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Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving Cactus

November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving cactusAt the end of November, people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving – a holiday that is partly a harvest festival, partly a launch of the Christmas holiday season, and partly something to look forward to in a month that is usually dreary in my part of the country. In Maine, where it is not unusual to have the first plowable snow of the season during Thanksgiving week, Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of winter.

This year, November has been unusually warm and sunny, and I have done far more fall clean-up in the garden than I normally get to. I took advantage of record warmth during this holiday week to get the last of my fall garden chores done – putting garden furniture away for the winter and providing winter protection to some plants.

With that done, it is time to turn my attention to indoor plants. And, right on schedule, my Thanksgiving cactus (a Schlumbergera cultivar) is blooming. Its flamboyantly showy flowers are a perfect way to mark the beginning of an exuberant holiday season. I am particularly entranced by the variety of colors in its flowers: from coral to deep pink to the palest of lavenders. Soon these flowers will fade; but right now they make me smile every day, and I am giving thanks for my Thanksgiving cactus.

Schlumbergera

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2015 12:57 am

    No wonder you are smiling, your flowering cactus looks lovely. Happy Thanksgiving!
    We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, as such, here in Australia, but there is so much to be thankful for, I think I’ll start a new trend…!

    • November 30, 2015 10:43 pm

      Gerry, Thanksgiving is a favorite American holiday — full of good things to eat, good company, and taking time to savor and be thankful for the good things in life.

  2. November 29, 2015 6:34 am

    How beautiful! You do have some lovely ones in your collection.

    • November 30, 2015 10:44 pm

      Bernie, Interestingly, all these different colors of flowers are on the same plant.

  3. Jeanette permalink
    November 29, 2015 7:01 am

    I was happy to see your Thanksgiving cactus. I have one, too, and mine has multiple colors like yours. I received the plant as a gift a few years ago. It was very small and only had bright pink blossoms. Now, it has mostly bright pink, but also some peach-colored blossoms, and one that is white with a hint of pink. They are beautiful plants. The last two years, I have had it outside through the summer months where it can get lots of sun, bringing it inside before the frost can get it. I don’t get much direct sun in my house, and the summer outside makes it bloom much better.

    • November 30, 2015 10:46 pm

      Jeanette, I had never seen a multi-colored Schlumberbera until I got this one. I don’t think I knew it was multi-colored when I bought it, but it has been a treat to watch its colors develop. Interestingly, the tag says that the flowers are “white;” maybe it will live up to that description by developing some white flowers in the future.

  4. November 29, 2015 2:34 pm

    I love this plant! It reminds me of my Mom and my childhood. Thank you Jean!

    • November 30, 2015 10:47 pm

      Tatyana, I am loving it, too. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

  5. November 29, 2015 8:36 pm

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jean! Your Schlumbergera is better at reading the calendar than mine, which has lots of buds but no blooms as yet.

    • November 30, 2015 10:48 pm

      Kris, Maybe yours is a Christmas cactus and will bloom in time for that holiday. The tag on mine names it a “Holiday cactus,” which leaves lots of room for interpretation. I used to have a scarlet one that bloomed for Halloween each year.

  6. November 30, 2015 6:50 am

    A late Happy Thanksgiving Jean! so it’s not only here in Spain a unusual warmer fall? Temperatures here feel like a late summer, doesn’t feel like we are starting December tomorrow.

    • November 30, 2015 10:50 pm

      Lula, We just had our first seriously cold day today (with temperatures staying below freezing all day), but it is supposed to warm up again tomorrow. I just saw a long-range weather forecast that is predicting record-breaking warmth for much of the US for the first two weeks in December.

  7. November 30, 2015 12:48 pm

    Thank you for lifting the spirit with photos of your beautiful cactus. I so enjoy your posts with all the photos. Happy Holidays! Kathy

    • November 30, 2015 10:51 pm

      Happy Holidays, Kathy. I am always happy to share the beauty of plants in bloom.

  8. November 30, 2015 7:47 pm

    Unusual weather still here too…I have never seen this cactus with such a variety of bloom colors.

    • November 30, 2015 10:52 pm

      Nor had I, Donna — but see Jeanette’s comment above about her similarly multi-colored holiday cactus.

  9. December 1, 2015 3:38 pm

    My mother had one of these. It’s one of the few houseplants I have affection for.

    • December 5, 2015 5:21 pm

      Jason, I have houseplants in every room of my house, but the flowering plants are my favorites. The holiday cactus, like amaryllis plants, are a special treat because their bloom does not last long and I never know from one year to the next whether they will bloom or not. I suppose my cyclamen plants are my favorites because they are so easy to care for and bloom reliably for decades.

  10. December 1, 2015 5:36 pm

    a garden full of flowers, just in one pot!

    • December 5, 2015 5:22 pm

      Diana, It has been a special treat to have all these different colors of flowers in one pot.

  11. December 6, 2015 4:41 pm

    You grow it very well. The plant looks so happy and healthy–no wonder it has rewarded you with a great flush of blooms.

    • December 7, 2015 2:11 pm

      Hoover, I’ve had mixed results with Schlumbergera, but I’m delighted that this plant (which didn’t bloom at all last year) is looking so happy this year.

  12. December 10, 2015 7:12 am

    Jean, I share your appreciation of ‘Holiday’ cactus. They most certainly ease the transition to the indoor gardening season for northerners. My deep pink variety just completed its first major flush of blossoms but has a few lingering. It will perform again sometime after the new year, when indoor blooms are deeply appreciated.

    • December 11, 2015 10:55 am

      Joene, Mine is just about finished blooming, too — but I’ve never had one get a second flush of blooms. What a treat that would be! These are plants that I struggle with. For easy, reliable winter flowers, I depend on my stalwart cyclamen plants. (My environment and neglectful houseplant care seem to be more to their liking.)

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