How To Prune A Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly pears don’t need to be pruned, but they can be trimmed back. To keep the pads’ size and shape, take out individual ones as necessary. Holding the pad in place with tongs, cut it off at the junction or line where it attaches to the following pad. Pads can be calloused off and shared with pals or planted somewhere else. Find out more about propagation below.

Amendments & Fertilizer:

Young plants should be fertilized with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. A water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-10 or even 0-10-10 can encourage more flowers and fruit in established plants. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer if you’re growing for the pads.

Watering:

Prickly pears can withstand severe droughts. For the first month, don’t water newly propagated pads. After that, water during the first year every two to four weeks—twice a month in the summer and once a month throughout the other seasons. Rainfall will usually be sufficient to keep established plants alive. When there is a drought, you can supplement with the twice-monthly/once-monthly seasonal schedule.

off a pad pruning, a new prickly pear plant has grown. Selma Jacquet/Alamy Stock Photo provided the image.

Propagation:

Since seeds grow slowly at first, it can take your plant three to four years to begin blooming and bearing fruit. The seeds should be maintained moist until they begin to sprout since they require shade.

Pad propagation is considerably easier and produces results more quickly. This is how:

  • By according to the above pruning rules, you can take off pads that are at least six months old.
  • The cut end of the pads should create a callus if they are left to dry out in a spot with some light shade. This can take two to four weeks in warm, dry weather, but it may take longer under cool or humid conditions. It prevents the new plant from decomposing at the base.
  • Plant pads at a depth of 1 inch in a mixture of half soil and half sand once they have fully calloused over. Your plant could rot if it were buried any deeper.
  • For the first month, don’t water it because the pad already has enough moisture to survive.
  • Until roots develop during the course of the following month, support it with rocks or another type of structure. Your plant should be able to stand on its own after a month, but if it’s still a little unsteady, keep providing support.
  • You can water it at this time and follow the previous watering instructions, just make sure to let it totally dry between waterings.

Flowers and fruit normally start to appear on young plants by the second or third growing pad.

When should I trim my cactus back?

Clearly, the answer is “yes. As was already said, you must occasionally prune your cactus plant to control its size and prevent crowding. In rare cases, pruning might prevent your plant from dying (in case of top-bottom rotting and pest infestation).

Keep in mind, too, that most cacti species don’t actually require any kind of shape or trimming until they have grown a big branch that threatens to topple your plant. The only time most gardeners are required to prune their cacti plants is when they need to take cuttings to replant.

If done correctly, cactus pruning can improve the plant’s overall appearance and minimize overcrowding, which raises the risk of disease and pest infestation. Mildew and sick plants can also develop from overcrowding.

Organ pipe cacti and totem pole cacti are examples of columnar cacti that can become spindly or tall and need to be regularly pruned to encourage thicker stems or lateral branching.

Flat pads on the opuntia act as the leaves. In this situation, you can take out a few pads and place new seeds in them. This still counts as a sort of trimming back or pruning.

When in bloom, the other cactus family members, like the Christmas cactus, generate flower stalks. When dead, these flower stalks get unattractive, and the only method to get rid of them is to cut your plant.

The most important benefit of trimming, despite its variety of uses, is that you can always use the bits you remove to propagate new plants.

Can you plant a portion of cactus that has been chopped off?

A loved cactus plant might quickly lose a portion due to overly active kids, scavenging animals, an accidental bump, or an unplanned incident. You need not worry if it occurs to you because you are not required to discard the chopped piece.

Even if the main plant can still survive if a portion of its stem is lost, it may seem wasteful to toss the broken piece and ignore the rest.

Can you then cut a chunk off of a cactus and plant it? Yes is the clear-cut response. Cuttings can be used to grow a sizable number of cacti species. Hedgehog, prickly pear, and branching columnar cacti like the night-blooming cereus are a few of the common cactus species that are typically reproduced via cuttings.

Don’t discard the broken piece if your cactus accidently breaks off a portion of it. Instead, replant it from seed and let it grow.

How should a giant prickly pear cactus be cared for?

Grow your prickly pear cactus in a warm, sunny location with winter temperatures that don’t drop below 10C. To promote flowering, protect it from intense, direct sunlight in the summer and relocate it to a colder location in the winter.

For your prickly pear plant, are you looking for a pretty pot cover? See our list of the top 10 indoor plant containers.

How to plant prickly pear cactus

Put your prickly pear into a pot that is the same size as the rootball or a little larger while wearing gloves. The pot must have a drainage hole. Use a compost made from succulents or cacti, or combine compost made from soil and perlite 3:2.

Caring for prickly pear cactus

When the compost starts to dry out, water it and let any extra water run away. From spring until early autumn, fertilize your cacti once every two months. To encourage blossoms in the winter, relocate to a colder area. Young plants should be repotted every spring, and mature plants every few years.

How to propagate prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear cactus can be grown from seeds, however cuttings are the simplest way to spread them. Use tongs or tweezers if necessary. Here is our detailed instruction on how to take cuttings from prickly pears:

  • Using a knife, trim off a healthy piece of stem that is at least 10 cm long. Once the wounded surfaces have healed, place the cuttings on a window sill and let them there.
  • Insert the base of each cutting to a depth of about 2 cm, or deep enough so that it stands up, in a 7 cm or 9 cm pot filled with cactus compost.
  • After heavily watering, set the pot on a warm ledge that’s preferable out of the sun. Cuttings of succulents or cacti shouldn’t be put in propagators or covered with plastic bags.
  • Watch the cutting and moisten the compost when it feels dry. The majority of cactus and succulent cuttings take a month or less to root, although new growth could take longer.

How long does a prickly pear cactus live?

The large, flat, green pads of the Opuntia engelmannii, also known as the Engelmann prickly pear cactus, are a sure sign of its presence.

The 3″ long white spines might be straight, curled, or flat. They are also covered in glochids, which are very tiny, barbed hairs. Each pad has several areoles, which are common central locations from which groups of up to six spines might arise. The golden flowers bloom between May and June. Beginning in July, ripe fruit can be discovered; they are recognized by their vivid red hue.

Prickly pears can be found growing in sandy or gravelly places, along rocky hillsides, around boulders, and in washes.

Prickly pears of the Englemann variety can be found throughout much of the arid southwest, from central Texas through southern California’s interior. Their distribution extends into central Mexico’s Sonora state as well as northern Baja California.

Prickly pear cacti come in a number of various types, each of which has a range of sizes. The Engelmann prickly pear, which may reach a height of 5 feet and a width of 10 to 15 feet, is the most widespread species in the Sonoran Desert.

  • This cactus’ crimson fruit, which resembles a pear, is also called as “tuna.”
  • Texas’ official state cactus is the prickly pear.
  • At the foot of these plants, packrats frequently construct dens, which therefore offer refuge from some of its predators.

Can I cut my cactus’ top off?

The enjoyable part is now. With the exception of damaged or dead stems and leaves, almost all of the material you remove is salvageable.

  • If pads are placed on top of soil, they will take root and grow into a new plant of the same species.
  • After several days, cut stems and trunks should be allowed to callus before being planted to grow new cacti.
  • You should immediately pot up any offsets or pups that you remove from the specimen’s base because they are new plants in their own right.
  • Compost is used for dead flower stalks and leaves, although certain cactus species develop leaves on the flower stem that can be treated similarly to other species’ pad material. Within a month, the majority of cactus portions will begin to root.

Once you’ve brought your first cactus back to life, you’ll enjoy creating more of the magnificent plant so you can add to your collection or give them as gifts to loved ones.

Why is my cactus becoming more elongated and tall?

Cacti are typically thought of as resilient plants with fewer needs than other indoor plants. Cacti are perennial desert plants that require a certain amount of light, heat, and water to survive in their optimum form, even if they continue to grow in a variety of situations.

Like other plants, cacti have ways to express their unmet needs. They don’t have leaves that can turn yellow, but they can nevertheless show their demands by becoming slender and pale. Etiolation is the term for this. The cacti can develop long, slender branches or, less frequently, spindly, odd-looking branches. Continue reading if your cactus is displaying any of these symptoms.

Lack of sunlight is the main cause of cacti’s slim growth. To make up for this, they become taller and leaner as they strive upward for more light. Moving them outside or close to a south-facing window will remedy this.

How can a cactus gain weight?

Yes, use a sharp knife to precisely remove several tops. Leave about an inch of the thin portion. You need something that resembles an egg. There is a tail, but not too much.

For about a week, let them to dry in a warm, shaded area with some airflow (i.e., not in a plastic box), and then pot them.

In an effort to prevent them from shriveling up too much, I normally spritz them with water from time to time. In a few weeks, they should root and begin to grow.

Start watering as usual as they have some roots, allowing the soil get close to being dry in between applications.

Wishing you luck; soon you’ll have some lovely plants. Leaving the old plants alone will encourage them to produce additional offsets, which you may utilize to carry out the process again.

Disclaimer: Because I live in warm Arizona, any advice I give might not be appropriate for your situation.

How can a prickly pear cactus be made to stand up?

The growth of prickly pear cactus For at least a week, or until it scabs over, let the cut end “heal.” The pad can then be planted in a soil and sand combination, cut end down. Use stakes or other supports to maintain it upright since it will likely need to be supported on each side until it develops roots.

Can prickly pear cactus be transplanted?

Pear cacti (Opuntia spp.) give ornamental and edible value to landscaping in USDA hardiness zones 9b through 11 with their sweet, scarlet fruit and stunning appearance. Many mature pear cacti outgrow their bed and need to be transplanted into a larger place because of their rapid growth pace. The majority of pear cacti adapt well to transplantation and quickly form a new root system. To genuinely prosper, they must be moved at the proper time of year and positioned properly.

Plant pear cactus between late March and early September, when they are actively growing. Avoid moving and digging up pear cacti when it’s chilly outside since the cactus will take longer to establish itself and its roots will grow more slowly.

Place pear cactus in a bed with poor, gravelly soil that receives full light. A loam or clay-based soil should not be used for transplanting since it will retain too much water around the roots of the cacti, encouraging rot and disease.

In advance, clear the transplant site of any weeds, decaying plants, or other debris. Add a 4-inch-thick coating of pea gravel, washed sand, or crushed granite to the entire bed to improve it. Utilizing a cultivating fork, work the amendment into the top 12 inches of soil.

The pear cactus should be ready for transfer. Mark the cactus’ north-facing side with colorful chalk or tape. After you’ve dug out the cactus, trim about a quarter of the pads to prevent water loss. Put on leather gloves to protect your hands, then use a sharp gardening knife to cut the pads off.

Around the pear cactus’ base, take a measurement of 6 inches. Use a sharp shovel to create an 8 to 10-inch-deep ring around the cactus at the 6-inch mark. Place the shovel’s blade at a 45-degree angle underneath the root ball. To pry the cactus from the ground, use the shovel’s handle.

Take hold of the pear cactus’ base and gently lift it off the ground. Place it somewhere with some light shade and open air. Examine the rootball of the cactus by turning it on its side. A pocketknife or pair of scissors should be used to remove any harmed or infected roots.

Dry out the pear cactus for seven to ten days, or until the roots start to look calloused. Before transferring the cactus into the light, make a hole there. Create a hole that is the same depth and twice as wide as the rootball of the cactus.

Transfer the pear cactus to the new location. Put it in the hole with the north-facing side pointing that direction. Use the adjusted dirt to re-fill the area surrounding the roots. To prevent the cactus from toppling over, tamp the ground with your foot.

To avoid sunburn and reduce moisture loss from the pads, cover the pear cactus with a layer of 30% shade cloth. Until the cactus pads swell and begin to grow, leave the shade cloth in place for at least three weeks.

Before watering the newly transplanted pear cactus, wait three to five days. Create a 6-inch-radius shallow dirt mound all the way around the cactus’ base. Run a hose inside the berm until the top 3 to 5 inches of soil feel moist. After allowing the water to absorb, flatten the berm.

For the first two months, water twice a week to aid in the cactus’ establishment of new roots. Run water until the top few inches of the soil feel damp at the base of the pear cactus. Between waterings, let the top inch of soil completely dry out. When it’s raining, stop watering.