Common Name: Holiday Cactus, False Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus
Botanical name: Schlumbergera truncata
Schlumbergera truncata (very similar to the Christmas Cactus) brings heaps of holiday cheer with its soft pink tubular flowers and funky foliage. This lovely succulent needs bright indirect light and well-draining for a healthy life! Learn how to care for your Holiday Cactus with these simple tips!
Lots of bright indirect light, at least 8 hours per day, is necessary for Schlumbergera truncata . In nature, these plants thrive in desert environments where light is abundant, so providing similar amounts of light is a must for these plants. To force your Holiday Cactus to re-bloom, you must decrease the amount of daily sunlight to 12 hours and ensure that they are in complete darkness for the remaining 12 hours. Once the flower buds have formed, you can increase the light you give your Holiday Cactus!
Let the soil completely dry out before watering a succulent. These easy-care houseplants prefer arid conditions, making them a good fit for forgetful plant owners. When it is time to water, saturate the soil until water drains through the soil. Make sure to empty the cache pot and tray so the plant is not sitting in standing water. If you are still determining if your Schlumbergera truncata needs more water, it is best to wait a day or so until you water it once again. If you notice that the leaves are beginning to pucker, it is time to soak the soil!
Holiday Cactus requires that their potting soil should contain more drainage materials (compared to soils for most indoor plants), such as wood chips, perlite, coarse sand, or pumice, to allow the water to drain quickly. Most bagged soil-less potting soil made for indoor plants will work fine but remember that you must let the soil dry out completely before watering it again. You can add cactus potting soil mix to your potting soil to help the water drain if you feel the roots are staying wet for too long! A great time to do this is when you need to re-pot them into a larger pot. Keep in mind that Schlumbergera truncata do not require re-potting often as they can tolerate being slightly root-bound as their roots take a long to fill in the grow pot.
Average room temperature is suitable for succulents like the Holiday Cactus. These plants can do very well in warm temperatures. If you bring your succulent outside for the warmer months, get it back inside well before the temperatures turn chilly, as they are not cold-tolerant.
Staying true to their low-maintenance reputation, Schlumbergera truncata can live in low or average humidity. Succulents are very well suited to dry climates and prefer dry winter air, which is problematic for most other houseplants. It's typically best to avoid placing succulents in rooms prone to high humidity, like a kitchen or bathroom. Exposure to high humidity can cause fungal problems and may lead to leaf loss.
Generally, Holiday Cactus does not require a lot of feeding and can often do very well without being fertilized. However, fertilizing succulents can promote new growth and even more vivid colors and flowering for some varieties. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month to keep the succulent houseplant thriving.
Avoid too strong or frequent fertilizing that can damage the plant and burn the leaves. Take a break from fertilizing during the colder months, especially if the plant is not actively growing.
Holiday Cactus can reach heights (and an equal width) of 2' indoors with the proper care in 2 to 3 years.
Pet Friend or Foe
Schlumbergera truncata is non-toxic to pets! Friend!
- Holiday Cactus can be propagated through cuttings. Remove a leaf and let the cut end callous over before placing it in soil. Roots should form in about 4-6 weeks if placed in a warm and bright environment.
- Succulents do very well in terra-cotta pots. Due to the porous nature of terracotta, the soil is able to completely dry out which the plants prefer. Keep in mind that plants grown in terracotta pots may need to be watered more often since the soil can dry out so quickly, but it's still necessary to let the soil completely dry out before watering.
- If the leaves begin to shrivel or pucker, it is a sign the plant is too dry. Give your Schlumbergera truncata a nice long drink, let the excess water drain and the leaves should plump back up shortly.
- Re-pot your succulents when they have completely outgrown their pots. It might take years for this to happen depending on your climate, but they can live for many years without having to be transplanted!