Schlumbergera

Look at the shape of the leaves to identify your cactus.

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) on the left has pointy projections on the sides of the leaves, like crab claws.

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesti) in the middle has scalloped or teardrop-shaped projections on the leaves.

Easter cactus (Schlumbergera gaertnerrii) on the right has leaves with round edges.

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.

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