PictureThis
camera identify
Use App
tab list
Home Identify Application
English
English
繁體中文
日本語
Español
Français
Deutsch
Pусский
Português
Italiano
한국어
Nederlands
العربية
Svenska
Polskie
ภาษาไทย
Bahasa Melayu
Bahasa Indonesia
Get App
This page looks better in the app
about about
About
care_guide care_guide
Care Guide
topic topic
Care FAQ
plant_info plant_info
More Info
pests pests
Pests & Diseases
distribution_map distribution_map
Distribution
care_scenes care_scenes
More About How-Tos
more_plants more_plants
Related Plants
pic top
Prickly pear play
Prickly pear
video play
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Opuntia ficus-indica
Also known as : Barbary fig, Spineless cactus, Cactus Fruit
Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a flowering cactus native to Mexico. Prickly pear is a widely domesticated species grown for agricultural purposes in arid climates throughout the world. This species is edible and planted widely as a fruit and vegetable crop. Prickly pear is commercially valued as food, animal fodder, an adobe ingredient, and is also planted to control soil erosion.
Water
Water
Once per month
Sunlight
Sunlight
Full sun
more
care guide

Care Guide for Prickly pear

Watering Care
Watering Care
Prickly pear is drought tolerant and does not require frequent watering. If the soil is completely dry, then give it some water. Established plants should be fine with rainfall. Potted plants will need a little water around once a month.
Details on Watering Care Watering Care
Fertilizing Care
Fertilizing Care
Prickly pear should be fertilized monthly throughout the spring to autumn growing period. If you prefer to have larger pads on your prickly pear, use a high nitrogen fertilizer. If you want it to flower, use fertilizer that does not contain nitrogen.
Details on Fertilizing Care Fertilizing Care
Pruning
Pruning
Trim the diseased, withered leaves once a month.
Details on Pruning Pruning
Soil Care
Soil Care
Sand, Loam, Chalky, Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Details on Soil Care Soil Care
Repotting
Repotting
Needs excellent drainage in pots.
Details on Repotting Repotting
care guide bg
Know the light your plants really get.
Find the best spots for them to optimize their health, simply using your phone.
Download the App
Picture This
A Botanist in Your Pocket
qrcode
Scan QR code to download
label
cover
Prickly pear
Water
Water
Once per month
Sunlight
Sunlight
Full sun
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
8 to 12
Planting Time
Planting Time
Early spring
question

Questions About Prickly pear

Watering Watering Watering
Sunlight Sunlight Sunlight
Temperature Temperature Temperature
Fertilizing Fertilizing Fertilizing
What should I do if I water my Prickly pear too much or too little?
Underwatered Prickly pear
Prickly pear and other succulents can endure long periods without water, so it’s unusual to find one of these suffering from underwatering. But, if you somehow forgot about your plant and neglected to water it for a month or more, you’ll probably find your Prickly pear looking thirsty or with some leaf damage from lack of watering.
It is very easy to identify an underwatered Prickly pear. The leaves will look shriveled, dry, and flat. Some may have dried up completely, turned brown and crispy, or dropped off the plant, starting with the lower leaves and moving upward as the dry conditions continue. And of course, the soil will be completely dried out.
If your Prickly pear is thirsty and underwatered, give it plenty of water as soon as possible. Submerging the pot entirely in water for about 5-10 minutes is a good way to make sure the soil and plant are rehydrated properly. When you feel a sense of moisture on the surface of the soil with your finger, it means the watering is done properly. If there are dried out leaves still attached, go ahead and pluck them off to make room for new growth.
Overwatered Prickly pear
Overwatering is dangerous to Prickly pear and can be fatal to your plant if you don’t remedy the situation. Too much moisture over time leads to root rot, which prevents the roots from being able to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Root rot occurs when wet conditions allow fungi and bacteria to flourish in the soil and feed on roots. When you find that it's overwatered, you'd better change the growing conditions, place it somewhere with more air ventilation and adjust water frequency, for example.
The symptoms of overwatering are yellow, swollen, and translucent leaves that may even burst open from being over-full with water. If the problem continues without being treated, leaves might turn brown or black, and fall off the plant at the slightest touch. Be sure to check the soil to determine if overwatering is the culprit, as some other issues can cause similar symptoms.
It’s a bit difficult (but not impossible) to save an overwatered plant. The key is catching it early before a lot of damage has occurred. If the roots become rotten, it is likely to kill the entire plant. If you suspect you have overwatered your Prickly pear, the first step is to remove it from its pot and check the roots and soil.
After removing the plant from its pot, gently remove wet soil from around the roots and then rinse them clean in room-temperature water. This helps with removing fungus that might be lurking in the soil and allows you to get a better sense of how healthy the roots are. If your plant has already developed root rot, you will see roots that are dark brown or black, soft, mushy, or slimy.
If the majority of the roots are already affected by root rot, it may not be possible to save the plant. In this case, it is best to remove any healthy leaves and try to use these to propagate a new Prickly pear. Luckily, this plant is easy to propagate even from a single leaf. If, on the other hand, only a portion of the roots have succumbed to rot and other healthy roots still remain, there is a chance it can be saved.
Use a sterilized cutting tool to remove any unhealthy-looking roots. Once you're left with only the firm, pale roots, it’s a good idea to dip them in a fungicide to kill off any remaining spores. After that you can repot your Prickly pear in fresh, free-draining potting soil. While this does not always work to save a succulent with root rot, in most cases this plant will be able to make a full recovery and will put out new growth starting in the next growing season.
Read More more
How often should I water my Prickly pear?
There’s not a hard-and-fast rule for how often to water Prickly pear. The best way to determine this is to check the soil and only water when it’s bone dry. You can either stick your finger in the pot or use a moisture meter to check the soil below the surface. When you plant it in a deep pot, you can do this with a stick or chopstick. If it feels even a little bit moist, wait a few days and check it again.
Most people will need to water Prickly pear about every two weeks in summer and once a month in winter, but there are several factors that can change the frequency. The section below lists some considerations that can help you to determine how often to water.
Read More more
What should I consider when watering my Prickly pear?
There are several environmental conditions that will affect how your Prickly pear needs to be watered, including the container size, soil type, temperature, and humidity.
First off, the container and soil you use will determine how often to water and how much water to use each time. Be sure you use a container with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom so extra water can escape the pot. A small container has less room for soil, meaning it won’t hold as much moisture, while a larger pot will stay wet longer and need to be watered less often. It’s important not to keep your Prickly pear in an oversized pot as this can easily lead to overwatering. When repotting, move to just one size larger than the current container. A shallow container works better than a deep one, since Prickly pear has shallow root systems.
Prickly pear will need to be watered less often in winter and more often in the active growing season in spring and autumn. During the winter, growth slows down considerably and the plant isn’t using much energy or water. There is less water lost to evaporation in cooler winter air, meaning that soil stays wet for much longer than it would in the summer.
This also applies to the general climate around your home. If you live in a humid location with a lot of rain, you will need to water less often than if you live in a dry, arid climate. Remember that conditions at the same geographic location can vary significantly with the season and the use of indoor heating and air conditioning.
Outdoor Planting
If Prickly pear is planted in the ground, after establishing a root system, it shouldn’t need supplemental water beyond what it receives through precipitation and dew. But if there is a long dry period, you may want to water occasionally. In other areas where Prickly pear can only be grown in a container, this plant can be moved outside in the spring and summer when the temperature is proper and then brought back inside when temperatures start to drop. A potted Prickly pear kept outside usually needs more water than the same plant kept indoors, because there is a lot more sun exposure even on a shaded porch.
Read More more
How to water Prickly pear?
The best way to water Prickly pear is to soak it thoroughly and then allow it to dry out before it gets watered again. Since this plant is somewhat drought tolerant, you can let it get quite dry before watering again. It is always better to give this type of plant too little water over too much.
When you water, make sure the soil gets thoroughly soaked throughout the whole pot. Don’t pour the water in just one spot, but rather try to go around the whole rim of the planter to be sure that it has a chance to get wet on all sides of the plant. The correct amount of water will depend on the size of your container and how much water your soil absorbs. Give your Prickly pear enough water that it drains out from the drainage holes and then (ideally) leave the drained water in the saucer for about 20-30 minutes to absorb into dry pockets of soil. After that, discard any excess water that’s still in the saucer to avoid the soil getting waterlogged.
Bottom-watering is also an excellent method for the Prickly pear, as you can be sure that the soil gets thoroughly moistened. This process involves placing the pot into a saucer of water and allowing the soil to absorb moisture through the drainage holes. You will know that the soil has absorbed enough water when the top layer is moist. This takes a bit more time than top-watering, but is almost foolproof in getting an even distribution of water throughout the pot.
The original habitat of Prickly pear is relatively dry with little rain, but when it rains, the soil will be thoroughly moistened. So you can mimic this situation by bottom-watering your plant when the soil is totally dry. Deep soil bathing is better than frequent light watering for Prickly pear.
Read More more
icon
Get tips and tricks for your plants.
Keep your plants happy and healthy with our guide to watering, lighting, feeding and more.
close
plant_info

Key Facts About Prickly pear

Attributes of Prickly pear

Lifespan
Perennial
Plant Type
Succulent, Shrub
Planting Time
Early spring
Bloom Time
Mid spring, Late spring, Early summer, Mid summer
Harvest Time
Early fall, Mid fall
Plant Height
1 m to 6 m
Spread
1.5 m to 3 m
Leaf Color
Green
Flower Size
5 cm to 10 cm
Flower Color
Yellow
Orange
Fruit Color
Red
Purple
Stem Color
Green
Gray
Silver
Orange
Red
Yellow
Purple
Dormancy
Winter dormancy
Leaf type
Evergreen
Pollinators
Bees

Name story

Prickly pear
The plant was simply named prickly pear because its prickly fruit resembles a pear in size and shape. The pads of the prickly pear cactus, called nopales, are also edible but they are not commonly available outside of the native region.

Symbolism

Hope, protection, longevity

Usages

Garden Use
Prickly pear is a great choice for desert, xeriscape, or Mediterranean-style gardens, as it needs comparatively little water to thrive. Planted for decorative and edible purposes, this plant starts as a woody shrub and can eventually grow into a tree. In some areas, it is used to control soil erosion. It can be planted alongside almost any garden crop: herbs, vegetables and other fruit trees.

Trivia and Interesting Facts

A serious contender to Argan oil, the oil of the prickly pear contains high levels of vitamin E, vitamin K and beta-carotene and is gaining fame in the world of cosmetics. A small cooperative of women in Southern Morocco have been making products from the prickly pear, turning it into an important source of income for many poor, rural communities.

Scientific Classification of Prickly pear

icon
Find your perfect green friends.
Plan your green oasis based on your criteria: plant type, pet safety, skill level, sites, and more.
pests

Common Pests & Diseases About Prickly pear

Common issues for Prickly pear based on 10 million real cases
Aphids
Aphids Aphids
Aphids
Aphids is a plant disease that significantly affects the Prickly pear, primarily causing distorted growth, yellowing leaves, and a decrease in overall health. High infestations can lead to severe damage, leading to the plant's death.
stem brown spot
stem brown spot stem brown spot
stem brown spot
Brown spot is a serious fungal disease affecting Prickly pear, causing significant damage to its growth and productivity. The disease, triggered by the pathogen 'Cercospora opuntiae', results in the formation of widespread reddish-brown lesions on the plant's pads and fruits. It's highly infectious and moderate in lethality.
Mealybugs
Mealybugs Mealybugs
Mealybugs
Mealybugs are destructive pests impacting Prickly pear, manifesting as cotton-like white masses on the plant's parts. They suck the plant's juices, causing yellowing, leaf drop, and potentially plant death if not managed effectively.
Scars
Scars Scars
Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Solutions: Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Stem rot
Stem rot Stem rot
Stem rot
Bacterial infection can cause the stems to become soft and rotten.
Solutions: If the plant is only infected a little, it can sometimes be saved. This mainly applies to houseplants that are grown in pots. Here's what to do. Remove the plant from the pot and gently shake off as much soil as possible. Using pruning tools that have been disinfected, remove any diseased foliage and roots. Be sure the new pot has good drainage holes and wash it with one part bleach and nine parts water to ensure that it is completely clean and sanitized. Dip the plant's roots in fungicide to kill off any remaining fungal spores before potting into the clean growing medium. Only water the plant when the top inch of the soil is dry and never let the plant sit in water. For plants that are grown in the ground, it's best just to remove the infected plants and destroy them. Do not plant in the same spot until the soil has been allowed to dry out and has been treated with a fungicide.
Low light
Low light Low light
Low light
A lack of sunlight will cause the stems and leaves to elongate and appear lighter in color.
Solutions: Low light can only be addressed by increasing light availability, and these measures will only stop further etoliation; current distortion cannot be reversed. Move plant to a position where it receives more light. Check the requirements for specific species, as too much sunlight can cause a plant to burn. Introduce appropriate artificial lighting. Some people choose to prune the longest stems so the plant can concentrate on healthy new growth under the improved lighting.
icon
Treat and prevent plant diseases.
AI-powered plant doctor helps you diagnose plant problems in seconds.
close
plant poor
Aphids
Overview
Symptom
Causes
Treatment
Prevention
Active Period
What is Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
What is Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
Aphids is a plant disease that significantly affects the Prickly pear, primarily causing distorted growth, yellowing leaves, and a decrease in overall health. High infestations can lead to severe damage, leading to the plant's death.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Aphids infestation in Prickly pear causes curled and yellow leaves, stunted growth, and wilted plants. In severe cases, Aphids produce a sticky substance known as honeydew, promoting the growth of sooty mold.
What Causes Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
What Causes Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Insects
Aphids, small sap-sucking bugs usually found on the undersides of the plant's leaves or stems.
2
Environmental Factors
Favorable conditions such as a mild climate facilitate the fast reproduction of Aphids.
How to Treat Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
How to Treat Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Non pesticide
Handpick: Regularly check Prickly pear for Aphids and remove them by hand or with a blast of water.

Predatory Insects: Introduce natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings to control the Aphid population.
2
Pesticide
Insecticidal Soap: Spray the plant with a mild solution of insecticidal soap, covering all leaf surfaces.

Synthetic Pesticides: Use them sparingly and as a last resort, as they can kill beneficial insects too.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
qrcode
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
plant poor
stem brown spot
Overview
Symptom
Causes
Treatment
Prevention
Active Period
What is stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
What is stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
Brown spot is a serious fungal disease affecting Prickly pear, causing significant damage to its growth and productivity. The disease, triggered by the pathogen 'Cercospora opuntiae', results in the formation of widespread reddish-brown lesions on the plant's pads and fruits. It's highly infectious and moderate in lethality.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Affected Prickly pear exhibits several symptoms, crucially the development of clearly visible reddish-brown necrotic spots on the pads and fruits. Eventually, these spots coalesce into larger lesions, severely impacting the plant's health. New growth can also be affected, hampering the plant's productivity.
What Causes stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
What Causes stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Fungus
The pathogen causing Brown spot is the fungus 'Cercospora opuntiae', which targets plants in the family Cactaceae, primarily Prickly pear.
2
Environmental Factors
Conditions of high humidity and temperature foster the growth and spread of this fungus.
How to Treat stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
How to Treat stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Non pesticide
Sanitation: Regular removal and disposal of infected parts and fallen debris from Prickly pear can significantly reduce fungal populations.

Crop Rotation: Alternating crops can break the lifecycle of the fungus, limiting its spread.
2
Pesticide
Fungicides: Apply suitable fungicides like Chlorothalonil or Mancozeb, following product guidelines. It's advisable to consult a professional for the appropriate solution and its correct usage.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
qrcode
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
plant poor
Mealybugs
Overview
Symptom
Causes
Treatment
Prevention
Active Period
What is Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
What is Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
Mealybugs are destructive pests impacting Prickly pear, manifesting as cotton-like white masses on the plant's parts. They suck the plant's juices, causing yellowing, leaf drop, and potentially plant death if not managed effectively.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Key symptoms in Prickly pear include a cotton-like white substance on plant parts, yellowing of leaves, premature leaf drop, stunted growth, and in severe cases, the death of the plant.
What Causes Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
What Causes Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Pests
Mealybugs are insects that feed on the plant's juices.
2
Environmental Factors
Overwatering, high humidity, and poor ventilation can contribute to mealybug infestations.
How to Treat Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
How to Treat Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Non pesticide
Isolation: Infected plants should be separated from healthy ones to prevent mealybug spread.

Manual Removal: Mealybugs can be physically removed using a soft, damp cloth or cotton swabs.

Predators: Introducing natural predators like ladybugs can assist in mealybug control.
2
Pesticide
Insecticidal Soap: Non-toxic soaps can be used to control mealybugs.

Systemic Insecticides: They are absorbed by the plant and can kill mealybugs when they feed.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
qrcode
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
Scars
plant poor
Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Scars form when the plant repairs wounds. They can be the result of people or pets passing by and scraping the plant. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the plant will heal but a scar may remain.
Pests and pathogens can also cause scarring. Insects may attack the plant for a meal, resulting in extensive scarring when a few invaders turn into an infestation. Diseases such as fungus and bacteria can weaken the plant, causing brown spots, mushy areas, or blisters that lead to scars.
Scars occur on stems when a leaf or bud has been lost and the plant has healed. The harder tissue is like a scab that protects a wound.
On other occasions, scars can signal problems from environmental conditions, such as overexposure to sunlight or heat. It might surprise you to know that plants can suffer from sunburn, even desert dwellers like cactus!
Solutions
Solutions
Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover.
  1. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes.
  2. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray.
  3. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs.
  4. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Prevention
Prevention
Preventing some sources of scarring is easier than others, but all start with careful attention to your plants once you decide to bring them home.
  1. Review specific guidelines for your plant, including soil drainage, watering, and fertilizer requirements.
  2. Inspect plants before planting and use sterile pots and fresh potting soil or media to limit transfer of fungi or bacteria.
  3. Once established, check your plants regularly for signs of scarring or the presence of pests, as it is better to catch problems as early as possible.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
qrcode
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
Stem rot
plant poor
Stem rot
Bacterial infection can cause the stems to become soft and rotten.
Overview
Overview
Stem rot is a serious disease and can affect many different types of plants. it can be particularly prevalent when the temperature of the soil is over 16 ℃ and there's a lot of moisture in the soil. This could be from unusually heavy rainfalls or too much irrigation. Once stem rot sets in, it's very difficult to get rid of the disease and most affected plants will have to be discarded. This is especially the case for vegetables, herbs, and other herbaceous plants that have soft stems. This is why it's important to ensure that the soil used for growing these plants is well-drained and that overwatering is avoided. Using good cultural practices also help in curbing these types of fungal diseases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Plants that have been affected by stem rot will first display a yellowing of the lower leaves. This is followed by obvious wilting and stunted growth.
If the stem of the affected plant is examined closely, there will be some dark discolorations starting near the base and moving upward. If the roots of affected plants are examined, they will appear dark and mushy instead of white and healthy-looking. Eventually, the entire plant will wilt and die.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Stem rot is caused by a variety of soil-borne fungus pathogens. The type of fungus depends on the species of plant that is affected. Two fungi responsible for stem rot are Rhizoctonia and Fusarium. These fungal pathogens live in soil and migrate to the plant when conditions are optimum. This includes warm, humid weather and excessive soil moisture. Commonly, vegetable seedlings are affected by these fungi.
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is another fungus that causes stem rot in plants. This fungus has a host range of over 350 different species of plants. Plants most susceptible to this fungus include many vegetable varieties such as cucumbers, beans, cilantro, carrots, cabbage, melons, lettuce, peas, onions, tomatoes, pumpkins, and squash. This fungus can produce different symptoms in different species. In some cases, the fungus causes irregular spots on stems and other plant material that appear water-soaked. On other plant species, the fungus appears as dry lesions that grow and girdle the stem of the plant.
The third type of fungus that causes stem rot is Phytophthora capsici. Plants that belong to the cucumber family are most susceptible to this fungal infection. This fungus manifests as water-soaked lesions on the stems that then turn brown and girdle the stem.
All of these fungal pathogens are transmitted to the plant by water splashing from the soil up onto the plant. That's because the fungal spores live in the soil where they wait for the right conditions to infect the plants.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
qrcode
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
Low light
plant poor
Low light
A lack of sunlight will cause the stems and leaves to elongate and appear lighter in color.
Overview
Overview
All plants require light, and if they do not receive it in the quantities that they require this distorts their growth in a process known as etiolation. In essence, etiolated plants are diverting all of their energy to growing taller in a desperate attempt to reach a position where they can meet their light requirements. Many other growth factors are harmed by this, and so light-deprived plants can become weak and distorted until they are almost unrecognizable. Low light symptoms are most commonly seen in houseplants, but outdoor specimens can also be affected.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Although symptoms will vary in different plants, the general symptoms of low light are easy to spot.
  1. Plant stems grow tall and lanky.
  2. There are less leaves, and both leaves and stems tend to be pale and insipid looking. This is due to a shortage of chlorophyll.
  3. All plant parts become weakened and may droop, as energy is diverted toward too-fast growth as the plant stretches itself toward any source of light.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Plants need sunlight in varying amounts for photosynthesis – a process that produces energy for growth and fruit and flower production. Low light causes a plant to divert all energy to upward (apical) growth in order to find better light. Plant hormones called auxins are transported from the actively-growing tip of the plant downwards, to suppress lateral growth. A drop in cellular pH triggers expansins, nonenzymatic cell wall proteins, to loosen cell walls and allow them to elongate. This elongation results in the abnormal lengthening of stems, especially internodes, or plant "legginess" which is observed in etoliated plants.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
qrcode
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
distribution

Distribution of Prickly pear

Habitat of Prickly pear

Dry arid and rocky places
Northern Hemisphere
South Hemisphere

Distribution Map of Prickly pear

distribution map
Native
Cultivated
Invasive
Potentially invasive
Exotic
No species reported
habit
care_scenes

More Info on Prickly Pear Growth and Care

Basic Care Guide
Common Pests & Diseases
Explore More
Lighting
Full sun
The prickly pear thrives best when exposed to ample amounts of sunlight, enabling it to blossom prolifically and maintain vigorous growth. Originating from environments rich in sunlight, it can also tolerate lesser light exposure. However, both extremes - too little or too much sun, could impair the plant's health, hindering optimum growth and vitality.
Best Sunlight Practices
Temperature
-5 43 ℃
The native growth environment related to prickly pear temperature requirements is temperate regions with mild winters and hot summers. The plant prefers a temperature range of 59 to 100 ℉ (15 to 38 ℃). In winter, the plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 ℉ (-6.7 ℃) if kept dry. During summer, it is essential to provide some shade to prevent overheating. In spring and fall, the plant can adjust to temperatures ranging from 40 to 80 ℉ (4.4 to 26.7 ℃).
Temp for Healthy Growth
Transplant
4-6 feet
The best time to transplant prickly pear is during late spring to mid-summer, as it allows for optimal root establishment. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Remember to handle it gently to avoid injury to the plant. Happy transplanting!
Transplant Techniques
Pollination
Normal
The plant prickly pear thrives with entomophilous (insect) pollination, predominantly credited to diligent bees. It puts forth a dazzling display of alluring yellow flowers to attract these buzzing pollinators. The potent nectar within its vibrant blooms seduces these bees, leading to an effective pollination mechanism. The spectacle mostly unfolds in the warm, sunny part of the day, when bees are most active and prickly pear can seize its chance to multiply.
Pollination Techniques
Overwinter
15 ℃
Prickly pear hails from the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, a habitat of harsh winters and scorching summers. Incredibly frost-hardy, it requires minimal winter care. Natural adaptations include a robust root system extracting moisture from the surrounding soil, storing it for arid, frosty periods. Gardeners should offer well-drained soil to prevent root rot and provide minimal watering in winter. Anti-freeze protection, such as fleece cloches, is rarely required unless drastic temperature drops are expected.
Winter Techniques
Aphids
Aphids is a plant disease that significantly affects the Prickly pear, primarily causing distorted growth, yellowing leaves, and a decrease in overall health. High infestations can lead to severe damage, leading to the plant's death.
Learn More About the Disease
stem brown spot
Brown spot is a serious fungal disease affecting Prickly pear, causing significant damage to its growth and productivity. The disease, triggered by the pathogen 'Cercospora opuntiae', results in the formation of widespread reddish-brown lesions on the plant's pads and fruits. It's highly infectious and moderate in lethality.
Learn More About the Disease
Mealybugs
Mealybugs are destructive pests impacting Prickly pear, manifesting as cotton-like white masses on the plant's parts. They suck the plant's juices, causing yellowing, leaf drop, and potentially plant death if not managed effectively.
Learn More About the Disease
Feng shui direction
South
The prickly pear embodies perseverance and resilience, well-aligning with people seeking stability and growth. Its compatibility is most flourished when facing South, the direction associated with the fire element. Prickly pear's characteristic ability to flourish in dire situations symbolizes spurring positivity amid challenges, resonating with the South's Feng Shui values.
Fengshui Details
other_plant

Plants Related to Prickly pear

Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley is highly poisonous and originates in Eurasia. Although it is toxic, it is popular in gardens and the perfume industry for its charming flowers and fragrance. Lily of the valley is the national flower of Finland and was the national flower of former Yugoslavia.
Pencil cactus
Pencil cactus
Pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) is a small tree shrub that grows best in warm arid climates and is named for its pencil-sized succulent branches. Pencil cactus is native to black clay soils in Africa and can be poisonous if ingested. It produces a latex compound that can be poisonous and cause blindness.
Ditch lily
Ditch lily
The ditch lily is a perennial plant known for its captivating lily-like blooms. Its natural habitats are meadows and forests, but it is also a common garden plant in temperate regions around the world. Each individual flower lasts only a day, but the plant will bloom new ones for weeks. Ditch lily's young buds and flowers are edible either raw or cooked. As a bonus to vegetarians, the flowers contain more fats than most vegetables.
European spindletree
European spindletree
The european spindletree is a common garden and park plant due to its beautiful flowering and hardiness. As the name infers, its wood is very hard and can be used to make spindles to spin wool. The fruit of the european spindletree is poisonous and can result in liver damage or death.
Yellow daylily
Yellow daylily
Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, colloquially known as yellow daylily, is an ornamental perennial herbaceous plant with very fragrant yellow flowers. It is commonly cultivated in flowerbeds, containers and as a groundcover plant. Due to its dense semi-evergreen leaves and early-blooming flowers, yellow daylily is highly appreciated amongst gardeners.
Snow-on-the-mountain
Snow-on-the-mountain
Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata) is a plant species that often grows where other plants cannot survive. Snow-on-the-mountain thrives in dark, shady places and provides a ground cover. Its ground cover is distinctive due to its leaves, which can be white, light yellow, or a variegated combination. These leaves, when added to the white flowers, create an appearance of snow that gives the plant its name.
Cape jasmine
Cape jasmine
Gardenia jasminoides is an evergreen shrub with unique, glossy evergreen leaves and stunning flowers. The sophisticated, matte white flowers are often used in bouquets. The exceptional beauty of this ornamental plant has made it a popular and highly appreciated plant amongst gardeners and horticulturalists.
Golden pothos
Golden pothos
The golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a popular houseplant that is commonly seen in Australia, Asia, and the West Indies. It goes by many nicknames, including "devil's ivy", because it is so hard to kill and can even grow in low light conditions. Golden pothos has poisonous sap, so it should be kept away from pets and children.
View More Plants
close
product icon
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
Your Ultimate Guide to Plants
Identify grow and nurture the better way!
product icon
17,000 local species +400,000 global species studied
product icon
Nearly 5 years of research
product icon
80+ scholars in botany and gardening
ad
ad
Botanist in your pocket
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
About
Care Guide
Care FAQ
More Info
Pests & Diseases
Distribution
More About How-Tos
Related Plants
Prickly pear play
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Prickly pear
Opuntia ficus-indica
Also known as: Barbary fig, Spineless cactus, Cactus Fruit
Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a flowering cactus native to Mexico. Prickly pear is a widely domesticated species grown for agricultural purposes in arid climates throughout the world. This species is edible and planted widely as a fruit and vegetable crop. Prickly pear is commercially valued as food, animal fodder, an adobe ingredient, and is also planted to control soil erosion.
Water
Water
Once per month
Sunlight
Sunlight
Full sun
more
question

Questions About Prickly pear

Watering Watering Watering
Sunlight Sunlight Sunlight
Temperature Temperature Temperature
Fertilizing Fertilizing Fertilizing
What should I do if I water my Prickly pear too much or too little?
more
How often should I water my Prickly pear?
more
What should I consider when watering my Prickly pear?
more
How to water Prickly pear?
more
icon
Get tips and tricks for your plants.
Keep your plants happy and healthy with our guide to watering, lighting, feeding and more.
Download the App
close
plant_info

Key Facts About Prickly pear

Attributes of Prickly pear

Lifespan
Perennial
Plant Type
Succulent, Shrub
Planting Time
Early spring
Bloom Time
Mid spring, Late spring, Early summer, Mid summer
Harvest Time
Early fall, Mid fall
Plant Height
1 m to 6 m
Spread
1.5 m to 3 m
Leaf Color
Green
Flower Size
5 cm to 10 cm
Flower Color
Yellow
Orange
Fruit Color
Red
Purple
Stem Color
Green
Gray
Silver
Orange
Red
Yellow
Purple
Dormancy
Winter dormancy
Leaf type
Evergreen
Pollinators
Bees
icon
Gain more valuable plant knowledge
Explore a rich botanical encyclopedia for deeper insights
Download the App

Name story

Prickly pear
The plant was simply named prickly pear because its prickly fruit resembles a pear in size and shape. The pads of the prickly pear cactus, called nopales, are also edible but they are not commonly available outside of the native region.

Symbolism

Hope, protection, longevity

Usages

Garden Use
Prickly pear is a great choice for desert, xeriscape, or Mediterranean-style gardens, as it needs comparatively little water to thrive. Planted for decorative and edible purposes, this plant starts as a woody shrub and can eventually grow into a tree. In some areas, it is used to control soil erosion. It can be planted alongside almost any garden crop: herbs, vegetables and other fruit trees.

Trivia and Interesting Facts

A serious contender to Argan oil, the oil of the prickly pear contains high levels of vitamin E, vitamin K and beta-carotene and is gaining fame in the world of cosmetics. A small cooperative of women in Southern Morocco have been making products from the prickly pear, turning it into an important source of income for many poor, rural communities.

Scientific Classification of Prickly pear

icon
Never miss a care task again!
Plant care made easier than ever with our tailor-made smart care reminder.
Download the App
pests

Common Pests & Diseases About Prickly pear

Common issues for Prickly pear based on 10 million real cases
Aphids
Aphids Aphids Aphids
Aphids is a plant disease that significantly affects the Prickly pear, primarily causing distorted growth, yellowing leaves, and a decrease in overall health. High infestations can lead to severe damage, leading to the plant's death.
Learn More About the Aphids more
stem brown spot
stem brown spot stem brown spot stem brown spot
Brown spot is a serious fungal disease affecting Prickly pear, causing significant damage to its growth and productivity. The disease, triggered by the pathogen 'Cercospora opuntiae', results in the formation of widespread reddish-brown lesions on the plant's pads and fruits. It's highly infectious and moderate in lethality.
Learn More About the stem brown spot more
Mealybugs
Mealybugs Mealybugs Mealybugs
Mealybugs are destructive pests impacting Prickly pear, manifesting as cotton-like white masses on the plant's parts. They suck the plant's juices, causing yellowing, leaf drop, and potentially plant death if not managed effectively.
Learn More About the Mealybugs more
Scars
Scars Scars Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Solutions: Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Learn More About the Scars more
Stem rot
Stem rot Stem rot Stem rot
Bacterial infection can cause the stems to become soft and rotten.
Solutions: If the plant is only infected a little, it can sometimes be saved. This mainly applies to houseplants that are grown in pots. Here's what to do. Remove the plant from the pot and gently shake off as much soil as possible. Using pruning tools that have been disinfected, remove any diseased foliage and roots. Be sure the new pot has good drainage holes and wash it with one part bleach and nine parts water to ensure that it is completely clean and sanitized. Dip the plant's roots in fungicide to kill off any remaining fungal spores before potting into the clean growing medium. Only water the plant when the top inch of the soil is dry and never let the plant sit in water. For plants that are grown in the ground, it's best just to remove the infected plants and destroy them. Do not plant in the same spot until the soil has been allowed to dry out and has been treated with a fungicide.
Learn More About the Stem rot more
Low light
Low light Low light Low light
A lack of sunlight will cause the stems and leaves to elongate and appear lighter in color.
Solutions: Low light can only be addressed by increasing light availability, and these measures will only stop further etoliation; current distortion cannot be reversed. Move plant to a position where it receives more light. Check the requirements for specific species, as too much sunlight can cause a plant to burn. Introduce appropriate artificial lighting. Some people choose to prune the longest stems so the plant can concentrate on healthy new growth under the improved lighting.
Learn More About the Low light more
icon
Treat and prevent plant diseases.
AI-powered plant doctor helps you diagnose plant problems in seconds.
Download the App
close
plant poor
Aphids
Overview
Symptom
Causes
Treatment
Prevention
Active Period
What is Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
What is Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
Aphids is a plant disease that significantly affects the Prickly pear, primarily causing distorted growth, yellowing leaves, and a decrease in overall health. High infestations can lead to severe damage, leading to the plant's death.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Aphids infestation in Prickly pear causes curled and yellow leaves, stunted growth, and wilted plants. In severe cases, Aphids produce a sticky substance known as honeydew, promoting the growth of sooty mold.
What Causes Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
What Causes Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Insects
Aphids, small sap-sucking bugs usually found on the undersides of the plant's leaves or stems.
2
Environmental Factors
Favorable conditions such as a mild climate facilitate the fast reproduction of Aphids.
How to Treat Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
How to Treat Aphids Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Non pesticide
Handpick: Regularly check Prickly pear for Aphids and remove them by hand or with a blast of water.

Predatory Insects: Introduce natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings to control the Aphid population.
2
Pesticide
Insecticidal Soap: Spray the plant with a mild solution of insecticidal soap, covering all leaf surfaces.

Synthetic Pesticides: Use them sparingly and as a last resort, as they can kill beneficial insects too.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants
unlimited guides at your fingertips...
close
plant poor
stem brown spot
Overview
Symptom
Causes
Treatment
Prevention
Active Period
What is stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
What is stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
Brown spot is a serious fungal disease affecting Prickly pear, causing significant damage to its growth and productivity. The disease, triggered by the pathogen 'Cercospora opuntiae', results in the formation of widespread reddish-brown lesions on the plant's pads and fruits. It's highly infectious and moderate in lethality.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Affected Prickly pear exhibits several symptoms, crucially the development of clearly visible reddish-brown necrotic spots on the pads and fruits. Eventually, these spots coalesce into larger lesions, severely impacting the plant's health. New growth can also be affected, hampering the plant's productivity.
What Causes stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
What Causes stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Fungus
The pathogen causing Brown spot is the fungus 'Cercospora opuntiae', which targets plants in the family Cactaceae, primarily Prickly pear.
2
Environmental Factors
Conditions of high humidity and temperature foster the growth and spread of this fungus.
How to Treat stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
How to Treat stem brown spot Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Non pesticide
Sanitation: Regular removal and disposal of infected parts and fallen debris from Prickly pear can significantly reduce fungal populations.

Crop Rotation: Alternating crops can break the lifecycle of the fungus, limiting its spread.
2
Pesticide
Fungicides: Apply suitable fungicides like Chlorothalonil or Mancozeb, following product guidelines. It's advisable to consult a professional for the appropriate solution and its correct usage.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants
unlimited guides at your fingertips...
close
plant poor
Mealybugs
Overview
Symptom
Causes
Treatment
Prevention
Active Period
What is Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
What is Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
Mealybugs are destructive pests impacting Prickly pear, manifesting as cotton-like white masses on the plant's parts. They suck the plant's juices, causing yellowing, leaf drop, and potentially plant death if not managed effectively.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Key symptoms in Prickly pear include a cotton-like white substance on plant parts, yellowing of leaves, premature leaf drop, stunted growth, and in severe cases, the death of the plant.
What Causes Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
What Causes Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Pests
Mealybugs are insects that feed on the plant's juices.
2
Environmental Factors
Overwatering, high humidity, and poor ventilation can contribute to mealybug infestations.
How to Treat Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
How to Treat Mealybugs Disease on Prickly pear?
1
Non pesticide
Isolation: Infected plants should be separated from healthy ones to prevent mealybug spread.

Manual Removal: Mealybugs can be physically removed using a soft, damp cloth or cotton swabs.

Predators: Introducing natural predators like ladybugs can assist in mealybug control.
2
Pesticide
Insecticidal Soap: Non-toxic soaps can be used to control mealybugs.

Systemic Insecticides: They are absorbed by the plant and can kill mealybugs when they feed.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants
unlimited guides at your fingertips...
close
Scars
plant poor
Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Scars form when the plant repairs wounds. They can be the result of people or pets passing by and scraping the plant. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the plant will heal but a scar may remain.
Pests and pathogens can also cause scarring. Insects may attack the plant for a meal, resulting in extensive scarring when a few invaders turn into an infestation. Diseases such as fungus and bacteria can weaken the plant, causing brown spots, mushy areas, or blisters that lead to scars.
Scars occur on stems when a leaf or bud has been lost and the plant has healed. The harder tissue is like a scab that protects a wound.
On other occasions, scars can signal problems from environmental conditions, such as overexposure to sunlight or heat. It might surprise you to know that plants can suffer from sunburn, even desert dwellers like cactus!
Solutions
Solutions
Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover.
  1. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes.
  2. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray.
  3. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs.
  4. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Prevention
Prevention
Preventing some sources of scarring is easier than others, but all start with careful attention to your plants once you decide to bring them home.
  1. Review specific guidelines for your plant, including soil drainage, watering, and fertilizer requirements.
  2. Inspect plants before planting and use sterile pots and fresh potting soil or media to limit transfer of fungi or bacteria.
  3. Once established, check your plants regularly for signs of scarring or the presence of pests, as it is better to catch problems as early as possible.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants
unlimited guides at your fingertips...
close
Stem rot
plant poor
Stem rot
Bacterial infection can cause the stems to become soft and rotten.
Overview
Overview
Stem rot is a serious disease and can affect many different types of plants. it can be particularly prevalent when the temperature of the soil is over 16 ℃ and there's a lot of moisture in the soil. This could be from unusually heavy rainfalls or too much irrigation. Once stem rot sets in, it's very difficult to get rid of the disease and most affected plants will have to be discarded. This is especially the case for vegetables, herbs, and other herbaceous plants that have soft stems. This is why it's important to ensure that the soil used for growing these plants is well-drained and that overwatering is avoided. Using good cultural practices also help in curbing these types of fungal diseases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Plants that have been affected by stem rot will first display a yellowing of the lower leaves. This is followed by obvious wilting and stunted growth.
If the stem of the affected plant is examined closely, there will be some dark discolorations starting near the base and moving upward. If the roots of affected plants are examined, they will appear dark and mushy instead of white and healthy-looking. Eventually, the entire plant will wilt and die.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Stem rot is caused by a variety of soil-borne fungus pathogens. The type of fungus depends on the species of plant that is affected. Two fungi responsible for stem rot are Rhizoctonia and Fusarium. These fungal pathogens live in soil and migrate to the plant when conditions are optimum. This includes warm, humid weather and excessive soil moisture. Commonly, vegetable seedlings are affected by these fungi.
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is another fungus that causes stem rot in plants. This fungus has a host range of over 350 different species of plants. Plants most susceptible to this fungus include many vegetable varieties such as cucumbers, beans, cilantro, carrots, cabbage, melons, lettuce, peas, onions, tomatoes, pumpkins, and squash. This fungus can produce different symptoms in different species. In some cases, the fungus causes irregular spots on stems and other plant material that appear water-soaked. On other plant species, the fungus appears as dry lesions that grow and girdle the stem of the plant.
The third type of fungus that causes stem rot is Phytophthora capsici. Plants that belong to the cucumber family are most susceptible to this fungal infection. This fungus manifests as water-soaked lesions on the stems that then turn brown and girdle the stem.
All of these fungal pathogens are transmitted to the plant by water splashing from the soil up onto the plant. That's because the fungal spores live in the soil where they wait for the right conditions to infect the plants.
Solutions
Solutions
If the plant is only infected a little, it can sometimes be saved. This mainly applies to houseplants that are grown in pots. Here's what to do.
  1. Remove the plant from the pot and gently shake off as much soil as possible.
  2. Using pruning tools that have been disinfected, remove any diseased foliage and roots.
  3. Be sure the new pot has good drainage holes and wash it with one part bleach and nine parts water to ensure that it is completely clean and sanitized.
  4. Dip the plant's roots in fungicide to kill off any remaining fungal spores before potting into the clean growing medium.
  5. Only water the plant when the top inch of the soil is dry and never let the plant sit in water.
For plants that are grown in the ground, it's best just to remove the infected plants and destroy them. Do not plant in the same spot until the soil has been allowed to dry out and has been treated with a fungicide.
Prevention
Prevention
For outdoor gardens:
  1. Raking the garden thoroughly in the springtime will help to cut down on pathogens that may be living in the soil.
  2. Using a copper fungicide on plants in the springtime will cut down on fungal growth and prevent the spread of infection.
  3. Placing a heavy layer of mulch on top of the soil will also prevent pathogens from splashing up onto the stems of plants.
  4. Place plants at the recommended spacing to encourage better air flow between them.
  5. Water plants at the base instead of overhead to prevent excessive moisture on foliage.
For indoor plants:
  1. Avoid overwatering houseplants and ensure the roots do not sit in water.
  2. Make sure that indoor plants receive adequate air circulation and light.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants
unlimited guides at your fingertips...
close
Low light
plant poor
Low light
A lack of sunlight will cause the stems and leaves to elongate and appear lighter in color.
Overview
Overview
All plants require light, and if they do not receive it in the quantities that they require this distorts their growth in a process known as etiolation. In essence, etiolated plants are diverting all of their energy to growing taller in a desperate attempt to reach a position where they can meet their light requirements. Many other growth factors are harmed by this, and so light-deprived plants can become weak and distorted until they are almost unrecognizable. Low light symptoms are most commonly seen in houseplants, but outdoor specimens can also be affected.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Although symptoms will vary in different plants, the general symptoms of low light are easy to spot.
  1. Plant stems grow tall and lanky.
  2. There are less leaves, and both leaves and stems tend to be pale and insipid looking. This is due to a shortage of chlorophyll.
  3. All plant parts become weakened and may droop, as energy is diverted toward too-fast growth as the plant stretches itself toward any source of light.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Plants need sunlight in varying amounts for photosynthesis – a process that produces energy for growth and fruit and flower production. Low light causes a plant to divert all energy to upward (apical) growth in order to find better light. Plant hormones called auxins are transported from the actively-growing tip of the plant downwards, to suppress lateral growth. A drop in cellular pH triggers expansins, nonenzymatic cell wall proteins, to loosen cell walls and allow them to elongate. This elongation results in the abnormal lengthening of stems, especially internodes, or plant "legginess" which is observed in etoliated plants.
Solutions
Solutions
Low light can only be addressed by increasing light availability, and these measures will only stop further etoliation; current distortion cannot be reversed.
  • Move plant to a position where it receives more light. Check the requirements for specific species, as too much sunlight can cause a plant to burn.
  • Introduce appropriate artificial lighting.
  • Some people choose to prune the longest stems so the plant can concentrate on healthy new growth under the improved lighting.
Prevention
Prevention
To avoid etiolation, provide an adequate amount of light from the beginning.
  1. Choose a location that matches each plant's ideal light needs. Many indoor plants do best in or near a south-facing window, which will provide the longest hours of sunlight. Flowering plants and those with colored leaves typically need more light than purely-green plants, as photosynthesis occurs in the green portions of leaves.
  2. Select plants with light needs that match a location's conditions. Some cultivars and varieties require less light than others.
  3. Use a grow light. Darker locations may require artificial illumination. A grow light may also become more necessary during winter, when sunlit hours are at their shortest.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants
unlimited guides at your fingertips...
distribution

Distribution of Prickly pear

Habitat of Prickly pear

Dry arid and rocky places
Northern Hemisphere
South Hemisphere

Distribution Map of Prickly pear

distribution map
Native
Cultivated
Invasive
Potentially invasive
Exotic
No species reported
plant_info

Plants Related to Prickly pear

product icon close
Your Ultimate Guide to Plants
Identify grow and nurture the better way!
product icon
17,000 local species +400,000 global species studied
product icon
Nearly 5 years of research
product icon
80+ scholars in botany and gardening
ad
product icon close
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants
unlimited guides at your fingertips...
Lighting
close
Indoor
Indoor
Outdoor
Choose a site here for personalized care tips.
Requirements
Full sun
Ideal
Above 6 hours sunlight
Partial sun
Tolerance
About 3-6 hours sunlight
Watch how sunlight gracefully moves through your garden, and choose spots that provide the perfect balance of light and shade for your plants, ensuring their happiness.
Essentials
The prickly pear thrives best when exposed to ample amounts of sunlight, enabling it to blossom prolifically and maintain vigorous growth. Originating from environments rich in sunlight, it can also tolerate lesser light exposure. However, both extremes - too little or too much sun, could impair the plant's health, hindering optimum growth and vitality.
Preferred
Tolerable
Unsuitable
icon
Know the light your plants really get.
Find the best spots for them to optimize their health, simply using your phone.
Download the App
Artificial lighting
Indoor plants require adequate lighting for optimal growth. When natural sunlight is insufficient, particularly in winter or in less sunny spaces, artificial lights offer a vital solution, promoting faster, healthier growth.
View more
Indoor plants require adequate lighting for optimal growth. When natural sunlight is insufficient, particularly in winter or in less sunny spaces, artificial lights offer a vital solution, promoting faster, healthier growth.
1. Choose the right type of artificial light: LED lights are a popular choice for indoor plant lighting because they can be customized to provide the specific wavelengths of light that your plants need.
Full sun plants need 30-50W/sq ft of artificial light, partial sun plants need 20-30W/sq ft, and full shade plants need 10-20W/sq ft.
2. Determine the appropriate distance: Place the light source 12-36 inches above the plant to mimic natural sunlight.
3. Determine the duration: Mimic the length of natural daylight hours for your plant species. most plants need 8-12 hours of light per day.
Important Symptoms
Insufficient light
Prickly pear is a beloved choice for indoor gardening, and they require strong light to thrive. However, when placed in rooms with suboptimal lighting, they may develop symptoms of light deficiency.
View more
(Symptom details and solutions)
Leggy or sparse growth
The spaces between leaves or stems of your prickly pear may become longer, resulting in a thin and stretched-out appearance. This can make the plant look sparse and weak, and it may easily break or lean due to its own weight.
Impact on flowering and fruiting
Your plant may not show obvious abnormalities due to insufficient sunlight, but it can have adverse effects on future flowering and fruiting.
Solutions
1. To ensure optimal growth, gradually move plants to a sunnier location each week, until they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Use a south-facing window and keep curtains open during the day for maximum sunlight exposure and nutrient accumulation.2. To provide additional light for your plant, consider using artificial light if it's large or not easily movable. Keep a desk or ceiling lamp on for at least 8 hours daily, or invest in professional plant grow lights for ample light.
Excessive light
Prickly pear require strong light to thrive, and some are remarkably resilient to sun exposure, rarely suffering from sunburn.
View more
(Symptom details and solutions)
Chlorosis
Chlorosis is a condition where the plant's leaves lose their green color and turn yellow. This is due to the breakdown of chlorophyll from excessive sunlight, which negatively affects the plant's ability to photosynthesize.
Sunscald
Sunscald occurs when the plant's leaves or stems are damaged by intense sunlight exposure. It appears as pale, bleached, or necrotic areas on the plant tissue and can reduce the plant's overall health.
Leaf Curling
Leaf curling is a symptom where leaves curl or twist under extreme sunlight conditions. This is a defense mechanism used by the plant to reduce its surface area exposed to sunlight, minimizing water loss and damage.
Wilting
Wilting occurs when a plant loses turgor pressure and its leaves and stems begin to droop. Overexposure to sunlight can cause wilting by increasing the plant's water loss through transpiration, making it difficult for the plant to maintain adequate hydration.
Leaf Scorching
Leaf scorching is a symptom characterized by the appearance of brown, dry, and crispy edges or patches on leaves due to excessive sunlight. This can lead to a reduction in photosynthetic capacity and overall plant health.
Solutions
1. Move your plant to the optimal position where it can receive abundant sunlight but also have some shade. An east-facing window is an ideal choice as the morning sunlight is gentler. This way, your plant can enjoy ample sunlight while reducing the risk of sunburn.2. It is recommended to trim off any completely dehydrated or withered parts of the plant.
Discover information about plant diseases, toxicity, weed control and more.
Temperature
close
Indoor
Indoor
Outdoor
Choose a site here for personalized care tips.
Requirements
Ideal
Tolerable
Unsuitable
Just like people, each plant has its own preferences. Learn about your plants' temperature needs and create a comforting environment for them to flourish. As you care for your plants, your bond with them will deepen. Trust your intuition as you learn about their temperature needs, celebrating the journey you share. Lovingly monitor the temperature around your plants and adjust their environment as needed. A thermometer can be your ally in this heartfelt endeavor. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you explore your plants' temperature needs. Cherish your successes, learn from challenges, and nurture your garden with love, creating a haven that reflects the warmth of your care.
Essentials
The native growth environment related to prickly pear temperature requirements is temperate regions with mild winters and hot summers. The plant prefers a temperature range of 59 to 100 ℉ (15 to 38 ℃). In winter, the plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 ℉ (-6.7 ℃) if kept dry. During summer, it is essential to provide some shade to prevent overheating. In spring and fall, the plant can adjust to temperatures ranging from 40 to 80 ℉ (4.4 to 26.7 ℃).
Regional wintering strategies
Prickly pear is a heat-loving plant that gradually stops growing and enters a dormant state during the winter. When the outdoor temperature drops below {Tolerable_growing_temperature_min}, it should be moved indoors for cultivation. Choose a location near a south-facing window to provide as much sunlight as possible. If there is insufficient natural light, supplemental lighting can be used. When the temperature falls below {Suitable_growth_temperature_min}, the plant's growth slows down, and watering should be reduced or stopped to prevent root rot. For Prickly pear grown outdoors, watering should be completely halted during low temperatures. If feasible, you can set up a temporary greenhouse for insulation or use materials such as plastic film or fabric to wrap the plant during cold temperatures.
Important Symptoms
Low Temperature
Prickly pear thrives in high temperatures and is not tolerant of low temperatures. It grows best when the temperature is above {Suitable_growth_temperature_min}. During winter, it should be kept above {Tolerable_growing_temperature_min}. When the temperature falls below {Limit_growth_temperature}, the plant may become weak, wilt, and be prone to root rot. In cases of mild frost damage, there may not be any initial symptoms, but after a week, the plant will gradually wither.
Solutions
Trim off the frostbitten areas, paying attention to whether the roots have rotted. If the roots have rotted, they need to be cut off, and the plant can be propagated through cuttings. Immediately move indoors to a warm environment and place the plant near a south-facing window to ensure ample sunlight. If there is insufficient light, you can use supplemental lighting.
High Temperature
During summer, Prickly pear should be kept below {Suitable_growth_temperature_max}. When the temperature exceeds {Tolerable_growing_temperature_max}, the plant's growth will cease, it will experience water loss, wilting, and becomes more susceptible to sunburn.
Solutions
Remove the sunburned and rotten parts. Shield the plant from afternoon sunlight until it recovers and starts growing again. For plants with root rot, stop watering until new roots begin to emerge.
Discover information about plant diseases, toxicity, weed control and more.
Transplant
close
How to Successfully Transplant Prickly Pear?
The best time to transplant prickly pear is during late spring to mid-summer, as it allows for optimal root establishment. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Remember to handle it gently to avoid injury to the plant. Happy transplanting!
What Preparations are Needed Before Transplanting Prickly Pear?
What is the Ideal Time for Transplanting Prickly Pear?
The best season for transplanting prickly pear is from the latter stages of spring until the midst of summer. By relocating it during this period, the cactus has enough time to establish strong roots before cooler weather sets in, giving it the best chance of survival. This timing also aligns with prickly pear's natural growth period, hence encouraging quicker rebound from any transplantation shock. Your friendly reminder is this - treat your prickly pear with a timely move, ensuring its healthy growth and longevity.
How Much Space Should You Leave Between Prickly Pear Plants?
When transplanting your prickly pear, be sure to space them about 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) apart. This will give them plenty of room to grow and spread out, ensuring healthy growth.
What is the Best Soil Mix for Prickly Pear Transplanting?
For your prickly pear, well-draining soil rich in organic matter is best. Prepare the soil by incorporating a mix of compost or well-rotted manure. A base fertilizer like slow-release granular 10-10-10 can also be added to kickstart growth.
Where Should You Relocate Your Prickly Pear?
Your prickly pear loves sunlight, so choose a location in your garden that receives full sun to part shade. At least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day will help your prickly pear thrive in its new home.
What Equipments Should You Prepare Before Transplantation Prickly Pear?
Gardening Gloves
Essential to protect your hands from the thorns on the opuntia plant, as well as from any soil or dirt.
Shovel or Spade
Used to dig the plant out of the ground or pot, and also to prepare the new location for transplant.
Gardening Trowel
This handy tool helps in digging a suitable hole for the plant at the new site.
Pruners
To prune any unhealthy or dead parts of the plant before transplanting.
Wheelbarrow
Useful for transporting the plant from the original location to the new site if the plant is large or heavy.
Hose or Watering Can
Necessary for watering the plant post-transplant.
Mulch
This will be used post transplantation to protect the plant from any sudden changes in temperature and retain soil moisture.
How Do You Remove Prickly Pear from the Soil?
From Ground: Initially, its a good idea to water the prickly pear plant to moisten the soil. Following this, dig a wide circle around the plant using your shovel or spade, maintaining adequate distance to avoid injuring the roots. Then, carefully slide the spade beneath the root ball and gently lift the plant without causing any root damage. If the plant is large, use a wheelbarrow for transportation.
From a Pot: If the plant is in a pot, first turn the pot sideways and while supporting the plant with your hand, gently tap the rim of the pot on a hard surface until the plant along with the soil comes out of the pot. Always avoid yanking the plant out as it might harm the roots.
From a Seedling Tray: If your prickly pear is still a seedling, excavate it by pushing up from the bottom of the cell or lightly tug it out by the leaves, taking utmost care to avoid root damage.
Step-by-Step Guide for Transplanting Prickly Pear
Step1 Assess the prickly pear Plant
Check the plant for any signs of disease or pests, and prune any unhealthy or dead branches, leaves or portions of the plant before transplantation using the pruners.
Step2 Prepare the New Site
Using a shovel or spade, dig a hole that's wide and deep enough for the root ball, but make sure not to make the hole too deep; the base of the prickly pear should sit level with or slightly above the surrounding ground to prevent waterlogging.
Step3 Transplant the prickly pear
Carefully place the prickly pear in the hole, ensuring it's standing vertically. Fill in the hole with the removed soil, pressing it firmly around the base of the plant.
Step4 Mulch and Water
Once positioned, spread a layer of mulch around the base of the prickly pear. Water your prickly pear thoroughly.
How Do You Care For Prickly Pear After Transplanting?
Watering
Even though prickly pear is a drought-tolerant plant, it's essential to irrigate it adequately for the first few weeks until it gets established. Make sure to water deeply and then let the top inch or so of soil dry out between watering.
Inspection
Keep an eye on your transplanted prickly pear to identify any changes or signs of distress in the initial few weeks. Yellowing leaves could mean the plant is getting too much water, while wilting could signal it's not getting enough.
Pruning
Occasional pruning can promote greater branching. Remove dead or wilted parts as they occur.
Protection
Protect prickly pear from extreme cold weather, and wind, especially during its first winter. You can use a cloth or a frost blanket for protection.
Troubleshooting Common Issues with Prickly Pear Transplantation.
When is the optimal time to transplant prickly pear?
The perfect time to transplant prickly pear is between the settings of the late spring and mid-summer sun.
What is the ideal distance to maintain between each prickly pear during transplantation?
For optimal growth, ensure each prickly pear has a personal space radius of about 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters).
What should I do if the prickly pear isn’t thriving after transplantation?
Focus on providing adequate watering without overdoing it, and ensure it gets full sun. Checking for pests or diseases is also important.
What size should the planting hole be for prickly pear?
The hole should be large enough to accommodate the full root ball of prickly pear comfortably, approximately twice the size of the original pot.
What type of soil is best for the prickly pear?
Prickly pear enjoys well-draining soil, with a sand or gravel component for optimal drainage.
Do I need to prune prickly pear after transplanting?
If the prickly pear was damaged during transplanting, it's helpful to snip off the damaged areas. Otherwise, regular pruning isn't mandatory.
What’s the best way to water prickly pear after transplanting?
Water the prickly pear deeply but infrequently. Save the watering for when the soil is dry to the touch.
Why are the leaves of my prickly pear turning yellow after transplant?
Yellowing leaves could indicate overwatering. Reduce the frequency of watering and see if conditions improve.
How should I prepare prickly pear for transplanting?
Ahead of transplanting, water prickly pear thoroughly in its original container. This prepares it for the transition and minimizes shock.
Why is my recently transplanted prickly pear drooping?
Drooping is common in newly transplanted plants due to shock. Give it some time to adapt to its new environment, ensuring it gets enough light, water, and nutrients.
Discover information about plant diseases, toxicity, weed control and more.
Cookie Management Tool
In addition to managing cookies through your browser or device, you can change your cookie settings below.
Necessary Cookies
Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.
Analytical Cookies
Analytical cookies help us to improve our application/website by collecting and reporting information on its usage.
Cookie Name Source Purpose Lifespan
_ga Google Analytics These cookies are set because of our use of Google Analytics. They are used to collect information about your use of our application/website. The cookies collect specific information, such as your IP address, data related to your device and other information about your use of the application/website. Please note that the data processing is essentially carried out by Google LLC and Google may use your data collected by the cookies for own purposes, e.g. profiling and will combine it with other data such as your Google Account. For more information about how Google processes your data and Google’s approach to privacy as well as implemented safeguards for your data, please see here. 1 Year
_pta PictureThis Analytics We use these cookies to collect information about how you use our site, monitor site performance, and improve our site performance, our services, and your experience. 1 Year
Cookie Name
_ga
Source
Google Analytics
Purpose
These cookies are set because of our use of Google Analytics. They are used to collect information about your use of our application/website. The cookies collect specific information, such as your IP address, data related to your device and other information about your use of the application/website. Please note that the data processing is essentially carried out by Google LLC and Google may use your data collected by the cookies for own purposes, e.g. profiling and will combine it with other data such as your Google Account. For more information about how Google processes your data and Google’s approach to privacy as well as implemented safeguards for your data, please see here.
Lifespan
1 Year

Cookie Name
_pta
Source
PictureThis Analytics
Purpose
We use these cookies to collect information about how you use our site, monitor site performance, and improve our site performance, our services, and your experience.
Lifespan
1 Year
Marketing Cookies
Marketing cookies are used by advertising companies to serve ads that are relevant to your interests.
Cookie Name Source Purpose Lifespan
_fbp Facebook Pixel A conversion pixel tracking that we use for retargeting campaigns. Learn more here. 1 Year
_adj Adjust This cookie provides mobile analytics and attribution services that enable us to measure and analyze the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, certain events and actions within the Application. Learn more here. 1 Year
Cookie Name
_fbp
Source
Facebook Pixel
Purpose
A conversion pixel tracking that we use for retargeting campaigns. Learn more here.
Lifespan
1 Year

Cookie Name
_adj
Source
Adjust
Purpose
This cookie provides mobile analytics and attribution services that enable us to measure and analyze the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, certain events and actions within the Application. Learn more here.
Lifespan
1 Year
This page looks better in the app
Open