Christmas Cactus (Holiday Cactus)

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The Christmas Cactus, or the Holiday Cactus as it is sometimes called, has succulent-like branches tipped in flowers that come in a variety of colors. When properly cared for, these plants can live for decades, and many times become heirlooms passed down from generation to generation. The colorful blooms and contrasting branches make them the perfect addition to your home for the holidays.

There are three types of Holiday Cactus, each named for the holiday they bloom closest to.

  • Easter Cactus (S. gaetneri)
  • Thanksgiving Cactus (S. truncata)
  • Christmas Cactus (s. x buckelyi)

Thanksgiving and Christmas Cactus are often interchangeable due to the bloom times overlapping significantly.


Christmas Cactus aren't like a typical succulent. They prefer indirect sunlight and cooler temperatures. These plants do best in an east-facing window where the direct light is minimal.

Too much sunlight can bleach leaves sensitive leaves. But too little light will hinder blooming.


Unlike, other cacti, Christmas Cactus do not like to dry out completely between waterings. Allow the top 2 inches of soil to be dry to the touch before watering thoroughly. When the plant is actively flowering, it is even more important to not allow it to dry out too much.

Christmas Cactus prefer humid, cooler environments. Consider misting your plant often, or placing it on a humidity tray for best results.


Feed Christmas Cactus with a high-potassium fertilizer every two weeks once buds form. Do not feed when the plant is dormant, or between bloom cycles.


Keeping your Christmas Cactus near a sunny window will allow it to gauge the change in daylight and temperature it will need to rebloom. When there is a 20-degree drop in overnight temperatures, your Cactus will start its bloom cycle. Spring and fall are typically bloom seasons for this plant.

Cut back on watering when not in full bloom. Once you see blooms start to resume a regular watering schedule.

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Christmas Cactus

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