Is Christmas Cactus a Succulent? (Know This FIRST!)

Christmas Cactus is a favorite holiday plant worldwide and people treat them like any other Cactus plant. But that is not so. The Christmas cactus is not like other Cactuses that grow in desert regions.

Christmas Cactus, by its origin in coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil, grow well in high humidity areas with indirect sunlight. Their appearance is much different from any other Cactus plant.

So, Is Christmas Cactus a succulent? Christmas Cactus is succulent as they have fleshy leaves where they gather water. They also store water in their leaves, root, and stems like any other succulents.

It satisfies the factors to be a succulent.

Let’s get started to know more!

Is Christmas Cactus a succulent

What Are Succulents?

Succulents are plants that have evolved to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots. This allows them to survive in arid environments with little rainfall. Their leaves and stems are often fleshy and swollen, hence the common name succulent.

Many succulents are popular garden plants because of their attractive shapes, colors, they are easy to care for and can tolerate a wide range of conditions.

Common examples of succulents include cacti, aloe vera, and sedum.

What is Christmas Cactus?

Christmas Cactus Plant
Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus are members of the Cactaceae family. They are a native of coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil, South America. They are very popular as a houseplant. They bloom during the Christmas Holiday season.

The Christmas Cactus flowers are usually red, pink, or white in color, and they grow in clusters on the tips of the branches.

Though Christmas cactus is native to South America, it can be grown indoors in temperate climates. It requires a lot of sunlight and water when it’s blooming, but it can be kept relatively dry the rest of the year.

They are also known as  Crab cactus and holiday cactus.

Why is Christmas Cactus a Succulent?

A Christmas Cactus is a succulent type plant because:

1. The stem of the Christmas Cactus is thick and fleshy as it stores water within its tissues.

2. The leaves are also thick like other succulents

3. It occurs in hot, dry areas and survives the long, hot summers with the help of the stored water and fat in their stems.

What are the differences between a cactus and a succulent?

1. The key difference between these two groups is where they get water. Succulents live in arid or dry areas and collect water from the soil and store it in their leaves and stems. The water is there until needed to keep the plant alive. When succulents die they often dry up.

Cacti (or cactus) do not have any leaves but store their water inside the cactus body.

2. Succulents have many branches while cacti have one or a few branches.

3. As a rule, cacti do not have flowers, and succulents are more often flowered plants.

4. Succulents and cacti both have thick, waxy skins to keep in the water until they need it. Cacti are categorized by this behavior while succulents have many other similarities.

Are all succulent plants cactus?

No, not all succulent plants are cactus. Cacti are a specific type of succulent plant, characterized by their thick, fleshy stems and spines. Succulent plants come in many shapes and sizes, and include both cacti and non-cacti plants.

For eg: Angelina stonecrop (Sedum rupestre Angelina) and Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis)
are Succulents but they are not a Cactus.

Do Christmas Cactus need Succulent Soil?

Christmas cactus are succulents, so they do best in soil that is high in organic matter and has good drainage. A succulent soil mix, such as succulent potting soil, works well for growing Christmas cactus.

A commercial potting mix designed for succulents is ideal, but you can also make your own mix by combining one part sand, one part peat moss, and one part perlite.

Other Holiday Cactus that are succulents

Other types of cactus often look very similar to the Christmas Cactus. Here are some of the commonly seen in the garden:

  1. Thanksgiving Cactus
  2. Easter Cactus
  3. Zygo Cactus


Let’s conclude the post on whether A Christmas Cactus is a Succulent!

Christmas cactus is a succulent. While it may not be as popular as other succulents, it is still a great plant to have in your home.

It is easy to care for and can be kept in a pot or in the ground. If you are looking for a new plant to add to your collection, consider Christmas cactus.

I hope you enjoyed reading the post.