In this article, we are going to take a look at three of the most popular: Christmas Cactus vs Thanksgiving Cactus vs Easter Cactus. We will also go over how they differ from one another, and which one is better suited to your needs as a gardener or landscaper.
You see, plants have been around for millions of years and have evolved to suit their surroundings. So when you look at all those different types of plants out there, it’s only natural that we all have our own favorite.
What is a cactus?
A cactus is a plant native to hot, dry regions of the world, such as desert areas in Africa and the Americas. They are adapted to survive drought by storing water in their stems and leaves, with some species able to survive total dehydration for weeks at a time before rehydrating themselves through rainfall or watering. Their thick skin helps prevent evaporation.
Christmas Cactus vs Thanksgiving Cactus vs Easter Cactus
The Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera bridgesii, is a tropical plant native to the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. It grows on trees or rocks, in habitats that are generally shady with high humidity, and can be quite different in appearance from its desert-dwelling relatives.
Christmas Cactus is an epiphyte that gets its name from being found blooming at Christmas time. It is a popular flowering houseplant that blooms in winter (or early spring) with beautiful flowers in shades of red, pink, purple, and white.
The Christmas Cactus is often passed down through families as a holiday tradition. They are grown in containers indoors, and may only be taken outside during the summer months. To re-bloom, there are some requirements for this plant. The most important thing is that it gets cooler temperatures in the fall, along with shorter days and longer nights. If these conditions are met, it should bloom around December each year.
Identifying Christmas Cacti:
The leaves on a Christmas cactus are pointed and have small prickly spines on them. The flower petals are also very pointy and look almost like fish scales. The flower colors can range from pink, white, red, orange, purple, and yellow.
If you have a holiday succulent that has rounded leaves without spines and rounded petals, then it’s probably not a true Christmas cactus but rather one of the two hybrids.
Thanksgiving Cactus is also a tropical cactus and an epiphyte. However, it is native to South America, specifically Brazil and Argentina where it grows in trees but also on rocks and cliffs. It gets its name because it often blooms around Thanksgiving time, usually in November or December.
The Thanksgiving Cactus is also called the “Crab Cactus” or “Claw Cactus” because its leaves have little claws that help it attach to trees where rainfall can wash away soil from around roots as well provide support during strong winds.
These plants are known for growing up tall tree trunks like vines but they grow horizontally across branches at times too!
Identifying Thanksgiving Cactus:
The Thanksgiving Cactus is often confused with the Christmas Cactus since they look so similar. These plants have different blooming habits than the Christmas Cactus though. The Thanksgiving Cactus blooms in late fall or early winter and requires a little more care than the Christmas Cactus to re-bloom.
Easter Cactus is also a tropical cactus native to South America. This plant was first discovered in 1819 by Johann Natterer who was exploring Brazil at the time. While Easter Cactus does bloom around Easter time it goes by many different names including Whitsun Cactus, Spring Cactus, Holiday Cactus, and Orchid Cactus.
The Easter Cactus is commonly mistaken for the Christmas Cactus because of its similar appearance, but it is a different species altogether. This plant has even more specific requirements for re-blooming than its cousins do – including strict temperature control and specific day length – so it can be difficult to get them to bloom on time if you don’t live near an equator (where sunlight is always 12 hours per day). However, many people still try!
Identifying Easter cactus:
The Easter cactus or Whitsun cactus is a tropical plant that looks similar to the Christmas and Thanksgiving varieties. However, it blooms in early spring around Easter time. The flowers are usually pink or red, but some varieties have white blooms.
The Easter cactus is native to Brazil and is, therefore, more sensitive to cold temperatures than the other two types of cacti.
Difference Between Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus and Easter Cactus
There are many different types of cacti, and it’s easy to confuse them with one another. How do you tell the difference between Christmas Cactus vs Thanksgiving Cactus vs Easter Cactus?
- The first thing to look at is the shape of their leaves. While a Christmas cactus has flattened leaf segments with pointed tips, a Thanksgiving cactus has a smoother edge and a more scalloped appearance. An Easter cactus has even more rounded edges than the Thanksgiving variety.
- Another thing that sets these plants apart is their stems. While the Christmas cactus’ stems are covered in a fine fur, those on the Thanksgiving cactus have sharp little spines all over them. Easter cacti don’t usually have any spines at all, but some do have bristles that grow along each segment of their stems. Thanksgiving cacti have stems with pointed teeth instead of rounded lobes like Christmas cacti.
- The size, shape, and timing of their blooms also help determine which species you’re dealing with. Christmas cacti generally bloom between late November and early January; Thanksgiving cacti bloom between late September and early November, and Easter cacti bloom between March and April.
Although the Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, and Easter Cactus share many similarities and belong to the same genus Schlumbergera, there are some pretty significant differences. All three species begin blooming in the fall and may continue to bloom through winter if given sufficient light and less water during the winter months.
The Christmas Cactus blooms between November and December (hence the name), thanksgiving cactus blooms between late September and October, while easter cactus usually blooms between March and April.
The flowers of Christmas Cactus are also typically smaller than Thanksgiving Cactus or Easter Cactus, and they don’t come in as many colors. The flowers of a Christmas Cactus are more trumpet-shaped than those of the Thanksgiving Cactus. The flowers of Thanksgiving Cactus are larger and come in a wider range of colors.
- Their stems: In general, Christmas Cactus or Schlumbergera bridgesii tend to have more rounded leaves.
Thanksgiving Cactus or Schlumbergera truncata tend to have more pointy leaves. Easter cacti have leaves with rounded teeth along the edge instead of pointed ones like Thanksgiving cacti. The flowers of the Easter cactus are larger and come in a wide range of colors just like the Thanksgiving cactus.
Unlike the Christmas cactus, the Thanksgiving cactus is typically used as a container plant for Thanksgiving table centerpieces. Not only are these plants beautiful, but they are also low maintenance and can last for years.
The holiday cactus comes in many forms, but three types of cacti are generally considered holiday cacti: Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus, and Easter cactus. They share similar characteristics and care requirements, but they bloom at different times of the year. I hope you’re as excited to grow these amazing plants as I am!
All three Cacti are easy to grow, just remember to water them correctly and don’t move them too often. If you follow this simple guideline, you’ll be enjoying your holiday cactus for many years to come.
These plants will even flower right on schedule, so make sure you have your camera ready on the holiday