Is Christmas Cactus Fruit Edible? Let’s Explore the Mystery

Is Christmas Cactus Fruit Edible?

In the wild, birds would eat the fruit of a Schlumbergera cactus and spread the seeds everywhere they flew. However, these fruits are edible by humans. They are not poisonous and aren’t listed on any endangered or toxic list.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) – Non- Toxic. Christmas cactus fruit is not poisonous for humans, but a little bit toxic to dogs or cats. The Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera sp.) is a cactus that blooms around the holidays. Neither this cactus nor members of the species that bloom around Easter are toxic to humans.

The Christmas cactus fruit, also known as the Thanksgiving cactus fruit, is a timesaving addition to your holiday decorations. What many people don’t know is whether the fruit is edible or not. In this blog, you will learn if the fruit is eaten by humans and if other pets can eat Christmas cactus fruit.

The fruits of the Christmas cactus / Schlumbergera

Christmas cactus flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds and long-beaked birds. The plant cannot, however, pollinate itself which means that it needs an external source of pollen. Thus, if pollination takes place, after a while the plant produces fruits. 

All you have to do is use a paintbrush to help them out. That’s right – just visibly pollinate your plants the way you would normally but with the brush. We know it seems silly, but give it a try and you’ll see that people are really surprised by the results!

However, once the flowers have been pollinated in return, they will begin growing on the branches and forming berries. After a certain period of time has passed, the fruit on the plant will start to mature and finally turn into an oval-shaped berry. 

The Christmas Cactus Fruit Is Mildly Poisonous

The Christmas cactus is not as poisonous as one might think. They only pose a threat of poisoning to pets and small children, but keep in mind that humans are rather immune to the poison that it contains. The Christmas cactus, however, is mildly toxic and should be handled with care when around pets or small children.

Slightly Toxic in All Parts of the Plant

Christmas cactus is mildly toxic to the touch and ingestion.  Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, this sap can either cause irritation or lead to emergency situations. In order for you to be most cautious while caring for Christmas cactus, you should wear protective clothing such as gloves just in case.

Risk for Children and Animals in Case of Consumption

Since Christmas cactus fruits are not toxic to adults, little risk is associated with them. Adults will even find the thought of eating portions of these plants difficult, if possible.

It’s different when it comes to children and pets. For example, when they taste something out of curiosity, they may not understand that it might be harmful. Their curious nature may lead them to put fallen leaves or flowers or fruits in their mouths.

Eating parts of the Christmas cactus can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach upset. A lethal dose is unlikely, however, caution is advised when growing a Christmas cactus inside the household if there are children or pets.

Do Not Leave Any Part of the Plant Lying Around

When cutting or pruning Xmas plants, it’s important to take all of the cut-off pieces and unwanted flowers/ fruits and make sure you discard them properly into a refuse bin.

Place the Christmas cactus in a place where small children and pets cannot reach it.

Schlumbergera / Christmas cactus: Some Facts

With the Latin name Schlumbergera, Christmas cacti are spineless and tropical plants with a winter bloom. These attractive indoor plants are particularly easy to care for since they require very little feeding and watering – making them much less demanding than many other common houseplants.

Common nameChristmas cacti 
Scientific nameSchlumbergera
HeightFrom 0.15 to 0.45m
WidthFrom 40 to 50cm 
Flowering periodMid-December until the end of January 
Fruit harvestWinter 
flower colorsWhite, yellow, orange, red, pink, violet
type of foliagePersistent 

Characteristics of Christmas Cacti

  • The shape of the flowers of this plant are individually orientated and zygomorphic (bilateral symmetry, with two equal halves) where flowers appear on two lateral branches.
  • The flowers grow in elongated, segmented clusters attached to the segment above. They have many petals and their reproductive structures (stamens and stigma) are located at the very top.
  • Flowering takes place during the short winter season and even though it pales in comparison to the long procession of seasons, you’ll receive several offspring after the final bud.
  • It is important to note there are many different levels of the Christmas Cactus with flowers that come in a full range of colors from white to purple, including the ” Gold charm” variety, which has yellow flowers. Among the varieties, pink flower plants are the most popular.
  • The Christmas cactus is a tri-layered flower, composed of petals and in the center a pistil, the female reproductive organ,  in fuchsia. It is often confused with another variety of cactus called an Easter Cactus to which it is related. 

The flowers of the Christmas cactus / Schlumbergera

The Porcelain plant’s leaves form a chain that ends in flower buds during the winter season. When these buds open during Christmas time, it produces flowers with bright and vibrant colors.

This flowering period can extend over several weeks when well cared for. Condensation will help keep the soil moist; but if you are away on holiday, be sure to check moisture levels frequently to ensure that the plant does not become waterlogged and damage occurs. The Christmas cactus is adorned with attractive flowers of great beauty.

These bright flowers can be purple, yellow, red, white, orange, or pink. There are more subtle multicolored flowers depending on the multiple hybrids: pink and white, red and white, etc.

Buds are at the end of shoots. These buds create flowers that are trumpet-shaped or conical in shape. The flowers have many tiers of narrow petals which tightly wrap around the flower like a tube.

In their natural habitat, these brightly colored flowers, 6 to 8 cm in length, attract hummingbirds (the main pollinators). 

What Happens If a Cat Eats Christmas Cactus?

The Christmas Cactus is a popular holiday decoration for this time of year but it can also be toxic for cats. What happens if a cat eats Christmas Cactus fruits? Do you know what to do if your cat eats a Christmas Cactus? 

According to the ASPCA, this plant is not poisonous to domesticated animals. However, it is important to note that your cat should never eat any part of the plant including the leaves, stems, and flowers, or fruits. While serious toxicity is not expected, vomiting and diarrhea may occur if your pet ingests any part of this plant.

Is Christmas Cactus Poisonous to Toddlers?

You shouldn’t feed any of the plants to children under 12 years old. If you are uncertain about the plant, always ask your doctor.

The answer is yes! It is not recommended to keep this plant in your house with toddlers who are almost one year or older. It is best to get rid of this plant or keep it in a place that is out of reach of children. The reason is that the plant can be poisonous to toddlers. Even though the plant is placed in decorative pots, toddlers will be able to reach it. So be careful.

 How to Grow Christmas Cactus Fruit?

In the warmer summer months when temperatures are high and rainfall is limited a Christmas cactus will happily live outdoors temporarily. 

During the summertime, Christmas cacti can be grown in full sunlight and will often endure prolonged periods of temperatures reaching over 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Watering your cactus should be done sparingly or else it will end up with root rot and eventually die if the proper care is not administered.

People assume that the Christmas Cactus plant needs to be brought indoors when outside temperatures start to hit 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In actual reality, you really need to bring it inside when it’s starting to dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit because of its humidity and temperature requirements.

The best place to even a Christmas cactus is in soil that drains properly and doesn’t have too many nutrients for them (which could potentially be harmful).


Christmas Cactus is one of the most popular holiday plants, they tend to bloom around Christmas time, and they’re festive and colorful. Christmas cactus, also known as Schlumbergera, is non-toxic to humans, but Christmas cactus is toxic to dogs and cats.

The Christmas cactus is not actually poisonous, but it does contain a mildly toxic sap some people are allergic to. It’s always a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the plant as many people are allergic to its sap.

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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