Now is the time to starting thinking about your Christmas cactus if you are hoping for those beautiful blooms around the holidays. Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus are loved for their large, colorful tube shaped flowers. These cactus have flat leaves with either rounded(Christmas) or pointed(Thanksgiving) teeth on the edges. These cactus are not your typical sun and desert loving cactus, but rather native to the rainforests in South America.
Holiday cacti are pretty easy to care for in general however getting them to bloom again can be a challenge if they are not located in the right spot. In order to bloom these cactus must have at least 14 hours of darkness and 8-10 hours of light per day for about six weeks. Indoor lighting can mess with this ration of light and darkness so you may need to move the plant to a room that is used less often. Holiday cactus are also pushed into bloom by cooler temps between 50-55 degrees. Flowers won’t form if you keep your house too warm, above 68 degrees, even if light and dark conditions are perfect.
My Thanksgiving cactus is now in full bloom after spending the summer outdoors in a shady spot and virtually ignored until the temps cooled to around 50 degrees and I brought it inside. No matter when you get your cactus to bloom it is a treat for sure. Sargent’s usually has holiday cactus in stock in a variety of colors, but the plants are only in bloom closer to the holidays. Flower colors usually found are pinks, white and red but sometimes other colors are available during the season.