Opuntia is the largest genus in the cactus family. Spreading natively from Canada to the southern tip of South America, it's easy to see how. You're likely to recognize them most by their classic “prickly pear” appearance. There are many types of Opuntia cactus that are common houseplants and are known for their jointed stems and flattened pads. All varieties of Opuntia are easy to grow provided there is ample light, well-drained soil, and warm temperatures during the growing season. In warmer climates, growing Opuntia in gardens adds desert appeal and unique flora to the landscape.
Watering: During spring/summer months, water when completely dry. Suspend watering during winter months to once every 6-8 weeks, checking to ensure soil is completely dry before each watering.
Light Requirements: Bright, direct light. South and/or West light is ideal for these sun lovers.
Humidity Needs: Average household humidity, but does enjoy a warm spot.
Soil Preference: Well draining, neutral soil. A cactus or succulent mix is ideal.
Fertilizing: Well-balanced fertilizer at 1/4 strength 1-2x/month during spring/summer months. Suspend fertilizing during fall/winter.
Repotting: Every 4-5 years to ensure soil nutrients.
Pet Safe: No - spines can be dangerous to animal's digestive tracts if ingested.
Common Issues: Rot due to overwatering and/or overwatering in low light settings. Can be somewhat susceptible to mealy bugs, but this is uncommon.
*Not intended to be a comprehensive list of opuntia varieties.
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