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How to Grow Prickly Pears Cactus

Prickly pears and other Opuntia species are very popular desert cacti, grown as houseplants. They are highly ornamental, composed of segmented stems of wide, flat, and thick pillows that are covered with thorns.

Some have large, rounded spines, while others have small, hair-like spines that stick out in contact with the plant, cling to the skin, and can be difficult to remove, so handle them carefully.

The edible prickly pear fruit in the shape of lemon or plum, sometimes called "Indian fig", of some Opuntia species is becoming a delicacy in many countries.

They are also very colorful and ornamental. When ripe, its outer parts turn red and the inner pulp turns orange. Some varieties are yellow on the outside when ripe and green on the inside. These are not so sweet and are used in syrups, preserves, and jellies.

How to grow prickly pear cactus

Prickly pears indoors need a well-lit position, preferably facing south or west or grown in a heated greenhouse or greenhouse with a good general light. They need 4 to 6 hours of direct sun in summer.

They are not resistant to cold or frost but can be moved to a warm and sunny patio in summer. Be sure to bring them back inside before the weather cools down in early fall.

They need minimum spring and summer temperatures of 18 ° C (65 ° F) but prefer milder fall and winter temperatures of 7 to 13 ° C (45-55 ° F) while dormant.

Keep them away from direct heat and radiators, as well as drafts and fans that cause temperature fluctuations.

Planting prickly pear cactus

Like all other desert cacti, they need a very well-drained compost, so use a compost specifically recommended for cacti and succulents.

Add a top layer of gravel, pebbles, or sharp sand over the compost to produce a finished, natural look and to help prevent the base of the plant from settling in the wet compost.

Be careful of pimples when handling plants. When planting or moving plants, it is worth wearing gloves and wearing a necklace made of newspaper wrapped around the stem.

Suggested Planting Places and Garden Types:

  • Indoor plant
  • Summer garden plant

Caring of prickly pear cactus

Because they are desert cacti, many people think they don't need to be watered. Although they can survive long periods of drought by storing water in their stems, they grow, and flourish, much better if they are provided with an adequate supply of water.

Water sparingly when plants are growing (March / April to September) but sparingly when dormant - once or twice a month may be sufficient in fall and winter.

Let the compost dry for a while before watering again and always let the compost drain, never allowing the pot to sit in the water.
Feed a balanced liquid food once a month during late spring through the end of the summer growing season, but do not feed in fall and winter.

Prickly pears should only be replanted when absolutely necessary, only when they become too attached to the pot or exceed the size of the current pot. Make the next size vase only in late spring or early summer.

We hope you enjoy this video about plant care for prickly pear cactus:

Source: Leaf Me Alone Plants

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