False Christmas Cactus

False Christmas Cactus

Want to learn more about False Christmas Cactus Trivia

Get individual care schedule and reminders for your plant with our app Planta. Never kill a plant again!

Planta on the app storePlanta on google play


Schlumbergera truncata, known as a False Christmas Cactus, is the parent plant of the Christmas Cactus. It can be told apart from its counterpart by the claw-like appendages it has on its flat stems. These give the plant its alternative common names Crab Cactus or Crab's Claw Cactus. Other common names for this plant are also Zygocactus and Thanksgiving cactus.

Unlike other cacti, the False Christmas Cactus is actually a tropical plant native to the coastal mountains of Brazil. Their natural habitat has quite a small range - occurring on higher altitude trees and rocks in Rio de Janeiro.

This species was first described by the American botanist Reid Venable Moran in 1953.

False Christmas Cactus


Despite being a cactus, the False Christmas Cactus won't do well in hot and dry conditions like other cacti. Instead, they're suited to the humid Brazilian coastal rainforests and, as such, they have higher water and moisture needs than a typical cactus. They love bright bathrooms, as they'll enjoy the steam coming from your shower.

These plants live best in bright, indirect light. In the wild, they often grow under the canopies of taller trees meaning that the light that reaches them is somewhat filtered, so they're not as well-accustomed to harsh, direct sunlight.

Throughout the growing season, you should try to keep your False Christmas Cactus moist. You can allow the top layer of the soil to become dry between waterings - adding more water when it is still wet can lead to overwatering. On the other hand, soil that is too dry can cause your False Christmas Cactus to droop, and it may potentially also begin to drop its leaves and flowers.

After flowering: cut back on watering and place it somewhere light and a bit cooler (50 - 60 °F / 10 - 15 °C) to let it rest and gather strength.

False Christmas Cactus 2


The False Christmas Cactus can produce pretty flowers that range in colorful shades of white, pink, peach, red, golden, purple and multicolored.

Did you know that the "leaves" of this plant actually are stem sections? There are a couple of similar cacti making leaf like stem sections called phylloclades.

These cacti are easy to propagate both in water and directly in porous soil from single stem sections.

False Christmas Cactus 3