Difference Between Christmas Cactus and Thanksgiving Cactus

Both Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti look alike and similar but can be easily differentiated if looked at carefully. Christmas and Thanksgiving are both joyous and exciting festivals.

They bring the spirit of togetherness, unity, luck, and responsibility. Cactus is a basic type of plant that we usually keep in our houses, but unlike regular ones, these that we receive during Christmas and Thanksgiving hold special importance.

These two cacti belong to the same plant family.

Christmas Cactus vs Thanksgiving Cactus

The main difference between Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus is that the cactus that is given as a present during Christmas is scientifically named Schlumbergera bridgesti, whereas that given during thanksgiving has a scientific name called Schlumbergera truncata. The Christmas ones have crenate-shaped leaves, whereas the thanksgiving ones have pointy and sharp leaves.

Christmas Cactus vs Thanksgiving Cactus

Christmas cactus symbolizes togetherness as the cactus stays alive for years. These cacti do not grow directly from the soil but from rocks and tree trunks in which debris has been collected.

These last throughout the year but bloom from early-winters to mid-winters, that is, during Christmas. They act as a great decor to any interior.

Thanksgiving cactus is another type of seasonal bloomer that is given as a present during thanksgiving. This cactus mostly blooms throughout mid-fall to late fall.

Hence they’re a great choice of gift during the thanksgiving season and hence named after the festival.

Comparison Table Between Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus

Parameters of ComparisonChristmas Cactus Thanksgiving Cactus
Scientific name It has a scientific name called Schlumbergera bridgesti. It has a scientific name called Schlumbergera truncate.
Blooming SeasonIt blooms during the early-winters to mid-winters.It blooms from mid-fall to late fall.
Shape of leavesIt has crenate-shaped leaves.It has prickly and pointy leaves in comparison to the Christmas one.
Symbolism It symbolizes togetherness and love.It symbolizes toughness and pure love.
Blooming PeriodIt blooms after the thanksgiving one.It blooms before the Christmas one.

What is Christmas Cactus?

Christmas cactus has a scientific name called Schlumbergera bridgesti. This cactus is a native origin from Brazil. It is often given as a present during Christmas as it acts as great interior decor and grows quite well even within the slightest attention.

This cactus has crenate-shaped leaves.

They grow out of rocks and trunks of different plants. These cacti do not require much water to grow like other cactus. However, they can be watered once a week, depending upon the surrounding weather.

The cactus should get sunlight, but it should not fall directly on the cactus as this could burn out its leaves.

These cacti can live for years if given the correct attention. These plants are named after the festival Christmas due to their blooming season, which falls near this festival. Hence, Christmas becomes the right holiday season to gift this particular cactus.

These cacti have various tales for their gifting reasons. Many people say that the cluster of flowers in this cactus resembles the cluster of jingle bells.

There is no such specific reason behind the gifting of this cactus, but one could see it as a symbol of a relationship that will last long, even with the slightest attention given to it.

This cactus is a great decor to the Christmas white as its flowers are red and orange in color.

What is Thanksgiving Cactus?

Thanksgiving cactus has a scientific name called Schlumbergera truncate. It has prickly and sharp leaves compared to other cacti of its family. Like that of other cactus, it requires less water to grow and needs an area with no direct sunlight.

This cactus grows particularly in between mid-fall to late-fall and hence is named after the thanksgiving festival. This cactus is mainly given to gardeners as a sign of respect for their hard work to make the world green and healthy.

The thanksgiving plant should only be watered when completely dried. Frequent watering of these cacti can lead to their death.

The basic job of the person owning this cactus is to keep its roots moisturized. Unlike other plants roots of these cactus needs to breathe as they are not completely submerged into the soil.

There could be much symbolism made for the gifting of a thanksgiving cactus.

It could be given to show that a cactus grows even in harsh conditions. Any environmental limitation does not stop it from growing. Similarly, the person giving it to you is ready to intake any harsh conditions in order to save you.

Another symbolism of it could be that the person gifting it to you wants you to be strong in life and survive all the difficulties. Overall this cactus acts as a great gift due to the less effort it takes for its growth.

Main Differences Between Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus

  1. Chrismas cactus has a scientific name called Schlumbergera bridgesti, whereas that thanks-giving one is called Schlumbergera truncate.
  2. Christmas cactus blooms during the early-winters to mid-winters, whereas the thanksgiving one blooms from mid-fall to late fall.
  3. Christmas cactus generally has crenate-shaped leaves, whereas that of thanksgiving has more prickly and sharp.
  4. Christmas cactus is more like a symbol of togetherness and love, whereas that of thanksgiving is a symbol of toughness and a strong bond.
  5. Christmas cactus blooms after that of the thanksgiving one, and hence they are named accordingly.
Difference Between Christmas Cactus and Thanksgiving Cactus


It can be concluded that both of these cacti have come down from the same family of cactus. They both have their different scientific names, and their common names have been given according to the season of their blooming.

Many ancient tales give a reason behind the gifting of these cacti to their respective festivals. However, many take the Christmas one as the symbol of holiday togetherness, whereas that of thanksgiving as a symbol of toughness and pure love.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031942200001291
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-81-322-3912-3_826.pdf
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