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Christmas cactus or not

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Christmas cactus or not

Christmas cactus or not?  Did you know there’s a Thanksgiving Cactus?  I didn’t until a few years ago!  I had a cactus from my mom for YEARS and always thought it was a Christmas cactus with extreme flowering capability!   Finding out there’s a difference and it has to do with the lobes, was, well, somewhat embarrassing.  My powers of observation were not apparently keen!

You can clearly see the difference in LOBES!  The Christmas cactus (rounded lobes) blooms about 5 to 6 weeks later than Thanksgiving cactus (pointy lobes).

The anthers, the pollen-bearing parts of flowers, are purplish-brown for the Christmas cactus while the Thanksgiving cactus anthers are yellow.  Also, the ovaries in the flower of Christmas cacti are ribbed while Thanksgiving cacti have a smoother appearance.

These succulents should be allowed to dry out half way, then water thoroughly, allowing the water to run out the bottom of the pot, then empty the saucer.  They both like it cool, so don’t worry about drafts.  Keep in bright, indirect light.  While they’re flowering, fertilize them with a weak all-purpose fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks.

Christmas cactus

Christmas cactus

 

Christmas cactus - Torrey Pines

Christmas cactus – anthers

Thanksgiving cactus - notice the white anthers

Thanksgiving cactus – notice the white anthers

 

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