By November, all of that gorgeous fall foliage is typically past its peak, and greenery outside can begin to look and feel a little dreary. That's the perfect time to bring a splash of color to your home with a vibrant, colorful Thanksgiving cactus! No, we're not talking about the kind of cactus you'd find in the desert. In fact, a Thanksgiving cactus is actually considered a succulent. This tropical plant is native to South America and known for its colorful and prolific blooms, which range in color from white to red, orange, yellow, and pink.

Even if you haven't been blessed with a green thumb, this easy-to-grow plant shouldn't give you too much trouble. Much like a Christmas cactus or an Easter cactus, with the right care, Thanksgiving cactuses can live and bloom for up to 100 years. Talk about an heirloom plant!

Follow these Thanksgiving cactus care tips to make the most of your pretty holiday plant.

How do I care for a Thanksgiving cactus?

Thanksgiving cactuses bloom in the fall, and during that time you should place yours in a spot in your home that gets bright, indirect light. The best kind of soil for these succulents is one that is well-draining and pH balanced, so try a blend of peat moss, perlite, and sand. Be sure to keep the soil moist at all times but do not overwater. If you'd like, you can use the “soak and drain” method by watering your cactus over the sink and allowing the excess water to drain out.

What triggers a Thanksgiving cactus to bloom?

Thanksgiving cactuses typically bloom in or around November. The flowering is brought on by the shorter days and cooler nights of the fall. If you want to trigger your cactus to bloom, you can place it outside overnight for six to eight weeks in 50–55 degree weather. (Just be sure to bring it inside if temperatures drop below 40 degrees!) Once they bloom, the flowers will last for approximately two to four weeks, so if you're lucky you'll get to enjoy them for much of the holiday season.

What is the difference between a Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus?

Thanksgiving and Christmas cactuses are quite similar, but you can find key differences in their leaves and bloom times. Christmas cactuses bloom in the early winter, and as we know, Thanksgiving cactuses bloom in the late fall. You can also recognize Thanksgiving cactuses by their claw-like leaves, while Christmas cactuses are known for having scalloped leaves. The great news is that once your Thanksgiving cactus has stopped blooming for the fall, you can buy a lovely Christmas cactus to brighten up your home through the New Year!

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Tierney McAfee

Tierney McAfee is a freelance writer and Country Living and The Pioneer Woman contributor who covers entertainment, holiday & entertaining, food & drinks, design ideas, DIY, and more.