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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.

Generally, Chrismas Cactus has three types, Schlumbergera truncata, Schlumbergera bridgesii, and Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri. You can easily distinguish them by looking at their shapes.

Moreover, these Cacti have color variations in red, white, orange, and pink.

Continue reading this article below to choose the best Christmas Cactus you can welcome home.

Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas Cactus: Confusion Solved!

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

The Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) blooms from March to May with star-shaped flowers. In contrast, its stem color is duller green than the Thanksgiving and Christmas Cactus.

In contrast, Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) blooms horizontal flowers with yellow pollen from mid-November to late December.

The Thanksgiving Cactus does well in partial shade and flowers in various colors like white, golden yellow, red, and pink.

Unlike these, Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) flowers from October to late November with flowers pointing down and pink pollen. 

Moreover, Christmas Cactus has a slightly rounder structure than Easter and Thanksgiving Cactus.

Three Types of Christmas Cactus with Pictures and Names

Christmas Cactus are divided into three types: Thanksgiving Cactus, Christmas Cactus, and Easter Cactus.

All three types are easily distinguished by their leaf shape and blooming season.

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.

Thanksgiving Cactus
Thanksgiving Cactus bears dark-green stems with color variations from white to pink.
These plants grow at a moderately fast pace and can reach up to the height of two feet in about two years.

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 Schlumbergera bridgesii is commonly known as the Holiday cactus, as it blooms around Thanksgiving.

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

Christmas Cactus
The flowers of Christmas Cactus hang down, so they are highly decorative in hanging baskets.

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 spread everywhere and can be seen long distances.

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 flattened stems divided into leaf-like segments and projects 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 and occurs in Parana and the Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina. Generally, it grows about 350 to 1300 meters above sea level.

Easter Cactus plants
Easter Cactus is found in Usda zones 10 & 11.

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

This popular Christmas plant blooms during Easter (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.

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 no scallops or teeth. Additionally, their leaves turn from light green to dark green 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 are not hard to care for.

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.
  • They prefer 50 to 60% humidity, so keep them moist by placing them in a pebble tray or misting them daily.
  • If you want your Christmas plant to thrive, let the top few inches of the soil dry out before watering the plant again.
  • You can use an 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 prevent 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.
  • Christmas Cactus love 8 hours of indirect sunlight and 16 hours of darkness, producing magnificent blossoms.

Watch the full video for more care tips,


From Editorial Team


The most popular way of propagating Christmas Cactus is from its stem cuttings. Cut the tip portion of the stem and let them settle for 2-3 days.

Afterward, plant the cuttings in sandy soil and wait for the roots.

Similarly, the plant goes dormant just before the blooming season.

Cut off the watering and overexposure to sunlight and furnish them with complete rest.

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