I think it’s Thanksgiving today. I don’t know for sure as it’s not something we celebrate here, but the influence of the US seems to be far-reaching and my ‘Thanksgiving cactus’ seems to know what’s going on. It’s flowering nicely as one would expect at this time of year.
There are plenty more flowers to come so it should keep going for a while. It’s also a lot bigger than it looks in the photo. Of course, we never even used to call these Thanksgiving cacti in the UK, they were all called Christmas Cacti, it was just that some flowered earlier than others. However, there are actually three different types, each fittingly named after a holiday. So, there are:
- Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumgera truncate)
- Christmas Cactus (Schlumgera bridgesii)
- Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertnerrii)
The easiest way to tell is when the flowers but that’s not always reliable especially when kept indoors as they do require a change in day length and a drop in temperature to properly induce flowering. The Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus require approximately 6 weeks of short days (less than 12 hours of daylight) in order to bloom whereas the Easter cactus requires 8-12 weeks of short days to bloom.
They also have differently shaped leaves. The Thanksgiving Cactus has very pointed projections on the leaves (as in the photo above). The Christmas cactus has less pronounced, more scalloped edges and the Easter Cactus has rounded edges. I don’t have all three so here’s a photo from https://worldofsucculents.com where you can buy them if you wish.
They are easy to care for and put on a good show, even if they aren’t the prettiest of plants. It’s nice to have some flowers in the house over the holiday periods too. Despite being ‘cacti’ they do need more water than most succulents but shouldn’t;t be over-watered. Otherwise, they aren’t that fussy. The one in the photo at the top of this page is in a pot with a large Dracaena.