I think my Thanksgiving cactus has buds!
I just checked and I see one bud so far. It's nice to have some flowers to look forward to.
What is a Thanksgiving cactus?
I've heard of a Christmas cactus, and often tease my co-worker, who has a gorgeous one on her desk, that it is really a Halloween cactus because sometimes it blooms early, but is a Thanksgiving cactus similar to a Christmas cactus?
Thanksgiving cactus is very similar to Christmas cactus.
This is a great article that describes the difference: http://cactus.biology.dal.ca/paulS/christmas/christmas.html
The key differences include:
Thanksgiving cactus leaves are pointy while the Xmas cactus leaves are more scallopped.
T'giving cactus flowers are asymmetrical; looking like birds in flight. Xmas cactus flowers are symmetrical and look like ballerinas. :)
This post was edited by muffin1358 on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 17:07
And here's a pic of the Thanksgiving cactus:
Ah, thanks muffin. I don't think I would have ever noticed a difference if you hadn't pointed it out. We have a bunch of these at my workplace besides the big "halloween" one. I'm going to check them out more closely to see if they really are Christmas cacti or perhaps a few may be Thanksgiving.
There's also an Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) that's similar to the above but blooms in late winter.
Mine's budding too, pics to come soon.
What a lovely surprise it was to check on the pots this morning and see that my new transplants have begun to bloom!
I can't wait for the Xmas and Easter cacti to begin their transformations too...
Thanks, Muffin. For years I've called mine a "Christmas Cactus." Your information explains why my Christmas cactus had always seemed to bloom so early for me. Always figured it had to do with my error ---- when I brought it in ---- how much light it received outside, etc. Mystery solved!
I picked mine up years ago in a grocery store. But, as the link explains, it's logical that retailers would be selling the Thanksgiving cactus prior to the holidays, since the Christmas cactus wouldn't be in bloom so early.
My Thanksgiving cactus are budding too! They are bursting with buds and I expect a good show this year. :)
Thxgiving and Xmas cactus are 2 different species:
Thanksgiving cactus = Schlumbergera truncata
Christmas cactus = Schlumbergera x buckleyi
Here's a pic from a few years ago - these are S. truncata.
Oh, is that a light pink one in the back? Pretty!
Hi muffin, yes that one is a large light pink. It is an old plant, I inherited it from a previous job years ago. I've done a lot of pruning and taken cuttings from that one in the last couple years. It is fabulously healthy but looks like blooms will be a bit reduced this year because of the pruning. The cuttings have rooted, and I've already gifted one pot to a friend.
Also, in the far background of these pictures is a mature hot pink that is in the budding stage, and blooms later than the others. I've got several other pots of smaller plants, in colors like peach and red that will likely bloom modestly this year. I love these plants! So cheerful for the holidays.
I would love to get a cutting or 2 of your true Christmas cactus. Would you be interested in a trade with anything I've got?
Here's the light pink momma -
Terrene, I sent you an email. Please let me know if you didn't receive it.
This post was edited by muffin1358 on Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 6:35
Christmas cacti are native to tropical and subtropical American rain forests. They are epiphytes, growing in trees or rock crevices in organic debris rather in soil on the ground. But they (obviously) adapt well to pot culture. They do prefer cool temps at night to initiate blooms, and in the mountains can regularly experience temperatures into the 40's. They also need a long dark period when budding, so if they are in a window that might have a streetlight or maybe a living room lamp shining on it, it could inhibit or reduce bud production. I actually had a large plant that bloomed on the side that was shaded by a heavy lined drapery, while the side that got light from the street had no flowers. Easter cactus blooms are also very different from the others, looking more like a daisy shape. But they are all easy to grow and easy to propagate.
Would anybody be into trading with me, also?
I have a question...when you do cuttings do you make the plant from one cutting? Or do you use multiple cuttings to fill out the plant? I've seen some a pot filled with numerous cuttings but I would think that over time there would be crowding issues...
First off, you can make cuttings as small as one leaf section, or nearly as large as you want from the original plant. They root very easily. In fact, since they are epipytes, you can sometimes see tiny roots at the leaf joints on the plants. So you can plant several small cuttings to fill out a pot, or a few larger ones (if the original plant is big enough to spare therm). Bottom line is I don't think overcrowding will be an issue. They actually like being a little pot bound as it seems to encourage flowering. They are, overall, very easy to grow. Good luck.
To echo what Bill has said: often times when I'm making new pots to place around my house, I will trim down my older plants for their less healthy looking leaves or leaves from sides that have grown in too full. I add all of these into new pots (about 3-4 per 8 inch pot, usually) and always have enough extra segments that if any die they can be replaced.
The method is foolproof and allow them to grow to be potbound much quicker. Like Bill mentioned, they seem to enjoy being a bit pot bound. Usually the stems all become a single, larger plant in the pot after time passes.
Thank you....good to know!
Persimmons, I just sent you an email. Please let me know if you don't receive it...
Hi guys, I got your email Muffin, sorry I have out of town for a few days. Can you email again and include your real email address? GW messaging seems to lose the reply.
The peach is still small but I can trade a few pieces. I have plenty of the the red in the pic above (has a pink highlight), the light pink, or the hot pink. I am looking for true Xmas cactus as a trade.
I usually take cuttings with about 3-4 segments. I stick 6-8 in a small pot, and put the first 1 1/2 segments under the soil. I use damp coarse potting mix and a light plastic tent over the pot with holes punched in, and spritz periodically. Most of the cuttings root, 1 or 2 might rot.
PS That is interesting, that they like to be pot bound. I got the light pink at least 10 years ago and haven't repotted it yet. Who knows when it was last repotted. It blooms like crazy.
I did transplant the hot pink though, didn't use a different pot, just replaced the soil. It has responded well.
Give them a little dilute fertilizer once in awhile.
I read that these are not true cactus, they tolerate much moister soil than a cactus would.
They are true cacti, but they did adapt to moist conditions and so would not survive in the desert for sure. I don't know if you read my previous post in this thread, but they are epiphytes that grow up in trees or crevices in rocks in the wild. The grow in decomposing organic matter that collects in the crooks of branches and so forth, much like many tropical orchids. But they (obviously) can be grown in any good potting soil with decent drainage.
There is another member of the cactus family named Pereskia, which has several species. They don't resemble a desert cactus at all. They have branches and leaves and some are like shrubs or small trees. They can survive fairly dry climates, but not the really hot and dry deserts. Only the flowers would make you think they are cacti. A few of the species have spines in areoles (groups) like the better known cacti that we all know.
I just thought I'd throw out all this information because I happen to think the cactus family is interesting. As you may or may not know, I grow a few types out in my xeric garden and they love it there. I posted a few photos in my post "End of season color".
Here's a shot of my Thanksgiving cacti, red and fucshia/pink.
Just to show the "standing" of the flower and also to highlight its asymmetry. Definitely a Thanksgiving cactus, not to mention the time of year it's blooming...
And finally, this cactus is budding, but is nowhere close to blooming! I'm curious if it will surprise us all on Thanksgiving day/week and open at once, or if it's brooding until Christmas... Notice the deep red color of the buds--the flowers of this Cactus are always very vividly red. More so than the red Thanksgiving cactus.
Here's to a successful trade!
Thank you to muffins for the Christmas cacti clippings (potted on the right side of the image) and one marvelous kalanchoe.
The Christmas Cacti was traded as a large clipping from which I made a few smaller divisions. Each seems to be taking to their homes well. As for the kalanchoe: a few of the branches snapped during it's transport to Boston. I've repotted those as 'baby' kalanchoe plants.