Q: My co-worker says he has a Thanksgiving cactus and that it is different from a Christmas cactus. Is this true?
A: Yes, your friend is correct. The Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) is sometimes called the “crab cactus” because the stem segments have curved points on the edges.
A true Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x Buckleyi) has more rounded stem segments.
Both of them might bloom at almost any time between Thanksgiving and February. The key to keeping either happy is providing the cool temperatures and bright light they love.
If you buy a Christmas cactus that’s beginning to bloom and all of the buds fall off, warm temperatures are usually the culprit. The soil should be kept on the dry side between waterings. Rooting these succulents is easy – just break off a segment or two and push the piece into the soil of the pot. By March, it will root and can be transplanted to a new pot.
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