Alphabetical Plant Listing

Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly Pear)

Smooth Mountain Prickly Pear, Indian Fig, Mission Cactus, Tuberous Prickly Pear, Nopal, Sweet Prickly Pear, Barbary Fig, Cactus Pear, Spineless Cactus


Fast growing, Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly Pear) is a big succulent shrub, eventually becoming tree-like, with a thick, woody central trunk and a profusion of flat, oblong, bluish-green pads, up to 2 ft. across (60 cm). Most specimens are spineless and lack glochids (barbed bristles on the areoles). Sitting on the outer edges of the pads, large, long-lasting, orange or reddish flowers, 3-5 in. across (7-12 cm), appear in spring or early summer. They are followed by edible fruits, that ripen from yellow to red, and which will remain on the plant until picked by man, animal or bird. Both the fruit and the pads of the Prickly Pear are edible and used in many ways: raw or cooked, boiled into jelly, or even fermented to make alcohol. Cultivated in warm regions around the world, both for its fruit and as a decorative hedge plant, Prickly Pear is trouble free and extremely drought tolerant.

  • Typically grows up to 15 ft. tall (450 cm) and 10 ft. wide (300 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun in well-drained soils. This plant tolerates a wide variety of soils as long as they are well-draining. Extra water during the dry summer months is encouraged but seldom needed. Drought tolerant once established.
  • This low-maintenance plant is a great choice for xeriscape gardens, Mediterranean gardens and desert gardens.
  • This remarkable plant is deer resistant and is easy to care for.
  • Generally disease-free. Watch for cochineal scale or mealy bugs.
  • Propagate from woody stem cuttings or from seed.
  • Although found across the southernmost states, from California to Florida, it is likely that this plant is native to Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 12
Heat Zones 9 – 12
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Cactus - Succulents
Plant Family Opuntia
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 5' – 10' (150cm – 3m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden

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velislava / erostunova / inavanhateren / 123RF Stock Photo

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.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 12
Heat Zones 9 – 12
Climate Zones 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Cactus - Succulents
Plant Family Opuntia
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 5' – 10' (150cm – 3m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Opuntia

Guides with Opuntia

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