This Thanksgiving Cactus Is the Perfect Turkey Day Centerpiece

Just look at those gorgeous blooms!

Right now everyone’s pretty well into Halloween mode, but we’re already thinking ahead to Thanksgiving. We’re making plans to watch the Macy’s parade and figuring out how to celebrate with family. (Not sure what’s safe on Thanksgiving? Here are the CDC guidelines.) Most of all, we’re figuring out what to serve on the most unusual “Turkey Day” in recent memory.

But of course, a Thanksgiving meal is only as good as the decorations surrounding it. That’s why you need a Thanksgiving cactus for this year’s holiday centerpiece. Yes, they’re real!

What Is a Thanksgiving Cactus?

You’ve probably heard of a Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii). But if you’ve ever encountered a Thanksgiving cactus, it’s probably because your Christmas cactus burst with glorious pink-red blooms too early. What you might not know is that those early bloomers are Thanksgiving cacti, and they’re a totally different species.

Thanksgiving cacti (Schlumbergera truncata) come in plenty of colors; pinkish-red seems to be the standard, but you can also find them in yellow or white. They do well in cool, shady climates (like the inside of your house) and require very little maintenance, which is awesome.

The main difference between Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti is the color of the pollen; although it’s worth noting Thanksgiving cacti have more pointed “teeth” on their stems. If you look closely at the pinkish flowers on the succulent, Thanksgiving cacti’s pollen stems are yellow, while Christmas cacti have white pollen.

By the way, we’re obsessed with succulent Christmas trees this year, too!

Where Can I Buy One?

If you’re looking to make your Thanksgiving even more festive with this pretty plant, you can find them at a variety of retailers. Etsy has several listings available, for everything from rooted cuttings to the whole plant—a search for “Thanksgiving cactus” brings up plenty of options. Amazon also has a Thanksgiving cactus, as well as several varieties of Christmas cacti.

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Emily Hannemann
Emily Hannemann is an associate digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in magazine writing from the University of Missouri - Columbia. When she’s not writing and editing, you’ll find her swimming, running, or hiking. She knows blue jays are controversial, but she loves them anyway.