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What Holiday Cacti do you have?

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What Holiday Cacti do you have?

My Christmas cactus is blooming right now but why do some bloom around Easter and Thanksgiving?

There are three types of holiday cactus: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus belong to the genus Schlumbergera but the Easter cactus is in the genus Rhipalidopsis. All have the same coloring and need the same care. There are two main differences between these cacti: 1. when they flowers, and 2. their leaf segments. To help figure out which cactus you have check the edges of the leaf segments. Christmas cacti, Schlumbergera bridgesii, have smooth, round edges. Thanksgiving cacti, Schlumbergera truncata, have pointy, jagged edges.  Easter cacti, Rhipalidopsis gaertneri, have smooth, rippled edges with bristle ends. Thanksgiving cacti typically start blooming in late fall and Christmas cacti bloom about one month later. Easter cactus starts producing buds in February or March and bloom in spring.

Growing conditions determine when these cactus bloom. Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus need cool temperatures and short-daylight periods in order to begin flowering. Short-daylight means they need to be in a place that gets no artificial light at night. Temperatures should be around 55 to 65 degrees. Easter cacti will bloom with cool temperatures but need normal daylight periods. Plants should be on the dry side until you see pin-point buds forming, then water normally. Stop short-daylight period, keep soil moist, give them bright light and continue the cool temperatures to avoid blossom drop.

Enjoy your holiday cactus whenever it blooms!

A good resource for garden pests is the Advice, Tips and Resources  page found in Gardening Help. It has detailed information on all the pests that might decide to visit your garden.

Debbie Kirkpatrick, Kemper Horticulture Assistant

Posted in: Winter | Tags: Christmas cactus , Thanksgiving cactus , Easter cactus , cacti , indoor plants | Comments (0) | View Count: (2317)
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