Can You Grow the Thanksgiving Cactus Outdoors?

Can You Grow the Thanksgiving Cactus Outdoors?

The Thanksgiving Cactus is a popular holiday plant known for its vibrant blooms and unique, segmented stems. While it’s typically grown as an indoor plant, many gardeners wonder if it can thrive outdoors. The short answer is yes, but with some caveats. Here’s what you need to know:

Climate Considerations

Thanksgiving Cactus is native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, which means it prefers humid conditions with moderate temperatures. It can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, where the climate is warm and frost-free year-round.

  • Ideal Temperature Range: 60-70°F (16-21°C).
  • Minimum Temperature: 50°F (10°C). Prolonged exposure to temperatures below this can damage the plant.

Sunlight Requirements

Thanksgiving Cactus needs bright, indirect sunlight to thrive. Direct sun, especially during the hottest part of the day, can scorch its leaves.

  • Best Location: A spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade or filtered light throughout the day.
  • Avoid: Full sun exposure for extended periods.

Soil and Watering

This cactus prefers well-draining soil to prevent root rot. A mix designed for succulents or cacti will work well.

  • Soil Mix: Combine regular potting soil with sand or perlite.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.


Since it’s native to humid environments, the Thanksgiving Cactus will benefit from additional humidity when grown outdoors.

  • Humidity Level: Aim for 50-60%.
  • Tip: Place a tray of water near the plant or use a humidifier during dry spells.


Feed your Thanksgiving Cactus with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every month during its growing season (spring and summer).

  • Fertilizer Type: Use a 20-20-20 or similar balanced fertilizer.
  • Frequency: Monthly during the growing season; reduce feeding during fall and winter.

Pests and Diseases

Outdoor-grown Thanksgiving Cacti can be susceptible to pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.

  • Pest Control: Inspect the plant regularly, and use insecticidal soap or neem oil if you notice any pests.
  • Disease Prevention: Ensure good air circulation around the plant to prevent fungal diseases.

Bringing Indoors for Winter

If you live in an area with cold winters, you should bring your Thanksgiving Cactus indoors before temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C).

  • Acclimatization: Gradually acclimate the plant to indoor conditions by moving it to a shaded, protected area for a few days before bringing it inside.
  • Indoor Care: Place it in a location with bright, indirect light and maintain a consistent watering routine.


Growing a Thanksgiving Cactus outdoors is possible in suitable climates and with proper care. Pay close attention to temperature, humidity, and light conditions to ensure your plant thrives. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty of this festive cactus both indoors and out.


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