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What to do after your Thanksgiving cactus blooms

Have the flowers faded from your Thanksgiving cactus? Discover the essential steps to follow after your Thanksgiving cactus blooms!

The Thanksgiving cactus, also known as Schlumbergera truncata, is an enchanting houseplant closely related to the Christmas and Easter cacti.

Originating from the rainforests of Brazil, Thanksgiving cacti thrive in high humidity and shaded environments beneath the canopy of their natural habitat.

Distinguished by their flat green stems, or cladodes, Thanksgiving cacti are admired for their beautiful flower buds that adorn the tips of their branches, displaying a rich spectrum of colors, including vibrant shades of pink, red, white, and purple.

Much like their holiday cactus counterparts, Thanksgiving cacti are generally low-maintenance houseplants that enjoy consistent care and attention.

However, when the blooms of your Thanksgiving cactus begin to wane, there are vital steps to take in order to maintain its health and encourage the next blooming season.

what to do with a thanksgiving cactus after it blooms

What to do after your Thanksgiving cactus blooms

Here’s what you need to know after the Thanksgiving cactus blooming season has concluded:

Pruning and Maintenance

After your Thanksgiving cactus blooms, consider some light pruning to encourage new growth and potential blooms for the following year.

Pruning is a straightforward process. As the flowers start to fade, gently pinch or twist the stems near the base to remove them, a process known as “deadheading.”

Ensure you complete the pruning before late spring.

thanksgiving cactus with red purple tips

Adjust Watering

Proper watering is a critical aspect of Thanksgiving cactus care. Ensure your Thanksgiving cactus is planted in a pot with adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Water the plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. During the blooming period, slightly increase watering to support the flowering process.

Once blooming has concluded, return to the regular watering schedule, allowing the top inch of soil to dry before watering again.

thanksgiving cactus in a plastic pot

Light Exposure

Thanksgiving cacti require a specific light regimen to initiate bud production. To ensure proper care, you must understand this aspect of Thanksgiving cactus care.

Before blooming, expose the plant to bright, indirect light. If placed outdoors, choose a location with shade that remains well-lit.

While they enjoy bright spaces, avoid exposing them to extreme heat.

When blooming begins, adjust the light exposure. Thanksgiving cacti require approximately 13 hours of continuous darkness daily to stimulate bud formation.

After the blooming period, return to the normal light regimen, providing appropriate indirect light.

Maintain Consistency

Thanksgiving cacti thrive in consistent conditions. Avoid moving the plant unnecessarily, as it can induce stress and lead to the loss of flower buds.

Drastic temperature changes should be avoided as well. Maintain a stable environment free from drafts and extreme heat, with an ideal temperature range of around 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 24°C).

Bear in mind that flower color may vary depending on temperature settings during bud formation. Consistency in Thanksgiving cactus care is key.

thanksgiving in bloom in a pot

Fertilize Wisely

Caring for your Thanksgiving cactus also involves monitoring soil health. Thanksgiving cacti prefer humus-rich soil with good drainage.

Ensure the soil remains consistently moist, neither overly saturated nor dry.

Feed your plant during late winter or spring, once the blooming season has ended. Avoid fertilizing after October begins, as this is the period when flower bud development initiates.

Return to your regular fertilizing routine after the blooms have fallen off, applying a half-strength, balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the spring and summer months.

Dormancy Period

The dormancy period plays a vital role in the care of Thanksgiving cacti, preparing them for their next flowering season. Mimicking their native environment is key.

Typically, Thanksgiving cacti enter dormancy in the fall. During this period, place them in a cooler setting with temperatures ranging from 60°F (10°C to 15°C) and reduce watering frequency.

Maintain this routine for 6 to 8 weeks leading up to the blooming season.

thanksgiving cactus cutting


Propagating your Thanksgiving cactus is a straightforward process and a great way to expand your plant collection or share it with others.

To propagate, simply cut a healthy, three-jointed stem segment and allow it to dry slightly for one or two days before planting it in a pot with adequate drainage holes and suitable soil mix.

Alternatively, root the cutting in water and transfer it to soil once the roots reach a length of 2 inches. You should observe new stems growing within a few weeks.

By following these care guidelines, you can ensure the health and longevity of your Thanksgiving cactus while preparing it for another season of beautiful blooms.

Thanks for reading!

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