There are 3 types of Holiday Cacti; Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. The differences in these Cacti can be found in their bloom time, leaf shape and, in the case of Easter Cacti, flower shape.
Thanksgiving Cacti – Blooms in mid to late fall. Its leaves have the sharpest edging and feature large tubular flowers.
Christmas Cacti – Blooms in late fall to early winter. Its leaves have more rounded edging and feature smaller tubular flowers.
Easter Cacti – Blooms late winter to early spring. Its leaves have the smoothest edging and feature starburst-like flowers.
Regardless of the variety, the care for all three is the same.
Light – During the growing season and while they are blooming, Holiday Cacti prefer moderate to bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight will cause leaf scorch and should be avoided.
Water – Though they are a type of cactus, Holiday Cacti are more tropical than their desert counterparts and as such don’t want to be allowed to dry out fully. Instead, water once the top third to top half of the soil has dried. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.
Soil – Well-draining potting soil, such as Espoma Potting Soil, or a cactus soil, like Espoma Cactus Soil are good choices for Holiday Cacti. If your soil is staying too wet, add perlite to increase drainage or ease back on your watering.
Temperature – Most of their lives, Holiday Cacti prefer temperatures between 65° and 80°, but they’ll want lower temperatures in order to bloom again. Protect them from drafts and do not expose to temperatures below 45°.
Humidity – Holiday Cacti benefit from higher humidity, especially during winter. Regular misting, a nearby humidifier or a tray of pebbles and water are easy ways to raise humidity levels.
Fertilization – Fertilize monthly with a diluted, balanced fertilizer like Bonide Liquid Plant Food. Stop fertilizing approximately 2 months before you want your Holiday Cactus to bloom again and resume feeding once blooming has begun.
Size – Holiday Cacti average only 6 to 12 inches high, and once they get high enough their stems will start to trail over the sides of their container.
Repotting – Relatively slow growing, Holiday Cacti usually only need repotting every few years. When repotting, select a container with good drainage and no more than 1 to 2 sizes larger than the current pot.
Deadheading – Pinch off spent blossoms to encourage new buds and a longer bloom period.
Blooming – Holiday Cacti need cooler temperatures and reduced lighting in order to bloom again. Approximately 6 to 8 weeks before you want them to begin blooming, keep your Holiday Cactus in darkness (12 to 14 hours per day) and keep the temperature between 50° and 60° until buds begin to form. You will also need to reduce your watering (allowing the soil to dry out almost completely) and cease fertilization until blooming begins. Once your Cactus has begun blooming, resume normal care.
Propagation – Easily propagated by division during repotting or by cuttings.
Toxicity – Considered non-toxic to people and pets when ingested.