What Are the Different Varieties of Christmas Cactus and Their Colors?
All of the different types of Christmas Cactus are truly beautiful and festive, perfect for celebrating the holiday seasons.
They’re aptly named after the holiday around which they bloom, which makes it super easy to know which one to buy.
Another huge reason for how popular these quirky plants are is how easy they are to care for, and their ability to survive cold, dark nights of the winter months.
It’s quite strange that they’re happy living in our cold winters. The plants are actually native to tropical Brazil, where they thrive in the humid rainforests and forests.
Whether you’re looking for plants to give at Christmas for gifts, looking for some Christmas flowers, or Christmas house plants to brighten up your home, we’ve got all the information you need.
One of the common questions about these vibrant cacti is what the different varieties are, and what are all the Christmas Cactus colors.
In this post, we cover all the essential information about identifying and caring for your favorite festive plants.
What Are the Different Types of Christmas Cactus?
How Many Types of Christmas Cactus Are There?
There are three common holiday cacti. They get their names from the holidays they bloom around.
All three are easy plants to grow and care for.
They have similar growth habits with slight differences in when they flower.
Technically, the Christmas Cactus is one of two schlumbergera Christmas house plants, the Christmas Cactus and the Thanksgiving Cactus.
The Easter Cactus is from a different plant family but looks very closely related, so it’s commonly thought to be part of the same family.
What Are the Three Types of Christmas Cactus?
Christmas cactus leaves are smaller than the other varieties with smooth, rounded edges.
The flowering period is usually thanksgiving till Christmas: (middle November to late December.)
They might even bloom till January, depending on the variety of cactus you have and how well cared for the plant is.
The flower color can vary from pink, red, golden-yellow, or white.
Schlumbergera Buckleyi or Zygocactus
It Blooms in late autumn, about a month before the Christmas Cactus.
The Thanksgiving cactus has spikier leaves than the closely related Christmas cactus.
The Easter Cactus belongs to a completely different plant family even though it looks very similar to the Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti.
Easter cactus buds start to show in February and the flowers bloom around Easter time.
How Did the Christmas Cactus Get Its Name?
The Christmas Cactus gets its name from the season it blooms in. However, it isn’t a typically wintery plant.
The Christmas and Thanksgiving varieties are actually native to tropical Brazilian rainforests, and the Easter cactus is native to Brazilian forests, so it’s unusual that it’s become such a festive staple in our homes.
What Are The Different Christmas Cactus Colors?
Christmas flowering plants tend to feature typically festive colors of red, green, and white.
Think mistletoe, holly plants, holly berries, and poinsettia plants.
It’s no surprise that the most recognizable color for Christmas Cacti is vibrant shades of red.
But, some varieties come in:
As well as less the less common:
Red Christmas Cacti
This plant has flowers of the truest red, but it is also an early bloomer so might not last up until the festive period. For best results, plant in a standing container rather than a hanging basket.
The Thor Carmen blooms later in the season than the Kris-Kringle and Dark Marie and is a strong, fast-growing variety.
The “Dark Marie” produces dark purple buds. When it flowers it has red petals with white centers.
This variety blooms early in the season so might be done flowering before Christmas.
White and Yellow Cacti
The Thor Britt features white flowers with a slight touch of pink at the center of the petals and pink stamens. It is an upright variety rather than a trailing plant.
This dramatic plant starts with purplish buds that eventually open into gold flowers with pink blush centers and dark purple stamens.
The White Christmas blooms early in the autumn/winter season with small, creamy white flowers.
Another yellow variety that grows vigorously and features large, golden flowers.
This aptly named cactus blooms later on in the season and features orange or peach flowers with purple stamens.
This cactus has much more pale, almost peach blooms, with a purple tinge and purple stamens. It is an upright variety and grows vigorously.
This plant has a dense, compact form that features purple buds which open up into bright orange flowers.
The Madslome is similar to the orange Malindi but with a slightly darker colored flower and a creamy white center. It’s also an early bloomer.
Pink and Purple Varieties
The Thor Rit is a trailing cactus plant perfect for hanging baskets. It has large, bright pink flowers.
Like the Thor Rit, the Thor Tina is also a trailing variety with pink flowers but it blooms later in the season.
The Nicole plant is a late-blooming variety that features lavender flowers with creamy white centers.
The Dark Eva has dark purple buds that open into white flowers tipped with lavender.
It blooms early in the season.
How to Care for A Christmas Cactus
Another reason why these plants are great for the winter months is they prefer dark nights and relatively cool temperatures (roughly between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 and 18 degrees celsius.)
During active growth, water your cactus whenever the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch.
Make sure to not over-water or leave your plant standing in water.
A period of dryness is important for the holiday cactus, but particularly the Easter Cactus which is native to the forest rather than the rainforest.
After the plant has finished flowering, water the holiday cactus sparingly until new growth starts to appear.
For more festive plant gardening tips, check out our Open For Christmas article How To Care For And Grow Christmas Plants.
Christmas Cactus FAQs
How Do I Know What Kind of Christmas Cactus I Have?
The easiest way to find out which festive cacti you have is to look at the leaves.
The Thanksgiving cactus has spiky leaves and is nicknamed the lobster cactus, so if its leaves resemble pincers then this is probably what you’re working with.
The Christmas Cactus looks similar to the Thanksgiving cactus but with rounded leaves instead of the spiky hook.
And finally, to identify the Easter Cactus have a look for wider, scalloped leaves different from the other holiday cacti.
How Many Times Does a Christmas Cactus Bloom in a Year?
Usually, a Christmas Cactus will bloom once a year. Some people’s holiday cacti bloom multiple times a year, either by accident or by implementing specific conditions to encourage a second bloom.
How Long Do Christmas Cactus Live?
When properly cared for, Christmas cacti can live for 20 to 30 years with an annual or bi-annual flowering.
Final Thoughts On Types of Christmas Cactus and All The Christmas Cactus Colors
It’s no secret that Christmas Cacti make the perfect festive additions to our homes.
In a season where it’s typically difficult to make plants survive let alone flower, these easy-to-care-for plants are great for brightening up the home as houseplants or as a beautiful gift.
And to make things even easier, we explained all the different types of Christmas Cactus and the Christmas cactus color varieties so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Plus, since we aren’t gardening experts, or claiming to be, we’d like to think our guide to Christmas cacti is as easy to understand as it is to care for a holiday cactus!
Since this festive plant blooms in a wide range of colors, from the traditional red to vibrant purples, pinks, oranges, golds, and whites, it’s a beautiful way to brighten up the home in a typically dreary season.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips, information, and advice for all things cacti.
If you’ve had fun reading this post, you might like some of our similar posts from Open For Christmas listed below.
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- How to Look After a Poinsettia | The Best Tips & Tricks
- 22 Amazing Christmas Tree Facts You Need To Know