Sunday, October 04, 2015

Opuntia trial. 10.3.15

Opuntias for experiment.  10.4.15
These are the opuntias that I want to overwinter.  I hope they will produce fruits next year.

The larger one is from Raintree, sold as "Large fruit opuntia".  Image below links to their catalog URL.

Raintree Nursery Opuntia.
From Raintree catalog:  "(Opuntia engelmannii) Like the cycloides cactus, but with red/purple, flavorful fruit that is twice as large. Enjoy the pretty yellow flowers. It grows to 4' tall and has blonde colored spines.". 

Did I post the info on the smaller one?   That was from Shorty's nursery in Vancouver WA.  Just being local does not prove adapted to this area. I have seen lots of things that were not idea here.  But it was different, so there we are.  This one is "Baby Rita Prickly Pear".  There is a beautiful photo at this link.   On Dave's garden, the pads are purple.  On there is a beautiful photo of the pink flower, and this description:  "Prickly Pear season starts with Opuntia “Baby Rita”, a santa-rita hybrid with small and spiny pads. Small pads, will grow 3 feet tall. Very spiny pads turn purple in winter.  Hardy to 15F.  Monrovia - the brand for this plant, states this is Opuntia basilaris hybrid. "Exceptional dwarf hybrid with brilliant carmine colored flowers in a small padded, purple skinned prickly pear. Thrives from the coast to inland deserts, and even into high altitude mountain areas! Loaded with spring blooms, the purple foliage intensifies in winter, providing year-round interest." and gives hardiness range as 0 to 15F.

I was interested in opuntia in the past.   These photos were from my yard in 2007-2008.   I did not get ripe fruit from the opuntias, and they died after a hard freeze the next winter.  I enjoyed that the flowers changed color, so there were yellow and orange flowers on the same plants.  The freeze-kill might have been because I did not keep them sufficiently dry, or the variety might not have been as hardy as needed.

With summer 2015 hotter and drier than any on record, highly dry adapted plants like opuntias are worth another look for fruit, flowers, and vegetable - nopales.  Worth a try.

Opuntia in Bloom.  Vancouver WA 2008

Opuntia.  Vancouver WA 2007


  1. These cacti may go into containers or compact raised beds. Some opuntias survive the winter if dry, but not if wet. Container growing would give me the iption to overwinter them under shelter. The "Baby Rita"stays compact so should be easy to manage in container. The larger Opuntia might grow too big for that in a few years.

  2. I also cut 2 pads from the "Baby Rita" opuntia for propagation. I cant help myself, i like propagating stuff. Those will sit and dry for a month, then go into cactus soil. Cacti are very easy to propagate that way,