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Exotic Types of Christmas Cactus You Need to Know

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) is a popular houseplant famous for its pink-colored tubular blooms. There are a few types of Christmas Cactus you can choose from.

It originated in Brazil and has been widespread for a long time.

Generally, Chrismas Cactus has three types, Schlumbergera truncata, Schlumbergera bridgesii, and Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri. The shape of their leaves easily distinguishes these three Christmas Cacti.

Christmas Cactus and a Dog
Christmas Cactus is a popular plant that has three varieties you can choose from.

There are three different types of Christmas Cactus that you can easily find in your local nursery or online stores.

Continue reading the article below to find out about the best Christmas Cactus you can welcome home.

Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas Cactus: Confusion Solved!

Christmas Cactus is the plant for you if you want a plant to outlive you. It may survive for up to 100 years if properly cared for!

Further, you can even pass it as an heirloom to your daughter and granddaughter.

Although a Cactus, they need to be kept away from heat sources. They will bloom only when kept at a cool temperature of about 68°F.

Did you know? Even though it is called Cactus, Christmas Cactus does best in cool temperatures.

You can call this plant a ‘holiday’ Cactus as its varieties’ names are all based on the name of popular holidays.

Three varieties of Cactus
There are three popular varieties of Christmas Cactus.

Likewise, it produces beautiful bright flowers, which is the main attraction of this plant. The blooming period is also long, making them a beautiful plant.

The leaf structure and blooming period of these three Christmas Cactus varieties distinguish them from one another.

For instance, the Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) blooms from March to May and has spring flowers, whereas the Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncate) blooms from mid-November to late December.

Moreover, Christmas Cactus (Schumbergera bridgesii) starts blooming from October to late November.

Three Types of Christmas Cactus with Pictures and Names

Christmas Cactus is a popular plant that doesn’t have many types that we need to talk about. There are only three of them, so it would be easy to identify them.

These three Christmas cactus species can be distinguished by their leaf shape and blooming season.

Three different Christmas Cactus Leaves
Their leaf structure can help us distinguish between different Christmas Cactus.

1. Schlumbergera Truncata (Thanksgiving Cactus)

Schlumbergera Truncata, often known as zygocactus or fake Christmas cactus, blooms between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This variety of cactus originates from the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil.

These plants grow at a moderately fast pace and can reach up to the height of two feet in about two years.

Schlumbergera Truncata
Schlumbergera Truncata is one of the varieties of Christmas Cactus and is often known as Thanksgiving cactus.

It usually blooms between November and late December. Likewise, some may bloom into January, depending on care and variety.

Likewise, the blooms produced by them can be a variety of colors which include white, golden-yellow, red, and pink.

Schlumbergera truncata has well-formed and pointy projections called phylloclade. It lacks a leaf-like structure; thus, its stem function as leaves.

They are perfect as an indoor plant with partial shade as full sun can damage their leaves and overall growth.

2. Schlumbergera Bridgesii (Christmas Cactus)

The Schumbergera bridgesii is commonly known as the Holiday cactus as it blooms around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Schlumbergera is native to coastal areas of south-eastern Brazil.

This variety of Christmas Cactus is fast-growing and can reach maturity in about 2-3 years.

The Cactus will start blooming in October and continues until November. It has massive flowers that spread everywhere and can be seen from a long distance.

A matured Christmas Cacrtus
Christmas Cactus stem hangs down like a pendant.

Its symmetrical, red and purple-tinged flowers appear at the end of the stem. The flowers usually last for about 8 weeks.

Schlumbergera bridgesii has stems that are flattened and divided into leaf-like segments and project a tear-drop shape or a scallop.

Unlike other varieties, the Christmas Cactus stems hang down like a pendant.

The best location to grow this plant is indoors. But you can also grow it outdoors during fall if you keep it out of the direct sun.

Additionally, Schlumbergera bridgesii can live for more than 100 years.

3. Rhipsalidopsis Gaertneri (Easter Cactus)

Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, also known as Easter Cactus, is a perennial Cactus that grows up to 30-40 cm in diameter.

It is native to Brazil, occurring in Parana, the Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina. Generally, it grows about 350 to 1300 meters above sea level.

Easter Cactus is a fast-growing plant that can reach 2 feet wide and 2 feet tall in about 2-3 years.

Rhipsalidopsis Gaertneri
Rhipsalidopsis Gaertneri is known as Easter Cactus, as it blooms around Easter.

This popular Christmas plant blooms during Easter (the months of February to March). You will have the best shot if the temperature is around 10°C.

Likewise, the Cactus is notable for its wide range of bloom colors, which include red, white, peach, orange, pink, and lavender.

Pink Easter Cactus in a pot
Easter Cactus comes in various colors like pink, lavender, white, and orange.

It has an interesting growth pattern, creating a new segment, and making a rickety stacked outlook. Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri has leaves with rounded margins.

The Easter Cactus has round leaves and has no scallops or teeth. Additionally, their leaves turn from a light green to a dark green color as they mature.

With time, the leaves will become wider and flatter, with fully grown segments measuring 1.5-3 inches (4-7 cm) wide and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.

These plants thrive indoors, but you can keep them outdoors in a temperate climate all year.

Tips to Care for Christmas Cactus Plant

If you keep them away from direct sunlight, Christmas Cactus is not so hard to take care of.

Look below for the care you can provide your plant to ensure it grows perfectly.

  • Plant Christmas Cactus in a looser potting soil mix of compost, loam, and sand with a soil pH balance of 5.5 to 6.2. 
  • Place them in a well-lit location on a window sill in a south-facing window to see your Christmas Cactus bloom. 
  • Maintain the temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Christmas cactus in a pot
Christmas Cactus does best in bright yet indirect sunlight.
  • They prefer 50 to 60% humidity, so keep them moist by placing them in a pebble tray or misting them daily.
  • During the dormancy period in the fall season, cut back on watering and ensure that plants receive darkness for 12-14 hours.

If you want to see your Christmas plant thrive, let the top few inches of the soil to dry out before watering the plant again.

  • You can use a NPK 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 half-strength fertilizer on the plant to keep them thriving and blooming.
  • Keep them away from cold drafts, unvented heaters, or rough handling to keep them from wilting due to moisture loss.
  • Mealybugs, scale, and aphids may attack your plant, which you can gently wipe away with a soft cloth or cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

Watch the full video for more care tips,


Christmas Cactus may not support the old saying “the more, the merrier,” but its limited varieties provide the aesthetic beauty you need indoors.

It is a great houseplant with a sorted care requirement and intriguing foliage. On top of that, you will not have to worry your head choosing its varieties.

You need to keep this ‘holiday-themed’ plant in your home. Good luck finding the one!

Read more about Christmas Cactus in our articles: Christmas Cactus Seeds, Light Requirements, and their Toxicity.

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