If your Christmas cactus is beginning to bloom long before the Christmas season arrives there is probably a good reason for that. While it may look like a Christmas cactus to you, it may actually be a Thanksgiving cactus.
Both belong to the genus Schlumbergera but there are several species of Schlumbergera that are very similar in appearance. Each blooms at a different time giving rise to the common names of Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii). A Christmas cactus blooms in December, while a Thanksgiving cactus blooms in late October and November.
Both plants produce showy blooms that range in color from white and yellow to shades of pink, purple and red with a lot of variation in between. These holiday plants brighten dark winter days long after the flowers outside have faded.
There are two simple ways to tell if you have a Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus.