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Cylindropuntia echinocarpa (Silver Cholla)

Golden Cholla, Silver Cholla, Wiggins' Cholla, Opuntia echinocarpa, Opuntia wigginsii

Cylindropuntia echinocarpa, Golden Cholla, Silver Cholla, Wiggins' Cholla, Opuntia echinocarpa, Opuntia wigginsii

A spectacular cactus of the Southwestern United States, Cylindropuntia echinocarpa (Silver Cholla) can be a low, densely branched bush to a large, tree-like cactus with a short, thick trunk. It is usually found in cultivation in two color variations. The stems are either densely covered with white (Silver Cholla) or yellow to tan (Golden Cholla) spines, up to 1 in. long (2.5 cm). The formidable spines are arranged neatly on the stems, making both forms highly decorative. In spring and summer, greenish-yellow flowers, up to 1 in. across (2.5 cm), sometimes suffused bronze or rose, are produced. They are followed by lumpy, spiny, greenish brown fruits with white seeds and a foul scent, reminiscent of rancid butter. A common plant in much of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, this Cholla provides important nesting sites for birds. Silver or Golden Cholla is a very attractive plant and will remain as such year-round. It is a spectacular addition to the desert or cacti garden where its sculptural shape adds a wonderful contrast to the rest of the garden.

  • Grows up to 6-10 ft. tall (180-300 cm).
  • Easily grown in well-drained soils in full sun. Very little supplemental water to establish and none once established. Drought tolerant.
  • Great for desert gardens, rock gardens, succulent gardens or Mediterranean gardens.
  • Virtually pest and disease free. Deer resistant.
  • Native to the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico.

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Climate Zones 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Cactaceae
Genus Opuntia
Common names Cholla
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Arizona, Nevada, Rocky Mountains, Utah
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden
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Opuntia (Prickly Pear)
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Opuntia rufida (Blind Prickly Pear)
Opuntia fragilis (Brittle Prickly Pear)
Opuntia santa-rita Tubac™ (Santa Rita Prickly Pear)
Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle Cactus)
Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)
Cylindropuntia bigelovii (Teddybear Cholla)

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Opuntia (Prickly Pear)
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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Climate Zones 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Cactaceae
Genus Opuntia
Common names Cholla
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Arizona, Nevada, Rocky Mountains, Utah
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Opuntia (Prickly Pear)
Not sure which Opuntia (Prickly Pear) to pick?
Compare Now

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