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Do Christmas Cactus (Thanksgiving, Holiday) Flower More Than Once A Year? Oh Yes!

Do Christmas Cactus (Thanksgiving, Holiday) flower more than once a year? Oh yes they can! My Christmas Cactus is blooming again in February & I want to share the conditions it's growing in that got it to bloom again.

a red christmas cactus in a terra cotta pot sits on a bright blue table. the text reads do christmas cactus flower more than once a year? oh yes!

Christmas Cactus are extremely popular when November and December roll around.  I happen to like them even when they’re not in bloom and think they make fine houseplants. But wait, did you know that they can repeat flower? Mine started re-blooming in February, so yes, Christmas Cactus do flower more than once a year.

Let’s get a bit technical for those of you who geek out on all things plant like me. The Christmas Cactus that you see here and in the video is actually a Thanksgiving (or Crab) Cactus. It was labeled as a CC when I bought it and that’s how it’s commonly sold in the trade. Nowadays you may see them labeled as Holiday Cactus. Regardless of which one you have, they can re-bloom more than once a year.

My Christmas (Thanksgiving, Holiday) Cactus in bloom again:

I’ve gotten a few comments on reader’s Christmas Cacti flowering more than once a year and questions as to whether this was “normal” or not. Some people’s flower again and some don’t. What causes them to bloom again? I’ll share with you the conditions mine has been in and what I’ve done.

A red Christmas Cactus in a terra cotta pot sits in front of a white wall & dark green bush with orange berries

Here’s how my Thanksgiving Cactus looked last November. This winter repeat bloom is much sparser.

First off, I haven’t purposefully done anything to cause the re-blooming. I’ve found that some plants, like Hoyas, flower when they darn well please. The conditions I’ve had it growing in have most likely caused it. My cactus was sitting on my kitchen counter when it was in bloom for our viewing pleasure.

It stopped blooming in early December and I left it in that spot when I went to San Francisco to do a Christmas decorating job. When I got home in mid-month, I moved it into an east-facing window in my office. Because I live in the Arizona desert, it won’t be growing in that spot much past May – too hot!

There’s copious amounts of sun here in Tucson so the Christmas Cactus got ample light during the day. I’m out of my office by 4 so it received at least 12 hours of total darkness each night. Another factor: I turn my heat down to 65 at night, and because it was on the window sill, the plant stayed cool.

close up of christmas cactus leaves

There are redbuds popping their heads out of the leaf sections so I’ll have flowers for at least another month.

So that’s what I think did it – the combo of the almost equal amounts of light/dark and the cooler evening temperatures. I haven’t fed the plant at all but will nourish it my usual blend of worm compost and compost when I repot it after the blooming is finished. I back off on the watering frequency when my Christmas Cactus isn’t in bloom and water it about once a week when it is. They’re epiphytic cacti native to the rainforests and therefore require more water than desert cacti.

As you can see, the bloom at this time isn’t nearly as big as it was around Thanksgiving. The flowering is much more sporadic but lovely nonetheless. There are quite a few buds barely poking their heads out of many leaf sections so it should have flowers on it for at least another month or so. By the way, each flower seems to last 4-5 days. I gently twist them off when the bloom is starting to look bad.

Does your Thanksgiving or Christmas Cactus bloom more than once a year? Please fill us in – inquiring horticultural minds want to know!

Happy gardening,

Nell-Foster-Joy-Us-Garden

 

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17 comments:

  1. I have a Christmas that I have had for 12 years. I bought it a the 99 cents store in Surprise Az. It never once bloomed. I moved to Cornville Az. in 2014 I had it in the bathroom, and still no bloom. I moved it in the dinning room in March of this year, and it started blooming all over.It has 2 new blooms on it. I am over whelmed . I don’t no why or how it happened. I don’t even no if it will bloom another time or not. I just water it once a week. I don’t no if I should even call it a Christmas Cactus or not.

  2. Hi Nell!
    My Christmas Cactus is some 20 or 30 years old. We are growing old together, and I love this plant. This plant is a bit of a spouse to me. It is always there, it makes me happy, and I’m doing my best to keep the plant healthy and happy.
    It flowers every year in November, and in most years it flowers again sometime in spring.
    This year, however, it flowered in March, and for reasons absolutely unknown to me it is flowering now (end of April) for the third time after November and March. I am absolutely stunned!
    Best wishes from Berlin to the Arizona desert!
    Marc

  3. Hi Marc –
    Thank you for sharing! I was visited Berlin in the summer 6 years ago & loved it by the way. I was surprised & delighted at how green your city is – the trees are so big.
    With plants you never do know, that’s for sure! Some CC flower once a year, & some more. I’m glad to hear your CC is 20-30 years old because I know them to be long lived houseplants.
    And yes, they do become our friends & companions! Cheers, Nell

  4. Hi all! 4 yrs. ago a nice lady gave me a christmas cactus that was a start off of one she had, as she was transporting it here a small part broke off. So I have the bigger one, which in 4 yrs. has had maybe a total of 4-5 flowers the entire time. And the little bit that broke off I also put in a pot, stuck it in the window and had no idea if it would make it. After the first year, year and half (or so) it took right off and started blooming!! It has flowers all the time, all year round it is blooming!!! Is this unusual??

  5. Hi Tracy – I’ve heard of off & on flowering during the year like mine used to do in my Santa Barbara garden. Flowers all the time & non-stop blooming is something I’ve never seen or read. So yes, for me it is!

  6. My aunt, who is now deceased gave me a Christmas cactus about 4 yrs ago. I have it sitting in front of my glass door on the south side of my house. It is over an air vent too. I don’t do anything to it except water it but the spot must be ideal. It blooms continually from Oct-March. I just noticed today it is full of buds again. I wonder why it blooms so often. I tell folks that maybe my aunt is blessing it. I enjoy it and think of her each time it blooms.

  7. Maybe your aunt is Wendy! It’s a wonderful thought. When I lived in Santa Barbara, mine growing outdoors bloomed quite a bit. Location & environment is everything – it must be quite happy in its spot. Nell

  8. I have a Christmas plant given to me by a friend 2 years ago. Last Christmas it has bloomed twice ,into February . This year in November it bloomed and again in February . To my surprise it bloomed again in May and I am totally shocked to see it is again starting to have buds on the tips. When I say bloomed I mean the plant is covered with blossoms. The plant itself is big and healthy looking . Evenly proportioned, love my plant.

  9. I have never reported or moved my cactus from the same spot. It is supposed to be a Thanksgiving cactus, but it blooms continuously all year.

  10. Hi. Can I assume from your photo that these plants aren’t toxic to cats? Thanks.

  11. H Monica – I’ve gotten 3 blooms out of a Thanksgiving Cactus. It sounds like yours is very happy. Thanks for sharing so other can read this! Nell

  12. Hi Ramona –
    They do better when slightly potbound. Sometimes they bloom off & on all year – yours must be happy. Nell

  13. Hi Erin – Yes, it’s non toxic to both cats & dogs. Nell

  14. My Christmas cactus has bloomed non stop from before Halloween we moved into a new house with a sunroom and it is happy. March 6 and many flowers and 13 new buds. Don’t know how to post a picture here

  15. Hi,
    My daughter (a pre-school teachers’ assistant) was given a Christmas Cactus in December, 2017 and she immediately handed it off to me. (We’re happy her cats and kids are thriving and that she doesn’t have a black thumb with them 😉 ) I placed it in my kitchen window and watered it lightly once a week. I repotted it into a slightly larger pot and kept it in the same window (which faces south but is blocked by tall trees and the house next door). It started to bud in November, 2018 and I was thrilled. Now, in early March, it has double the buds it had before and I’m beyond joyful. I won’t repot it again – I’m afraid to push my luck. Other neighbors recently cut down some trees and I am now getting more (but still limited) sunlight. It’ll be interesting to what happens this year. Thanks for your great information!

  16. Hi Ellen – You’re very welcome; thanks for stopping by! Sounds like your CC is happy in its environment. Some sun is okay – just keep your eye on it & makes sure it doesn’t burn. I this it as a houseplant & the flowers are the icing on the cake! Nell

  17. Cheryl – Sounds beautiful. And such a long bloom time! Thanks for sharing, Nell

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