Most holiday cacti are called Christmas cactus, but they're actually something else. Here are a few identification tips.
- Look at the shape of the leaves to identify your cactus.
- Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) has pointy projections on the sides of the leaves, like crab claws.
- Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesti) has scalloped or teardrop-shaped projections on the leaves.
- Easter cactus (Schlumbergera gaertnerrii) has leaves with round edges.
Look at the blooms
- Christmas cactus flowers hang down. Thanksgiving cactus flowers stand out.
- Bloom time is also different. To bloom, schlumgera need darkness and cool temperatures. Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus need about six weeks of short days. Easter cactus need 8-12 weeks of short days to bloom.
- In Lancaster County, these plants spend cold months indoors. Bloom time is less predictable for houseplants in warm temperatures with a good amount of sunlight. So it's trickier to identify the cactus on the time it blooms.