Christmas Cactus vs. Easter Cactus

What's the Difference?

Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus are both popular houseplants known for their vibrant and beautiful blooms. While they belong to the same family, their distinct characteristics set them apart. Christmas Cactus, scientifically known as Schlumbergera, typically blooms in late fall or early winter, coinciding with the holiday season. Its flowers are usually pink, red, or white, and they have pointed, scalloped edges. On the other hand, Easter Cactus, also known as Hatiora, blooms in spring, usually around Easter time. Its flowers are more rounded and come in shades of pink, purple, or red. Additionally, Easter Cactus has more pronounced and spiky stems compared to the smoother, segmented stems of the Christmas Cactus. Both plants require similar care, including bright indirect light, well-draining soil, and regular watering, but their distinct blooming periods make them a delightful addition to any indoor garden throughout the year.


AttributeChristmas CactusEaster Cactus
Scientific NameSchlumbergera truncataRhipsalidopsis gaertneri
Flowering TimeWinter (November to January)Spring (March to May)
Flower ColorsPink, red, white, orangePink, red, white, purple
Leaf ShapeScalloped edgesSmooth edges
Stem SegmentsFlat and broadRound and segmented
Growth HabitPendant or trailingUpright or spreading
Light RequirementsIndirect bright lightIndirect bright light
Watering NeedsAllow soil to dry slightly between wateringsKeep soil evenly moist
Temperature Range60-70°F (15-21°C)65-75°F (18-24°C)

Further Detail


Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus are two popular houseplants that are often confused due to their similar appearance and blooming times. While they both belong to the same family, their distinct characteristics set them apart. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus, including their origin, appearance, blooming period, care requirements, and propagation methods.


Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.) is native to the coastal mountains of Brazil, where it grows as an epiphyte in shady, humid conditions. On the other hand, Easter Cactus (Hatiora gaertneri) originates from the rainforests of Brazil. Both plants have been cultivated and hybridized extensively, leading to various cultivars and hybrids available in the market today.


Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus share some similarities in appearance, but there are also noticeable differences. Christmas Cactus has flattened, segmented stems with rounded edges, giving it a scalloped appearance. The stems are typically green, but some cultivars may have a reddish or purplish hue. The flowers of Christmas Cactus are pendulous and come in various colors, including pink, red, white, and even bi-colored varieties.

Easter Cactus, on the other hand, has more rounded and elongated stems with pronounced ridges along the edges. The stems of Easter Cactus are usually dark green and have a more pronounced arching habit compared to the Christmas Cactus. The flowers of Easter Cactus are also pendulous, but they tend to be smaller and come in shades of pink, red, or white.

Blooming Period

One of the key differences between Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus is their blooming period. As the name suggests, Christmas Cactus typically blooms around the holiday season, usually from late November to December. The flowers last for several weeks, adding a festive touch to the winter season.

Easter Cactus, on the other hand, blooms in spring, usually around the Easter holiday, hence its name. The flowering period of Easter Cactus typically occurs from March to May, providing a burst of color during the springtime.

Care Requirements

Both Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus have similar care requirements, making them relatively easy to grow and maintain. They prefer bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade. It is important to avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can scorch their leaves.

These cacti thrive in well-draining soil that retains some moisture. Regular watering is necessary, but overwatering should be avoided to prevent root rot. It is recommended to allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. During the blooming period, it is essential to provide adequate humidity by misting the plants or placing them on a tray filled with pebbles and water.

Both Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus benefit from a period of rest after blooming. This can be achieved by reducing watering and providing cooler temperatures for a few weeks. This rest period encourages the plants to set buds for the next blooming cycle.


Both Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus can be propagated through stem cuttings. To propagate, select a healthy segment of the stem and allow it to callus for a few days. Then, place the cutting in a well-draining potting mix and keep it slightly moist until roots develop. Once the roots are established, the new plant can be potted into its own container.

Another method of propagation is by collecting and planting the seeds produced by the flowers. However, this method requires more time and patience, as it takes several years for the plants to reach maturity and start blooming.


In conclusion, while Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus may share some similarities, they have distinct attributes that differentiate them. From their origin and appearance to their blooming period and care requirements, each cactus offers its unique charm to indoor gardeners. Whether you prefer the festive blooms of the Christmas Cactus or the vibrant colors of the Easter Cactus, both plants can bring joy and beauty to your home throughout the year.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.