Sitting on a white, thrift-store, wrought-iron plant stand, a gift from June earlier this summer, my cactuses are thriving outside in the filtered shade of the grove. They are captured clearly in the top photo, and through the criss-crossed fronds of the large potted palm in front of them.
I N D O O R P L A N T S — Glimpsed through one of the large potted palms, my Christmas and Thanksgiving cactuses love being outside all summer. They must be in the shade though, with only minimal filtered sunlight. They acclimate quite quickly from their other three seasons inside, and the beneficial insects keep them clean and healthy all summer. They can't seem to throw off enough new leaf segments. In the fall, they'll go in the guest room with the sheers closed, giving them around 7 hours of low-light. I don't use that room much, and the lights are never on at night, the perfect setting for these plants to set lots and lots of buds for their season. The Thanksgiving cactus usually blooms throughout the month of November and the Christmas cacti bloom from late November through February, with occasional new blossoms in April. These plants live forever, almost. They were given to celebrate births in my family, so their ages are well-known. I lost my grandmother's last year, which was 114, but had been in declining health for about five years. The stems eventually get so woody and so thickened that no amount of care, short of cutting the newest ones off and rooting them will help. Which is exactly what I did. I have one that is 92, which is the age my mom would be, and one that is 53, mine. I've given several away, and have started several more. The rest of mine are only 4-5 years old. The Thanksgiving cactus is approximately 35 years old, and was gifted to my mother from a former patient of hers.
The Thanksgiving cactus has points on its leaves, as opposed to the Christmas cactus's rounded lobes. Here it is shot looking down at it in the photo above. All of the brighter green leaves on the plants are new growth from this summer. This plant is a young 35-or-so years old.
For more on these plants, click here.
For how to care for these plants, click here. The photo illustrated on this site shows a plant with pointed leaves, which I would call a Thanksgiving cactus and they identify it as a Christmas cactus. I'd bet that the terms are probably interchangeable, and passed down from family member to family member as well, but I've used the ones I was taught. They have slightly differently shaped, and colored, flowers.