Thanksgiving Cactus ‘Exotic Dancer’ – Sunnyvale-Garden

Thanksgiving Cactus ‘Exotic Dancer’ – Sunnyvale-Garden

This vacation cactus was giving to us just a few years in the past by Marie’s sister Michelle.

Vacation cactus will be grown outdoor in Sunnyvale. Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) and Thanksgiving cactus are widespread, fall- and winter-flowering houseplants native to Brazil, and can be found in all kinds of colours together with pink, rose, purple, lavender, peach, orange, cream, and white. These Schlumbergera species develop as epiphytes amongst tree branches in shady rain forests, and their pendulous stems make them a fantastic selection for hanging baskets.

When grown below regular evening size situations, Thanksgiving cacti usually flower close to Thanksgiving roughly a month earlier than Christmas cacti bloom. One other member of the group offered as vacation cacti is the Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri), which flowers primarily within the spring and sporadically all year long with pink or pink flowers. Due to its bloom time, the Thanksgiving cactus is most predominately encountered on the market throughout the winter vacation season. Flowering can final up 7 to eight weeks if the crops are stored at 68 ºF.

To differentiate between the Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti, take a look at the form of the flattened stem segments, that are botanically known as phylloclades. On the Thanksgiving cactus, these stem segments every have 2 to Four saw-toothed serrations or projections alongside the margins. The stem margins on the Christmas cactus are extra rounded. Notice that there are not any true leaves on both of those vacation cacti, so photosynthesis happens inside the inexperienced phylloclades.

A second methodology to tell apart between these two Schlumbergera species is predicated on the colour of the pollen bearing anthers. The anthers of the Thanksgiving cactus are yellow, whereas the anthers on the Christmas cactus are purplish-brown.


Mild & Temperature: The vacation cacti develop greatest in mild shade. Full daylight is useful throughout fall and winter, however vivid solar throughout the summer season months could make crops look pale and yellow. Best spring and summer season progress happens at temperatures between 70 to 80 °F throughout its rising season from April to September. Through the fall, the Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti rely on shorter day lengths (eight to 10 hours) and cooler temperatures to set their flower buds. Don’t let temperatures rise above 90 °F as soon as the flower buds are set within the fall. Steady heat temperatures could cause flower buds to drop. Don’t depart these cacti exterior if temperatures will drop under 50 ºF.

The key of fine flower bud manufacturing throughout the fall includes temperature regulation and photoperiod (size of day and evening) management. To provoke flower buds the crops want:

Shiny mild.
Lengthy nights. Fourteen hours or extra of steady darkness every day is required earlier than flower bud set will happen. Lengthy nights needs to be began concerning the center of September and continued for no less than 6 steady weeks for full bud set. Notice that as little as 2 hours of interrupted lighting will inhibit flower bud set. Buds usually might be seen in three to Four weeks. The photoperiod has no impact on flowering as soon as the buds are set.
Fall rising temperatures needs to be stored between 60 and 68 °F, however as near 68 ºF as attainable for max flower manufacturing. Crops grown with evening temperatures between 50 and 59 ºF will set flower buds no matter day size, however progress might be slower and bud drop could happen at 50 ºF.
Pinching again the stems in early June to advertise branching and extra terminals for extra flowers.
Pinching (additionally known as leveling) on the finish of September to take away any terminal phylloclades which might be lower than 1 cm (0.Four inch) lengthy and to make all stems roughly the identical size. These quick and immature stem segments won’t provoke flower buds till mature. After a brief phylloclade is eliminated, a flower bud varieties on the earlier, extra mature stem section.
Watering & Fertilizer: Water the rising medium when it’s dry to the contact. The vacation cacti are tolerant of dry, barely under-watered situations throughout the spring and summer season. Don’t let the soil change into waterlogged, particularly throughout the darkish days of winter, however don’t let the soil fully dry out both. Nevertheless, following bud set within the fall, the rising medium have to be stored evenly moist to stop flower bud abscission. By no means let water stand within the saucer beneath the pot.

Fertilize crops month-to-month from the time new progress begins in late winter or early spring, and all through the summer season utilizing a one-half power soluble fertilizer, resembling a 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 with hint components. Vacation cacti have a better requirement for magnesium than many crops. Fertilize month-to-month throughout the rising season with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) blended at 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, however don’t apply the identical week because the common fertilizer. Cease fertilization throughout the late summer season for better flower bud manufacturing within the fall.

Thanksgiving cactus with pale pink blossom. James Blake, ©2011 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Rising Media: The vacation cacti flower greatest when stored considerably pot sure. Repotting is critical solely about as soon as each three years and is greatest completed within the spring. The potting medium have to be well-drained with good aeration, as these epiphytic cacti don’t develop nicely in heavy, moist potting mixes. A superb combine could comprise 60-80% potting soil with 40-20% perlite. Select model of potting soil which is pH balanced.


Vacation cacti are straightforward to propagate by cuttings, that are taken in Might or June. Pinch off sections of stems with three to five phylloclades (stem segments) on every. Enable the lower ends of the sections to callus by inserting them outdoor within the shade for a day or two. Select a well-drained potting soil and new or disinfested containers for rooting. Place three cuttings at roughly one inch deep into the potting soil of a 4-inch container, or use 5 cuttings in a 6-inch container. Water the soil nicely, and canopy the crops and rooting container with a transparent plastic bag secured with a rubber band across the container. The plastic bag will act as a miniature greenhouse to maintain the relative humidity at 100% to reinforce rooting. Place the container in vivid, oblique mild till roots have fashioned in three to eight weeks. Right now the plastic bag will be eliminated, and a dilute fertilizer answer can be utilized at watering.


The Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti generally drop unopened flower buds, which can be induced by an extreme variety of buds or a sudden change in temperature, mild or different environmental components, resembling drying out of the rising medium. Lack of flowering is commonly on account of mild interrupting the lengthy evening interval (14 hours) that’s required for flowering initiation to happen. Avenue lights, automobile lights or indoor lighting can disrupt the required darkish interval.

The main illness is root rot, which will be prevented by avoiding extreme watering. Bugs and associated pests embrace mealybugs, smooth brown scale, pink spider mites, aphids and fungus gnats.

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