Thanks for the Thanksgiving cactus

Schlumbergera truncata, an unwieldy name for the Thanksgiving cactus

In my post on unkillable houseplants, I missed a worthy addition that proves its worth with its pretty flowers around this time of year, Slumbergera truncata. It’s commonly known as the Thanksgiving cactus, referring to its bloom time near American Thanksgiving at the end of November. (It might also be called the Christmas cactus, however this is a slightly different species.)

Cool, not cold, temperatures and long, dark nights are the keys to producing a good crop of flowers. You can get more detailed information here from the Missouri Botanical Garden website. I bring mine outdoors to a semi-shady spot for the summer, then leave it outside for as late in the season as possible when the cool fall weather comes. When I bring it back in, I try to avoid turning the pot in a new direction. I’ve been told this can cause the plant to drop buds. Have you found this?

And the best thing for me is its tolerance for drought. This is a plant with such a will to live – and flower – that even some of the stems the squirrels knocked off the plant set buds and flowered, without being replanted. You can see them on the table in the shot above. This is a keeper.

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