Table of Contents
- 1 What are Opuntia Cactus Plants?
- 2 Most Common Opuntia Varieties
- 2.1 Opuntia aurantiaca (Tiger prickly pear)
- 2.2 Opuntia basilaris (Beavertail Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.3 Opuntia chlorotica (Pancake Prickly Pear)
- 2.4 Opuntia Cymochila
- 2.5 Opuntia ellisiana (Tiger Tongue Cactus)
- 2.6 Opuntia engelmannii (Engelman Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.7 Opuntia engelmannii var. aciculata (Chenille Prickly Pear cactus)
- 2.8 Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri (Texas Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.9 Opuntia erinacea (Mojave Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.10 Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Indian fig Opuntia)
- 2.11 Opuntia fragilis (Brittle Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.12 Opuntia galapageia
- 2.13 Opuntia Gosseliniana (Violet Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.14 Opuntia Humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.15 Opuntia Leucotricha (Aaron’s Beard Cactus)
- 2.16 Opuntia littoralis (Coast Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.17 Opuntia macrocentra (Purple prickly pears)
- 2.18 Opuntia Macrorhiza (Bigroot Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.19 Opuntia Microdasys (Bunny Ears Cactus)
- 2.20 Opuntia Microdasys var. Albaspina (Angel’s Wings Cactus or White Bunny Ears)
- 2.21 Opuntia monacantha (Drooping Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.22 Opuntia phaecantha (Tulip Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.23 Opuntia Polyacantha (Panhandle Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.24 Opuntia Robusta (Silver Dollar Prickly Pear)
- 2.25 Opuntia Rufida (Blind Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.26 Opuntia Spinosbacca (Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus)
- 2.27 Opuntia streptacantha
- 2.28 Opuntia Strigil (Marble Fruit Prickly Pear)
- 2.29 Opuntia tuna
- 2.30 Opuntia Violacea var. Santa Rita (Santa Rita Prickly Pear)
- 3 FAQ
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 References
There are several species of cactus, and the Opuntia genus is one of the most well-known cactus plants.
Opuntia varieties come in various sizes and shapes. Others have lengthy, flat pads. Varieties of Opuntia cactus are found worldwide in warm, arid areas.
Not only are Opuntia cactus gorgeous plants, but they also serve a multitude of purposes.
This post describes some of the most common Opuntia species, their appearance, and where they grow.
What are Opuntia Cactus Plants?
Opuntia is a genus of popular cactus varieties that are grown for their colorful flowers and fruits.
There are more than 90 different species of the genus Opuntia. These cacti are also known as prickly pear cacti.
These cactus plants are grown indoors because of their easy-to-grow nature and distinctive leaf shapes.
You can find them widely distributed across Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Opuntia flowers are known to produce fragrances that like the damp earth.
Although prickly pear species are native to the desert regions of the United States, you can easily grow them indoors if you can create a desert-like environment.
Prickly pears are jointed and branched cacti that are densely spined. However, there are a few species that don’t have any spines.
In many Opuntia species, you will notice that the spines are further surrounded by small bristles that are called glochids.
These things can cause skin irritation if touched.
Plants called Opuntia are not the same as Cylindropuntia or Grusonia.
You can easily identify Opuntia plants by their flattened pads. There are other species of cactus that people get confused with.
Cylindropuntia cactus plants have cylindrical pads, and the Grusonia cactus plants have club-like pads.
What Are the Differences Between Opuntia and Cylindropuntia?
The jumping cholla, or Cylindropuntia, used to be a subgenus of Opuntia, but now it is in its own category.
The reason is that their cylindrical stems make them different from regular Opuntia species. Opuntia cactus species normally have flattened stems.
Also, the spines of cylindropuntia are covered by an epidermal sheath that is very paper-like. The spines of Opuntia don’t have this sheath.
What Are the Differences Between Opuntia and Grusonia?
Grusonia cacti are a species of opuntia distinguished by short, club-shaped stem segments with prominent tubercles bearing very strong, sharp, dense spines, which are often flattened and tapering.
They grow low mats that frequently cover a large area and have a similar look, although each species typically inhabits a separate geographical location.
The plants are collectively known as club cholla or devil cholla due to the club-like structure of their stems.
Most Common Opuntia Varieties
There are many different types of Opuntia cactus, with a variety of shapes and sizes. Some Opuntia cacti have small, round pads, while others have long, flat pads. Opuntia cactus varieties are found throughout the world in warm, arid climates. There are many different types of cactus, and the Opuntia genus is no exception.
Opuntia cacti are not only beautiful plants, but they also have a variety of uses. The fruit of some Opuntia cactus varieties is edible and has a sweet, tangy flavor. The pads of some types of Opuntia cactus can be cooked and eaten as well. Additionally, the latex from the pads of some types of Opuntia cactus can be used to make rubber.
The following are some of the most well-known opuntia cactus plants, what they look like, and where they grow.
Opuntia aurantiaca (Tiger prickly pear)
Tiger prickly pears have sharp spines, which are used to identify these species.
These cacti are native to South American countries, such as Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Besides, you can also find them in Australia and Africa.
The stems of these succulents are covered with barbed spines, which can cause injury to the animals.
Some people think that these succulents are invasive, but you can stop them from growing by using biological control.
These plants have several branches and produce fascinating orange-red flowers.
When grown under the most favorable conditions, these succulents may reach up to 6-7 feet tall. Due to its easy-to-grow nature, you can grow indoor gardens.
Opuntia basilaris (Beavertail Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia basilaris is commonly known as the Beavertail prickly pear or Beavertail cactus.
This plant, from the genus Opuntia, grows in the southwestern part of the United States.
Besides, these Opuntia species grow across the Colorado deserts, the Mojave, and northern Mexico.
You can identify this cactus by its beautiful rose or magenta-colored blooms and flattened pads.
Opuntia basilaris cactus is a medium-to-small-sized plant that may reach up to 15 inches tall. It has hundreds of flattened and fleshy pads, which have a bluish-gray color.
These cacti are spineless but have small bristles. You will notice the flowers during the spring to early summer.
Like the other cacti, these ornamental plants are drought tolerant.
Opuntia chlorotica (Pancake Prickly Pear)
Opuntia chlorotica is commonly known as the Pancake prickly pear cactus because of its pancake-like round shape and light green to yellow color.
These prickly pear plants are native to northern Mexico and the southwestern region of the United States.
This Opuntia cactus may grow around 6 to 9 feet tall.
It is a sprawling prickly pear, like most other varieties. To grow it indoors, you have to make sure that there is sufficient space and full sun to grow this plant.
It rarely produces flowers. If you want to grow new plants from the existing ones, then simply separate the babies. You can also follow the stem cutting method.
Opuntia cymochil is another wonderful variety of the Opuntia genus that comes up with fascinating bright yellow flowers with an orange center.
These cacti can be found near the Tucumcari. People grow these plants mainly for their juicy, ovoid-shaped fruits and bright flowers.
The leaves of these succulents are up to 3-4 inches long. You will find several spines in the upper section of the pad. However, these spines are quite rare.
If you want to grow these cacti indoors, then you have to place them near a sunny location that receives full sun.
Prepare a well-draining potting soil as a growing medium.
Opuntia ellisiana (Tiger Tongue Cactus)
Opuntia ellisiana, or Tiger tongue cactus, is another wonderful specimen of the genus Opuntia.
This specimen can be found in Mexico and South Texas, and it is also spineless like the other Opuntia species.
Interestingly, this variety doesn’t have those glochids or small bristles either. Their low-growing nature makes them an excellent choice to grow indoors.
Tiger tongue prickly pear cactus has a unique texture. The water-retaining stems of this succulent have a light green color.
This plant has lovely cup-shaped yellow flowers in the middle of summer and red berries from late summer to late fall.
This heat-tolerant cactus plant is very easy to grow in an indoor garden. Make sure that it receives full sun and less frequent watering.
Opuntia engelmannii (Engelman Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia engelmannii, commonly known as Engelman prickly pear, is a heat and drought tolerant variety and requires very little water to grow.
These cacti can be found across California, Arizona, and Texas. Sometimes, they are also known as Texas prickly pear or desert prickly pear cactus.
These hardy varieties can tolerate temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The pads of Opuntia engelmannii cacti have an ovate shape and may grow to be 13–15 inches long.
Under the most favorable conditions, these pads become heavy and thick, and the color becomes pale-green.
The flowers have an attractive yellowish color, and a large bloom may be 3-4 inches in diameter.
During the summer months, these cactus plants produce purple-colored fruits.
Opuntia engelmannii var. aciculata (Chenille Prickly Pear cactus)
Opuntia engelmannii var. aciculata, or Chenille prickly pear cactus, is native to northwestern Mexico.
You will see them growing mostly in the dry hills and around stones. In these cacti, spines are often absent, but you can notice 1-3 spines.
However, there are small bristles, and each of these bristles may reach 3 to 12 mm in length.
This flattened-padded cactus forms large clumps, and each of them may grow to be around 3 feet tall. The stems have a gray-green color.
During the spring to early summer, this cactus produces beautiful golden yellow flowers, and later, it produces pear-shaped and purple-colored fruits.
This specimen can be grown easily in dry regions.
Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri (Texas Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri is commonly known as the Texas prickly pear cactus, which is well-known for its beautiful yellow flowers.
It is native to northern Mexico and a few parts of the United States, but you can find it largely across Texas.
Opuntia lindheimeri is a variegated form of the Opuntia engelmannii species.
The Texas prickly pear cactus may grow to be around 5 feet tall. It has a spreading nature.
The oval-shaped pads of these cacti may reach up to 10 inches long and have a bluish-green color.
This prickly pear fruit becomes deep purple when mature. These cacti species aren’t densely spined like the other species.
Opuntia erinacea (Mojave Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia erinacea, or Mojave prickly pear, is considered a variety of Opuntia polyacantha.
They are distributed across the desert areas of the Great Basin as well as in the Mojave. One can easily identify this specimen by its recognizable dense spines.
The short spines are relatively thicker than the long ones, which are almost similar to thin hairs.
These cacti produce wonderful light yellow flowers and red-green fruits. Like a common prickly pear, this specimen prefers growing in full sun.
If you want to grow it indoors, then prepare a well-drained cactus soil mix. You don’t have to water these plants regularly as they are susceptible to root rot.
The scale insect can cause severe damage to the leaves.
Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Indian fig Opuntia)
Opuntia ficus indica, or Indian Fig Opuntia, is another variety that is widely cultivated for commercial purposes in many parts of the world.
This commercially important specimen is grown for its fruits and vegetables. If you’re living in a dry area, we suggest you try growing these species.
The extract of this cactus plant has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties .
This perennial shrub can reach around 3–4 feet long and has thick stems called cladodes.
On the surface of these stems and pads, you will notice a waxy coating that is sun-reflecting and water-repellent.
These stems produce beautiful fruits with a pale green to red color. In early May, this plant produces red, yellow, and white flowers.
Opuntia fragilis (Brittle Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia fragilis is alternatively called “little prickly pear” or “brittle prickly pear cactus.”
These cactus pears are native to the western region of North America as well as in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa.
You may also find them in some provinces of Canada. In some places, these cacti are considered endangered species.
This perennial cactus plant can grow to be around 5 inches tall.
Each plant has approximately 2 to 6 pads, and these green pads can reach around 2.5 inches long and are moderately flattened.
When these pads become mature, the pads become broadly ellipsoid. During the early summer, this plant produces beautiful bright yellow flowers.
Opuntia galapageia is a popular specimen of the cactus variety. It is native to the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.
Interestingly, this specific Opuntia cactus has considerable variation.
These perennial prickly pears have a low-growing nature, but they can grow quite big (sometimes 3 to 15 feet tall).
You will notice yellowish spines on the stems.
During the spring season, these species produce beautiful orange to yellow flowers that are 2-3 inches long.
After this flowering period, fleshy fruits with numerous seeds appear.
Remember that cochineal insects may often be present on the pads of these plants and may cause severe damage to the plants.
Opuntia Gosseliniana (Violet Prickly Pear Cactus)
This amazing cactus specimen is popular for its violet pads.
If you are interested in growing an Opuntia variety in your home garden, then we suggest you try this one.
These species are native to Arizona, Baja California, Chihuahua, and Sonora. Similar to the other common prickly pear cacti, this plant has flattened pads.
These violet prickly pear cacti are very easy to grow indoors.
Like the other species, this one prefers growing in full sun, a dry environment, a warm temperature, and well-drained potting mix.
The edible fruits have viable seeds, and you can use them to grow more prickly pears. Mild winters will not be a problem as these plants are cold-hardy.
Opuntia Humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia humifusa has many names, such as Eastern prickly pear cactus or Devil’s tongue cactus.
These species of the cactus family are native to the eastern part of the United States. This is a low-growing cactus specimen that has fascinating green stems.
You may notice barbed bristles on the surface of the stems. Longer spines are also present, but they are rare.
Opuntia humifusa blooms attractive flowers during the early summer. The flower color ranges between yellow and gold, with red centers.
The edible fruits become red when they mature. To grow these plants indoors, you should keep them in the full sun.
Hot summers will not be a big issue as they prefer a dry climate.
Opuntia Leucotricha (Aaron’s Beard Cactus)
Opuntia leucotricha is alternatively known as Aaron’s beard cactus or Semaphore cactus.
These cactus plants are distributed across central Mexico and a few other states in the USA.
In some places of Mexico, people cultivate this specimen for many animals. These species are considered invasive in Florida.
These prickly pears form clumps with distinctive trunks. A mature plant may reach around 9 to 15 feet tall.
The flowers have an attractive green-yellow color with a deep reddish stigma.
The fruits have an excellent taste, and you can find them in the local Mexican shops or markets.
Although these plants are easy to grow indoors, we suggest you grow them outdoors if you want to enjoy the fruits.
Opuntia littoralis (Coast Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia littoralis is commonly known as coastal prickly pear or sprawling prickly pear because of its sprawling nature.
The term “littoral” indicates the seashore, and since these cacti are found across the seashore areas, they are called Opuntia littoralis.
These species are native to California.
These prickly pears can reach up to 3 feet in height. The branches have an oval-like shape and are 8.7 inches long.
The pads are covered in yellow spines, and each of these spines may be 1 to 1.5 inches long.
During the early to late summer, you will notice pale yellow flowers followed by purple to red fruits.
Opuntia macrocentra (Purple prickly pears)
Opuntia macrocentra is one of the most wonderful varieties of the Opuntia genus.
It is also known as the Purple prickly pear, Long-spined prickly pear, or Black spine prickly pear. This specimen can be identified by its amazing purple pads.
You can find these widely distributed in the southwest U.S. Outside its native range, you can also see it in the Mexican hilly regions.
Opuntia macrocentra is a spreading shrub cactus that may grow to 2 feet tall.
The stems have large spines, and the color may range from blue-green to purplish.
When the production of betacyanin pigment increases, the purple color becomes more intense.
This cactus produces yellow to red flowers, and its ripe fruit has a dark red color.
Opuntia Macrorhiza (Bigroot Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia macrorhiza is one of the most common prickly pears that can be grown under indoor conditions.
These species are also known as Bigroot prickly pear, Prairie prickly pear, or Western prickly pear.
You can find them widely distributed across the mountainous areas of Utah, New Mexico, and other valleys of North America.
These Opuntia species are considered shorter as they grow hardly a foot tall, but they spread quite fast and form wide clumps.
The flowers have a beautiful red-orange color, and the fruits are generally narrow and juicy, and can be eaten raw.
These plants prefer growing under the full sun, like other varieties.
Opuntia Microdasys (Bunny Ears Cactus)
Opuntia microdasys has many common names, such as Bunny Ears cactus, Mickey Mouse cactus, or Polka Dot Cactus.
These plants are native to the northern and central regions of Mexico.
This shrub-like cactus can reach up to 2 or 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide. This specimen produces flowers rarely.
These cacti don’t have spines, but you will notice yellow or white glochids, which may reach 1/4 inch in in length.
These bristles can cause skin irritation if touched. Scale insects, stem or root rot, and mealybugs can be common problems for these plants.
Like many species, these cacti prefer to grow in full sun.
Opuntia Microdasys var. Albaspina (Angel’s Wings Cactus or White Bunny Ears)
Opuntia microdasys var. albaspina is a common cactus that many people prefer to grow in their garden.
This specimen is often called Angel’s Wings cactus or White Bunny Ears Cactus.
The most attractive part of these cacti is their numerous hair-like bristles that are arranged in a dense format.
Like various species of Opuntia, it doesn’t have any regular spines.
These beautiful cactus plants produce lemon-like yellow flowers in the early spring to summer, and the mature fruits have a dark red color.
To grow these plants indoors, you should keep them out of the direct sun. Hence, a south-facing window is preferred.
You can find them widely distributed across the mountain slopes of the hilly regions of Mexico.
Opuntia monacantha (Drooping Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia monacantha is alternatively known as Cochineal prickly pear or drooping prickly pear. These plants are native to South America.
This succulent is a thorny shrub that has several branches and may reach around 5 meters.
The elongated to oval-shaped shoots have a narrow base with a shiny light green color.
Like the regular spines, these thorns may grow 1-2 inches tall. During the spring months, these cacti produce wonderful deep yellow flowers, and the diameter of each plant may be a maximum of 3-4 inches.
The fruits are red-colored and have a pear-like shape. These species can withstand a prolonged dry spell like the other plants.
Opuntia phaecantha (Tulip Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia phaecantha, or Tulip prickly pear cactus, is also known as the desert prickly pear or Mojave prickly pear cactus.
You can find it widely distributed across the desert areas of the southwest USA as well as in northern Mexico.
Keep in mind that you can make hybrid varieties by crossing them with other varieties, but then they will be hard to tell apart.
These cacti have flattened pads that are well-protected by regular spines. There are 1 to 4 spines per pad.
These spines may be reddish, brownish, or gray, and they can grow up to 1-2 inches long.
During the summer months, you will notice wonderful bright yellow flowers that have a light green center.
Opuntia Polyacantha (Panhandle Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia polyacantha is commonly known as starvation prickly pear, plains prickly pear, or panhandle prickly pear cactus.
These species are native to North America, but you may also find them across the western region of Canada as well as in northern Mexico.
This specimen has a shallow and laterally extended root system.
The plains prickly pear species are low, shrubby, spreading plants that have multiple branches.
The light-or blue-green stems are mainly flattened like the other species. This cactus plant has regular spines, which spread in all directions.
During the late spring, you will notice beautiful yellow to magenta-colored small flowers. Like several species, they prefer growing under the full sun.
Opuntia Robusta (Silver Dollar Prickly Pear)
Opuntia robusta is commonly known as Nopal tapon, Wheel cactus, or Silver Dollar Prickly Pear.
These plants are native to the northern and central regions of Mexico. You can find them, especially on the rocky slopes.
It has flattened stems that are fleshy and have a blue-gray color.
These easily recognizable plants can be identified by their large leaves, which look like a dollar.
The grey color gives it a silver touch, and that’s why it’s called “silver dollar prickly pear cactus.”
You will also notice beautiful yellow-colored flowers on the edges of the stems.
After the flowering period, barrel-shaped and pink or purple-colored fruits appear.
Opuntia Rufida (Blind Prickly Pear Cactus)
There are two types of Opuntia rufida; one of them has blue flattened pads, while the other one has purple pads. Opuntia rufida is also called “blind prickly pear.”
Like the other species, this one doesn’t have any barbed spines. You can find them across the desert areas of South Texas and northern Mexico.
These cacti plants may reach around 6 feet tall with 6-inch long bluish-green colored pads.
While the purple variety of Opuntia rufida has purple-colored flattened pads.
During the late spring, you can observe beautiful orange or yellow flowers.
To grow them indoors, you should make sure that they receive full sun and a dry environment.
These aren’t like the large plants like many Opuntia species. So, you can grow them in a well-drained potting mixture.
Opuntia Spinosbacca (Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus)
Opuntia spinosbacca is known for its large spines that are well-distributed across the stem.
Since the spines have a brownish appearance, it is also called the Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus.
These plants form quite large clumps, which may reach around 4-5 feet tall. The pads have an oval shape but don’t have any radial spines.
These prickly pears are the cross between Opuntia phaeacantha and Opuntia aureispina. You can find them distributed across the desert areas of Mexico.
During the early to mid-summer, it produces orange-to-yellow colored blooms. It is often used as a fodder crop in arid or semiarid regions.
To grow this plant indoors, you need to prepare a well-drained potting mix and choose a sunny spot.
Opuntia streptacantha is a popular specimen belonging to the Opuntia genus. It grows at the higher altitudes.
You can find these cacti widely distributed across the dry regions of central Mexico. These plants are alternatively known as nopal and tray.
The idea behind these varieties is that they will help the soil get better by making it easier for nitrifying bacteria and mycorrhizae to grow.
These shrub-like species may grow around 10 feet long, and the stalks look quite larger compared to the Opuntia ficus indica species.
The leaves of this Opuntia cactus can grow to nearly 1 foot long.
During the fall, this plant produces beautiful yellow blooms and comes up with red fruits later.
For growing them indoors, you need to choose a spot that receives full sun.
Since these prickly pears are susceptible to fungal diseases, you should water them sparsely.
Opuntia Strigil (Marble Fruit Prickly Pear)
This erect prickly pear variety can be found across the Chihuahuan desert. You can easily identify this specimen by its distinctive look.
These plants have green and thick circular pads that have red-yellow spines. These spines are downward-pointed and may grow to 1.5 inches tall.
During the spring to early summer, these cacti produce yellow flowers followed by small purple prickly pear fruits.
This erect prickly pear cactus grows well under the full sun. This distinctive plant has 5 to 8 regular spines in each areole.
Many people grow these varieties indoors because they add a desert vibe to the garden.
You must prepare a special cactus potting mix as they cannot tolerate waterlogged conditions.
Opuntia tuna is another wonderful variety of the Opuntia genus and cactus family. This specimen is native to Jamaica, the Caribbean Islands, and Hispaniola.
This Opuntia variety is a shrubby cactus that has a few spines on the spreading branches, which grow up to 3 feet tall.
You can enjoy its fruits, for which this variety is also cultivated in many places.
You can easily grow these cacti plants indoors if you successfully provide them with a dry environment.
Keep them under the full sun and keep the growing environment warm or hot. Humidity should be low as they cannot tolerate excess moisture.
This cactus produces a beautiful yellow flower during the early spring to summer months. So, you can feed them with organic fertilizer during this period.
Opuntia Violacea var. Santa Rita (Santa Rita Prickly Pear)
Opuntia santa rita is a variegated form of Opuntia violacea. Commonly, this variety is known as Santa Rita prickly pear cactus.
This sprawling plant may reach up to 6 feet tall. Its flattened and purple-colored pads are the most attractive parts.
The color ranges from red and lavender to purple. You will notice a maximum of 2 spines in each areole.
During the early to mid-summer, these cacti produce yellow to orange flowers and purple fruits. These fleshy fruits have a barrel-like shape.
Like the other varieties of this genus, it grows best under the full sun. Remember that the beautiful purple color will be intensified if you keep them in the direct sun.
How often should I water Opuntia plants?
You should water Opuntia cactus on average every two to four weeks. In the summer, about twice a month and about once a month the rest of the year. Alternatively, when the top 2-3 inches of the surface soil looks dry, give your Opuntia plants water.
Do Opuntia cactus plants grow fast?
Opuntia cactus plants grow quite slowly. It may take 3 or 4 years to produce flowers.
Can I eat Opuntia Cactus fruit?
Yes, Opuntia fruits are edible. Opuntia is an extremely versatile dietary source. Both the pads (nopales) and the fruit (tunas) are edible, but you’ll have to carefully harvest and cook well before eating.
How can I propagate Opuntia cactus plants?
You can propagate Opuntia cactus plants by stem and pad cuttings. Cut a healthy pad and push them slightly into the soil.
Set the pad upright or on its side in your garden. To encourage rooting, ensure that the sliced piece of the pad is just touching the soil. Be patient and after a few weeks to a month (depending on the variety), your pad cuttings will sprout roots.
Which Opuntia cactus plant has the sweetest fruit?
Indian Fig Prickly Pears have the sweetest fruit. It is one of the most widespread and well-known prickly pear cactus plants.
In fact, Indian Fig Prickly Pear plants are grown commercially and harvested for the fruits.
Are Opuntia cactus plants cold-hardy?
Yes, Opuntia cactus plants are very cold-hardy. This family of cactus are some of the most cold-resistant of all cacti. In general, practically all Opuntias are cold-hardy, and some are even frost-tolerant! For instance, Opuntia fragilis is hardy down to -35 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas Opuntia poryapantha is hardy to -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Opuntia cactus species, or prickly pears, are one of the most popular cactus varieties that have flattened pads.
These cacti are popular mainly because of their beautiful flowers and fruits. You can easily grow them indoors if they receive favorable growing conditions.
Since they are cold-hardy, you don’t have to worry about lower temperatures.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.