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  • Green Lady Gardens

Holiday Cactus Care

Though called holiday "cactus" these plants aren't true cacti. To be a true cactus, the plant must have areoles, which are fleshy areas with hair, spines, thorns, or scales instead of leaves. But, they are succulents. Succulents are plants that store water in their stems, leaves, &/or roots. Therefore, cacti are a subcategory of succulents. Thanksgiving, Easter, & Christmas cacti are collectively known as holiday cacti & all are epiphyllums. They bloom around their respective holidays & have different types of blooms & leaf shapes.⁠

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Bright indirect. Can be placed in a shady location outside in the summer. Tolerates lower light but buds may not form or existing buds may drop.

Potting & Soil

Thanksgiving/Holiday cacti appreciate being slightly rootbound so don't hurry to repot.

To Get Blooms

About 6 weeks before you want blooms, provide 13-14 hours of total darkness in a cool location. TOTAL darkness. Even a flash of light will disrupt the cycle. The temperature should be 60° - 65° during the day & 45° - 55° at night. When buds appear, continue to keep your plant cool but resume normal bright indirect light conditions. If blooms drop, it's too cold. Once blooming, increase daytime temperature to 70° - 75° but maintain a cool 60°-65° at night. You can extend blooms for up to 8 weeks by maintaining a 66° - 68° temperature range.

Fun note: It may surprise bloom again in the spring!


When blooming, water when the very top of the soil is dry to the touch. Buds/blooms will drop if the soil is too dry. In the off season, allow the soil to dry out. Thanksgiving/Holiday cacti will get thin when droughted because... they are succulents!


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