Back in October, I wrote a blog post about How to Care for a Christmas Cactus. I’d had my plant for three years and had rescued it from a woman who was going to throw it away. It had never bloomed (mainly because I hadn’t given it the proper care) so I was determined to see flowers this year.

I was a little worried when I saw flower buds starting so early, so imagine my surprise when they got bigger and bigger and eventually starting blooming – now, at Thanksgiving. It turns out I don’t have a Christmas cactus after all, but a Thanksgiving cactus!
Thanksgiving Cactus Blooms

Pink Thanksgiving Zygocactus Blooms

What’s the difference, and how can you tell?
Both plants come from the same family and look similar, so how can you tell the Thanksgiving cactus and Christmas cactus apart? The easiest way to tell is by the subtle differences in their leaf shapes, but there are also similarities in their flowers once they bloom.

A Thanksgiving cactus will bloom much earlier than a Christmas cactus (hence the name) because it doesn’t require the long periods of darkness – it’s geared to bloom as the days get shorter.

The care and keeping is still mostly the same, except that a Thanksgiving cactus won’t need to be placed in the dark at night. I’m thankful for my Thanksgiving surprise!

Thanksgiving Cactus with Pink Blooms