during the seasonal change from summer to autumn. Just make sure the temperatures don’t drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another tip, these bloom better when they are slightly root bound.

Get your very own Thanksgiving Cactus here.


We are here to spread our love of houseplants! There are many different varieties of plants that we keep in our homes. All of them with different needs and preferences. This blog is to share our knowledge about all kinds of houseplants and help people care for their own plants.

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2 Responses

  1. January 5, 2023

    […] to identify Holiday Cacti?” or “How to tell the difference between Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti?” or “What’s the difference between Easter and Christmas […]

  2. January 8, 2023

    […] the three Holiday Cacti, Christmas is the hardest to identify. Thanksgiving and Christmas Cacti are often sold under the wrong name which only adds to the confusion. Check out […]