How To Force A Thanksgiving Cactus To Bloom

How to Force a Thanksgiving Cactus to Bloom? Expert Tips

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Are you curious about how to encourage a Thanksgiving cactus to blossom? Well, you’re in good fortune because I have some useful suggestions to offer.

I recently faced the same challenge with my Thanksgiving cactus and discovered some simple yet effective techniques to encourage those beautiful blooms.

You don’t need any special tricks or secrets – just be patient and take good care of it, and it will start blooming with vibrant colors. Let’s go through the simple steps to make it happen.

A Guide To Force A Thanksgiving Cactus To Bloom

Thanksgiving Cactus

Step 1: Start with the Right Soil

To set the stage for blooming success, ensure your Thanksgiving cactus is potted in well-draining cactus soil [1]. 

It will prevent waterlogged roots and ensure optimal growing conditions.

Step 2: Water Carefully

Maintain a watering routine that strikes a balance between hydration and drought. Always water when the soil is dry, and never let it dry completely.

“A cactus doesn’t live in the desert because it likes the desert; it lives there because the desert hasn’t killed it yet.” 

Hope Jahren, American Geochemist

In October, reduce watering to just the top inch of soil to induce dormancy, a critical phase for blooming.

Step 3: Manage Light Exposure

Thanksgiving cacti require specific light conditions. For most of the year, provide indirect sunlight. 

However, you should introduce it with some direct sunlight during its blooming season in late fall. 

To initiate flowering, ensure the plant experiences 12 to 24 hours of daily darkness or use light-blocking fabric to simulate darkness if needed.

Step 4: Prune for Growth

Pruning might seem counterintuitive, but it’s vital in promoting blooming. After its flowering season, trim your cactus. 

It encourages new growth, setting the stage for more impressive blooms in the future.

Step 5: Temperature Treatment

Exposing your Thanksgiving cactus to cooler temperatures (50-55°F) for six to eight weeks to encourage bud formation. 

This cold treatment imitates its natural habitat and can trigger the formation of flower buds.

Step 6: Consider a Hanging Planter

Given its size, it’s wise to consider potting your Thanksgiving cactus in a hanging planter. This accommodates its growth and adds a touch of elegance to your décor.

Why Won’t My Thanksgiving Cactus Bloom?

Several factors may be at play if your Thanksgiving cactus refuses to bloom. Beyond the common care guidelines, low temperatures can hinder blooming. 

These cacti [2] require a specific amount of darkness daily, and excess sun exposure during their rest period can disrupt this crucial cycle. 

Aside from that, over-fertilization can lead to abundant foliage at the expense of blooms. 

To force your Thanksgiving cactus into flowering, ensure it receives the right balance of light, darkness, and proper temperatures. 

Lastly, avoid excessive fertilizing, and with patience and the right care, you can encourage your cactus to grace you with its colorful blooms.

Which Two Factors Cause The Christmas Cactus To Bloom?

For the Christmas cactus to come into its stunning display of blossoms, it relies on two critical factors: cooler temperatures and long nights. 

First, cooler temperatures mean it’s a bit chilly, around 50-55°F (10-13°C). This cooler weather tells the cactus to start making flower buds.

Second, long nights are important. The cactus likes it dark for 12 to 24 hours every day. This long nighttime is like a signal for the cactus to start showing off its flowers.

Should I Water My Thanksgiving Cactus Now That It Has Buds?

Yes, you should continue to water your Thanksgiving cactus even when it’s in bloom. During its flowering period, maintaining even moisture is crucial. 

The “soak and drain” method is an effective way to accomplish this. 

To do this, take your cactus to the sink and water it thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain from the pot’s bottom hole. 

This ensures the roots receive the moisture they need without becoming waterlogged, helping your cactus sustain its blossoms.

What Does A Thanksgiving Cactus Look Like If You Overwater It?

Schlumbergera truncata

One common sign when a Thanksgiving cactus is overwatered is when the leaves turn yellow and mushy.

To prevent this, ensure your pot has proper drainage, allowing excess water to escape, and never let the roots sit in standing water.

“A Thanksgiving cactus teaches us that even in the most unexpected places, beauty can blossom with a little care and attention.”

Howkapow Gift Site

However, distinguish overwatering from too much sunlight. Yellowing leaves can also be caused by excessive sun exposure. 

To avoid this, place your Thanksgiving cactus where it gets indirect light and isn’t subjected to harsh, direct sunlight.

You might also like to read about things you can bring to someone’s house for the first time here.

How Long Do Thanksgiving Cactus Plants Live?

Thanksgiving cactus plants have an impressive lifespan because they can live for over 100 years, making them true generational treasures. 

Surprisingly, even though they’re called cacti, they come from rainy forests, not deserts. 

So, with some love and care, your Thanksgiving cactus can become a lasting part of your family’s story, showing that nature has some amazing tricks up its sleeve.

Also Read: Best Thank You Gifts For A Neighbor


How frequently will your Thanksgiving cactus bloom?

When given the proper amount of care and conditions, a Thanksgiving cactus will bloom once every year around the late fall.

But how can you wrap a plant as a gift?

How often should you water a blooming Thanksgiving cactus?

Watering your Thanksgiving cactus every three days is generally advisable during active growth or bloom periods. 

However, this frequency can vary based on the humidity levels in the room where the cactus is kept.

What makes a Christmas cactus different from a Thanksgiving cactus?

The main difference is their leaflike stems; Thanksgiving cacti have pointy edges, while Christmas cacti have smooth, round edges.

Key Takeaways

I’ve picked up some valuable insights in my journey to make my Thanksgiving cactus bloom. It all boils down to finding the right balance in life. 

First, remember that temperature and light are key players. Cooler weather and longer nights make your cactus think it’s time to bloom, just like in its natural habitat.

Second, remember the basics. Good soil, careful watering, and post-bloom trimming keep your cactus happy.

If you give your cactus the attention and care it deserves and are willing to exercise some patience, it will reward you with stunning blossoms just in time for the holiday season.


Kimberlee Johnson
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