Schlumbergera truncata (Thanksgiving Cactus)

Schlumbergera truncata

Schlumbergera truncata, also known as Thanksgiving cactus, or Thanksgiving Schlumbergera, or Christmas cactus, is an epiphytic plant that needs little care and growing tips to thrive in the home environment.

A common houseplant during the holiday season, the thanksgiving cactus, is an easy and beautiful plant to grow indoors or out.

Schlumbergera truncata looks very similar to the Christmas cactus but has some noticeable differences. The most apparent difference is that the Thanksgiving cactus has shorter and narrower leaves than its cousin, the true Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi).

Also, Thanksgiving cactus tend to flower earlier than Christmas cactus, typically around late summer or early fall instead of in late winter/early spring like the Christmas version does.

Schlumbergera truncata is a species of flowering plant in the family Cactaceae. It has many common names because of its wide cultivation.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for your thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and growing it in different environments so that your plant can thrive year after year!

Origin and distribution

Schlumbergera truncata is a species of cactus that is native to the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It is also known as the Thanksgiving cactus or crab cactus. The plant grows in the rainforest on rocky outcrops and cliff faces. It is found at altitudes of 500-2000 m.

If you are growing it indoors, you should place it in an area with bright light, ideally around 2500 lux. For optimal growth, water the plant only when the soil has dried out completely.

If you need to move your Schlumbergera truncata during a winter season change, then do so before March because they go dormant during this time of year due to cold weather and shorter days which changes their blooming cycles.

The plant needs a minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F). They can tolerate temperatures down to 2°C (36°F). So if you live in cooler regions, protect them from freezing temperatures by placing them close to heat sources such as fireplaces or radiators.

Thanksgiving cactus propagation

Schlumbergera truncata

Schlumbergera truncata can be propagated by stem or leaf cuttings. To take a stem cutting, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to remove a 2-3 inch section from the end of a healthy stem. Be sure to make the cut just below a node (the point where leaves are attached).

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Allow the cutting to callous for a few days before potting it in a well-draining cactus mix. Place in bright light but avoid direct sunlight and water until new growth begins.
Mature plants can also be propagated from leaf cuttings taken in spring or summer when new growth starts to appear.

The base of the mature leaf should have some visible nodes where you can clip off a 1/2 inch wide strip containing several nodes.

Make sure that you use a sterile blade or razor blade when taking your cutting and let it dry out for a day before planting. Then place in a clear plastic bag with moistened perlite and wait for roots to form. Once this happens, plant the leaf-cutting in soil or add it to an existing potted plant.

Water regularly so that the soil stays moist but not wet. Avoid transplanting into the direct sun at first so that they don’t get sunburned; gradually move them outdoors as they harden up over time.

Thanksgiving cactus care

Schlumbergera truncata

Schlumbergera truncata, also known as the Thanksgiving cactus, is a beautiful and festive plant that is easy to care for. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Thanksgiving cactus light requirement

The Schlumbergera truncata is a beautiful houseplant that is easy to care for. It does best in bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low-light conditions. When choosing a location for your plant, make sure to avoid drafts and direct sunlight.

Thanksgiving cactus soil or potting mix

Schlumbergera truncata is a beautiful houseplant that’s easy to care for when it comes to potting mix. The key to success with this plant is to provide it with well-draining soil or potting mix. I recommend using a mix of two parts peat moss and one part perlite.

Be sure to provide your Thanksgiving cactus with a potting mix that is well-draining and at least 50% sand or perlite for air circulation.

The perlite will help keep the soil light and airy, while the peat moss will hold moisture. If you don’t have any perlite on hand, you can use sand instead. You’ll also want to make sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom.

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The type of container you use is up to you – just make sure there are enough holes in the bottom so water can drain out easily if needed.

Thanksgiving cactus watering

Schlumbergera truncata thrives in humid environments. When watering, be sure to use lukewarm water and let the soil dry out completely between waterings. These plants do not like to be overwatered, so be sure to err on the side of caution.


Use a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the base of the plant, taking care not to get any on the leaves. Water the plant thoroughly after applying fertilizer.

Fertilize the t5hanksgiving cactus every two weeks from spring through summer, and then monthly from fall through winter.

Schlumbergera truncata temperature

Schlumbergera truncata prefers temperatures between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the cactus will start to experience winter dormancy and its growth will slow down.

However, if the temperature stays above 70 degrees Fahrenheit for too long, the cactus will start to experience summer dormancy and its growth will also slow down.


Schlumbergera truncata, or Thanksgiving cactus, is a popular houseplant because it is easy to care for and blooms around the holidays. These cacti are native to Brazil and thrive in humid environments.

To keep your thanksgiving cactus healthy, mist the leaves regularly with water or place the pot on a pebble tray filled with water. Be sure to not overwater, as this can lead to root rot. Your Thanksgiving cactus will also do best in bright, indirect light.

The ideal humidity range is 50-60% and the ideal temperature range is 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re unsure of what these ranges mean, most household hygrometers can help you monitor the humidity levels inside your home.

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Humidity should be adjusted depending on how often you water your plant; if you notice dryness at the base of the stem then increase moisture by either spraying more frequently or adding more pebbles to the bottom of its pot.


While the Schlumbergera truncata is easy to care for, it does require some pruning to keep it looking its best. The most common type of pruning on this plant is pinching off the tips of new shoots with your fingers to encourage branching and bushiness. The Thanksgiving cactus can also be cut back during the dormant season if it becomes too leggy or spindly.

When to repot

Schlumbergera truncata can be repotted every two to three years in the spring. When repotting, use a well-draining potting mix and a pot that is only one size larger than the current pot.

Be sure to water thoroughly after repotting. The Thanksgiving cactus requires bright light with protection from intense sun or heat. It needs about 12 hours of sunlight per day for the best flowering.

Allow soil to dry between watering periods, but never allow it to become too dry or it will drop its leaves and blooms. A fertilizer specifically formulated for cacti should be applied monthly during the growing season, March through October.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Schlumbergera truncata, like all cacti, enjoy a winter dormancy period. During this time, they should be kept relatively dry and cool, with temperatures around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit being ideal. watering should be reduced to once every 2-3 weeks, and fertilizer should not be applied.

Once spring arrives and daytime temperatures start to rise, you can begin gradually increasing watering and fertilizer application.

The plant will need more frequent waterings as it starts to grow again and care should be taken to make sure the soil is allowed to dry out between waterings. The recommended schedule for watering is two times per week during the summer months, with an increased frequency during the fall months when nighttime temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flowers & fragrance

Schlumbergera truncata

The Schlumbergera truncata is a beautiful plant that produces stunning flowers. Though the plant is native to Brazil, it is widely cultivated in the United States. The flowers of the Thanksgiving cactus are typically red, pink, or white and have a lovely fragrance.

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Growth rate

The Schlumbergera truncata generally has a moderate growth rate. When growing in ideal conditions, they can grow up to six inches per year. However, if the plant is not receiving enough light or water, the growth rate will be significantly slower. Proper care is essential to keeping this plant healthy and vibrant.


All Schlumbergera is considered non-toxic to humans and animals. However, the Thanksgiving cactus can cause stomach upset if ingested in large quantities. If you have pets, make sure to keep this plant out of their reach.

USDA hardiness zones

Schlumbergera truncata thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. In these zones, the plant will grow well outdoors all year round. When grown indoors, provide a location with a minimum of six hours of sunlight daily. Place plants in a potting mix that is well drained and contains peat moss or coconut coir fiber to help maintain adequate moisture levels.

Pests and diseases

Schlumbergera truncata is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. If you see any of these pests on your plant, you can remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Thanksgiving cactus is also susceptible to root rot, so make sure the plant has good drainage and isn’t sitting in water.

If you notice the leaves of your plant turning yellow or brown, this is likely due to too much sun exposure. Move your plant to a shadier spot and reduce watering. You can help prevent leaf scorch by applying a thin layer of horticultural oil to the surface of the soil every three months during hot summer months.