How To Tell The Difference Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, And Easter Cacti

source: iStock

If you like plants and gardening, you’ve probably heard of (or may even own) a Christmas cactus. These beautiful flowering cacti can thrive with very little attention, and live for decades. However, did you know there are also Thanksgiving and Easter cacti? And that they can look quite similar, leading many people to believe all three varieties are Christmas cacti? Well today, we’re going to go over those differences so you can confidently tell the difference between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cacti!

Thanksgiving Cactus

source: iStock

Though very similar looking to a Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cacti have a few key differences that set them apart. Firstly, they will often bloom early (in November), which can be your first clue your Christmas cactus may actually be a Thanksgiving cactus.

Secondly, the leaves on a Thanksgiving cactus are different – the leaves have pointy spines with two to four spines on each side of the leaf.

Thanksgiving cacti produce blooms from the tip of the leaf. They bloom in a variety of colors, most commonly sprouting pink, orange, red, or white flowers. If the flowers are tipped with bright yellow pollen, you can be fairly certain you have a Thanksgiving cactus.

Christmas Cactus

source: NMSU Desert Blooms

A Christmas cactus won’t typically bloom until December. However, it’s not unusual for Christmas cacti to bloom in the spring as well. Christmas cacti have leaves that are more rounded or scalloped, as opposed to the pointier spines seen in Thanksgiving cacti.

The flowers produced by Christmas cacti look very similar to the blooms produced by a Thanksgiving cacti. However, instead of the flowers being tipped with yellow pollen, the pollen will be pink.

Easter Cactus

source: iStock

The Easter cactus, on the other hand, is part of a different family than Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti. The Easter cactus generally blooms from the late winter to the early spring, with blooms coming in a wide range of colors.

How to Care for Cacti

Although Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cacti have multiple differences, caring for the three varieties is relatively similar. Cacti prefer bright but not direct sunlight. There is a misconception that cacti need very little water, but this is not true. You should water a cacti plant well, ensuring the soil has time to fully dry out before its next water. Other than that, these guys are low-maintenance!

And there you have it! Now you will be able to identify Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cacti whether you’re giving one as a gift, or receiving one. These cacti varieties are beautiful, low-maintenance, and add in much-needed pops of color when the weather outside tends to be dull and dreary.