Christmas Cactus Care

Published on
November 20, 2023 at 11:38:00 AM PST November 20, 2023 at 11:38:00 AM PSTth, November 20, 2023 at 11:38:00 AM PST

The Christmas cactus is an exotic-looking, yet easy-to-grow houseplant and it’s pet-friendly too! The cactus generally set buds in the fall, and then will bloom from Thanksgiving through Christmas.


  • Normal room temperatures of 60-75° Fahrenheit


  • No need to be grown in special cactus soil, a well-drained potting mix will do.
  • They can tolerate the moisture that regular, peat-based potting soil provides.


  • Grow best in bright, indirect light. Some full sun is okay but too much direct sunlight will result in washed-out foliage.
  • Foliage that appears Kelly green in color is a visual indication of a healthy, happy Christmas cactus.
  • Ideal locations include a window with full northern exposure, or an eastern or western facing window with a translucent curtain to diffuse the light. If placing your Christmas cactus in a southern facing window, keep the plant 3-feet back from the windowpane.


  • Watered when soil feels dry to the touch approximately one inch below surface.
  • Other indications are when the pot is feeling very light in weight or when the plant is observed to be wrinkling.
  • Always water thoroughly, letting water run throughout the soil in the pot to the point of draining out the bottom, repeating a second time, and letting it drain fully before putting it back in its place.


  • Needs to be fed only during the April-September growing season.

Spot The Difference

Did you know there are different types of holiday cacti? Although they’re all quite similar, each has its own defining characteristics. We’ll help you identify the difference by taking a closer look at their leaves:

Thanksgiving Cactus

Schlumbergera truncata

  • 6-12" tall, 12-24" wide
  • Broad, pointy leaves
  • Fall Bloom: Typically when the cooler temperatures and shorter days approach.

Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera bridgesti

  • 6-12" tall, 12-24" wide
  • Scalloped, flat leaves
  • Bloom time: Typically from mid to late winter

Easter Cactus

Schlumbergera gaertnerrii

  • 6-12" tall, 12-24" wide
  • Rounded, scalloped leaves with soft hairs
  • Springtime Bloom: Typically from March to May