Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Harvesting Prickly Pears from an Opuntia Ficus-Indica Cactus


Prickly pear cacti (Opuntia ficus-indica) can be significantly used in landscaping, lending an air of the southwestern United States wherever they are placed. The red cactus pears used in trade are harvested from Opuntia cacti, which have edible pads. The southwestern United States and Mexico are natural habitats for this particular cactus species. In as little as five years, a prickly pear cactus can reach a height of 15 feet and spread to the same width. Cactus pads are oval and can grow over a foot in length and width. The ultimate guide to buy peyote.

Beautiful brilliant yellow to orange flowers, measuring 3 to 5 inches across, appear on Opuntia ficus-indica in the spring. Prickly pears of a pinkish-red color develop from them. These cacti eventually develop brown, woody trunks. Many species of Opuntia have edible pears and pads and are not picky about the soil they’re grown in. In some regions, Opuntia cactus is also utilized as cattle fodder due to the plant’s palatable flavor.

Prickly pears are stunning when silhouetted against a sunset in the great outdoors. They can also be used as a formidable barrier for safety purposes. They respond well to routine pruning to keep their form. Always make your cuts at the juncture of the two pads. Plant cuttings quickly take root when buried in a pad’s worth of nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Other Opuntia species often colonize places that have fallen to the ground.

It is possible to cultivate Opuntia cacti indoors by placing them in containers, but they will likely never reach more than a few feet in height. They thrive in hot, dry conditions with minimal watering. Cacti hate soggy soil and will decompose if left there for too long. In high-rainfall areas, water less frequently and focus on enhancing soil drainage. My cactus has delicate pads and drooping tips that alert me when they need water. The places swelled with the excess water and toppled over when we had over 20 inches of rain in a year.

The cactus pads are not particularly prickly. Instead, they sport clusters of fine needles that resemble hair. By brushing up against the places, you might get your hands stuck in your skin, causing the areas to set discomfort. To remove them, you’ll need a magnifying glass and tweezers. Cactus parts should be handled carefully, so use tongs, a broad fork, or even cardboard. Leather gloves or two pairs of cotton gloves are recommended. However, examining the gloves for needles before touching any cacti with your bare hands would be best.

Read also: The Prickly Pear Nopal Cactus And Its Medicinal Uses.