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Schlumbergera truncata (Thanksgiving Cactus)


Scientific Name

Schlumbergera truncata (Haw.) Moran

Common Names

Thanksgiving Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Crab Cactus, Claw Cactus, Linkleaf, Yoke Cactus


Epiphyllum truncatum, Zygocactus truncatus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Rhipsalideae
Genus: Schlumbergera


Schlumbergera truncata is a cactus with stems composed of strongly flattened segments with two or three "teeth" of varying shapes along their edges and at the ends. The ends of the stems are "cut off" rather than pointed. Individual segments are up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) wide. Flowers are up to 3.1 inches (8 cm) long and 2.4 inches (6 cm) across. There are six to eight tepals, which may be of various colors, including shades of red, orange, pink, and white. The flowers appear in fall.

How to Grow and Care

These plants are easy to grow and are often passed down through the generations. With Holiday Cactus, the million-dollar question isn't how to grow it, but how to make it bloom. With a little extra attention during the fall months, you can have your plants blooming for the holidays. Don't expose these plants to freezing temperatures! Despite their love of cooler temperatures, they are still tropical plants that won't withstand freezing conditions. They like about 50% to 60% humidity, which can be achieved using a pebble tray. Never place your Holiday Cactus near a heat register, exterior door, or drafty window and keep it out of burning sunlight.

Don't fall into the trap of constantly repotting into a bigger pot. Holiday Cactus likes to be root-bound, and repotting every 2 to 3 years (even back into the same pot) is plenty. If you repot, use a sterile, well-draining potting soil.

Holiday Cactus can easily be propagated by cuttings. Pinch off a section of stem that has 2 to 3 jointed segments. Let the cuttings dry for a few hours, then push them in a small pot with the same planting mix as the adult plant. See more at How to Grow and Care for Holiday Cactus.


It is endemic to a small area of south-eastern Brazil's coastal mountains, where its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist forests.


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