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Care of the plant Opuntia polyacantha or Plains pricklypear.

Care of the plant Opuntia polyacantha or Plains pricklypear

The genus Opuntia, family Cactaceae, includes some 300 species of cacti originating in Mexico, the USA and Central and South America. Some species are: Opuntia polyacantha, Opuntia microdasys, Opuntia linguiformis, Opuntia leucotricha, Opuntia engelmannii, Opuntia bergeriana, Opuntia santa-rita, Opuntia rufida, Opuntia robusta, Opuntia ficus-indica, Opuntia durangensis, Opuntia subulata, Opuntia atrispina, Opuntia auberi, Opuntia vestita, Opuntia spinulifera.

Common names: Plains pricklypear, Hairspine cactus, Panhandle pricklypear, Starvation pricklypear, Cliff prickly pear, Grizzly bear prickly pear, Hairy prickly pear, Hedgehog pricky pear, Juniper prickly pear, Nichol's prickly pear, Plains prickly pear, Porcuspine prickly pear, Red-spined prickly pear. Scientific synonyms: Tunas polyacantha, Opuntia missouriensis. This species is native to Mexico, USA and Canada

They are prostrate or semi-erect cacti that reach 30 cm in height and extend laterally up to 1.2 meters. The segments are bluish-green in color and have a rounded or elliptical shape. Numerous rigid, light-colored spines appear on the areolas. They produce yellow or magenta flowers up to 6 cm in diameter. They bloom from late spring to early summer.

They are used in rockeries, in groups, to form impenetrable barriers and in cactus gardens. They are slow growing plants.

Opuntia polyacantha needs full sun exposure and a dry climate. They resist frost down to -32 ºC if the substrate is dry.

They can be grown in any type of soil that has good drainage. They prefer sandy or stony soils.

Always water in a moderate way, waiting until the soil has completely dried. They should be protected from winter rains.

They do not need pruning or fertilizers.

They are quite resistant to pests but are sensitive to excess moisture.

They propagate easily by segment cuttings or by seeds sown in spring.

Images of the plant Opuntia polyacantha or Plains pricklypear

Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha