General information

How to care for cacti


The mass locus of prickly pears is Mexico, the regions of North and South America, and the West Indies. There are types of prickly pears that were brought to the Mediterranean, Australia, India and even to the south of Russia, where they feel great. Some species of this genus of the cacti family in nature grow up to 5 m in height. Opuntia has succulent, flat stalks dotted with large and small spines. Cactus blooms with beautiful flowers of yellow, orange and red hues. In this article, we learn the peculiarities of the breeding of prickly pears, the types of reproduction and the care of the plant after the procedure.

What time of year is best to propagate the cactus?

Due to its exotic appearance and beautiful colors, prickly pears are very popular in home gardening. Its reproduction is not very difficult, but there are some peculiarities here too.

The ideal time for breeding cactus is spring and summer. Cuttings root easily from May to September, and it is better to sow the seeds in March. If you multiply prickly pears during this period, the difficulties with rooting are quite rare, since small plants are filled with vitality.

But in the winter time, the young process may not settle down, since the winter for cacti is a time of rest. This should be done only in the case of the salvation of prickly pears, if the plant is sick and may die altogether.

Pot material and size

For planting prickly pears no matter what material the pot is made of, any flower vazo will don It should be wide and shallow. The main factor is the mandatory presence of a drainage hole at the bottom of the tank. The hole can be one large (up to 0, 5 mm diameter) or several small ones.

If you plan to install a cactus pot on the furniture and the flow of water is undesirable, then it is necessary to form a thick layer of drainage at the bottom of the pot. The size of the pot depends on the size of the plant. In a large capacity, the cactus will grow roots and grow more slowly.

Composition of the earth

Prickly pear, like all cacti, prefers grainy and loose earth. Such land can be created using sand, vermiculite, gravel. Soil for cacti should pass well water and air and not contain organic fertilizers (manure, bird droppings, etc.), since nitrogen adversely affects the development of these plants.

There is a universal composition of the soil, suitable for prickly pear:

  • 2 parts of clay-sod land not containing plant roots and grass,
  • 2 parts of leaf humus (without knots and twigs),
  • 2 parts of large clean river sand,
  • 1 part, consisting of an equal amount of charcoal and broken brick (finely crushed and dust-free).

At 3, 5 liters of this mixture is useful to add a teaspoon of crushed eggshell or crushed chalk, a handful of fine vermiculite and a teaspoon of superphosphate.

Seed cultivation

The advantage of seed propagation is that plant grown from seed, more viable and stronger. The cactus that emerged from the seed, from birth, adapted to the environment. He does not need to worry about transplantation, get used to the new microclimate and system of care.

The disadvantage of this method is the weak visualization of the emergence of seedlings at the initial stage. Rare species of prickly pears that do not give children and shoots, it is possible to reproduce only by the seed method.

How to select and prepare seeds?

Prickly pear seeds have a very hard shell.therefore, in order for them to be able to sprout, they should be scarified before planting with one of two options:

  1. process a hard shell using sandpaper and pour water for a day,
  2. soak the seeds for a few days.

To disinfect seeds, before sowing, it is necessary to immerse them in a weak solution of manganese for 15-20 minutes.

Step-by-step instruction

When reproduction of prickly pear seeds is necessary:

  1. prepare a container with a diameter of about 10 cm and a height of 3-7 cm with a hole for drainage,
  2. fill the container with sterilized soil mixture (1 part charcoal, 1 part vermiculite and 2 parts leaf humus), not reaching the top edge of the pot 20 mm,
  3. prepared seeds are sown evenly over the surface, sprinkled with a thin layer of soil (5-10 mm),
  4. sprinkle seeding with a spray bottle.

To get successful seedlings for them it is necessary to create favorable conditions:

  • provide bright ambient lighting,
  • monitor soil moistening,
  • to provide a temperature regime suitable for a particular type of opuntia.

The minimum time for seed germination is one month. The percentage of germination of seeds of prickly pear depends on the time and conditions of their storage. More fresh seeds germinate more friendly.

We offer you to watch a video on the reproduction of prickly pears from seeds:

Choosing a place for prickly pear

Choosing a place for cactus, it is necessary to understand that the plant, taking root, must be in one place for quite a long time. Prickly pear feels well on ventilated places, basking in the sun. Cactus is not afraid of frost, but is very susceptible to excess moisture. In summer, the flower accumulates liquid in the leaves, which in the heat allows it to feel good.

Therefore, when choosing a place for prickly pear tree, take care of loose soil or good drainage. Opuntia flower can live in slightly acidic, not particularly rich soil. And if you add sand and small pebbles to it, you will minimize the risk of rotting due to stagnant water. Delightful prickly pear will look at the elevation of your front garden, surrounded by boulders and a variety of colors.

Choosing dishes for planting

There is an opinion that cacti should be planted in wide and shallow (peculiar basins) vessels. The decision is not entirely correct, since many flowers can be planted in such dishes, but because of the small depth the soil will dry out quickly.

For planting prickly pears, you can choose almost any flower pots. The most important factor: you need a hole at the bottom for drainage. This may be several small holes or one about 0.5 cm.

If you want to put a flower on the furniture and do not want the flow of water, you can arrange a drainage of stones at the bottom of the pot. Choosing a pot, you can regulate the growth of a cactus, preventing its roots from growing or vice versa.

Substrate for the prickly pear plant

For planting prickly pears in pots, it is necessary to prepare the soil for it. For seed planting and cuttings, substrates are different. For planting cutting method a drainage layer is laid out on the bottom of the dish, and sand and charcoal are poured on top. Sand before it is desirable to ignite.

Seed planted drainage is also required. Then a mixture of calcined sand, charcoal and compost is prepared. Mixed in a ratio of 1: 1: 2.

Planting, reproduction and transplant of Opuntia plants

Tree cactus can be propagated in two ways: by seeds or cuttings. For planting cactus it is necessary to prepare the soil, which we wrote about above. Opuntia transplantation can occur at any time of the year. The main reason for cactus transplantation is a cramped pot. It is necessary to transplant a prickly pear when the soil dries. For the first two weeks put in the shade a few days to refrain from watering.

With the help of cuttings

Root cuttings of prickly pears should be in the period from spring to mid-summer. Regrown shoots should be carefully separated from the plant, treating the cut sites with crushed coal. Dry the separated cuttings for several days until a thick film is formed at the cut point.

After which the processes are immersed by 2-3 cm in a prepared substrate. The container is covered with a glass lid or film. The temperature in this greenhouse should be about 10 degrees. Maintain moisture in the container by spraying the cuttings from the sprayer. It is also necessary to regularly air the cactus. After the prickly pear root becomes stronger, the flower can be transplanted into pots.

Seed method

When planting seed method first thing you need to prepare the seeds. Cactus seeds are quite solid. You can soften them in two ways: soak in water for several days or process a hard shell with sandpaper. To kill germs, soak the seeds for 15-20 minutes in a weak solution of manganese. Prepared seeds are deepened into the substrate, maintaining a temperature of 20 degrees. Seeds also need airing and moistening. As soon as sprouts appear, the prickly pear should be transplanted into separate pots.

Plant Care

After planting, the question arises: how to care for the cactus? Opuntia is an unpretentious flower and does not require much attention. Provide more light and water as needed, here, in fact, the whole care. Top dressing can be made only during flowering. The inconvenience in the care of the cactus - its spines. They are quite small, it is very difficult to see them. If you have invisible splinters on your hands, ordinary soap and warm water will come to your rescue.

Fertilizer and dressing

Fertilize prickly pear can begin in the spring, continuing to feed all summer. Excellent fertilizer with a low nitrogen content. The breaks between them should be about two weeks. If your soil lacks acidity, then watering can be diluted with water a few drops of lemon juice or citric acid. If you feed the cactus correctly, it will delight you with beautiful and big flowers.

Prickly pear blossoms

At home cultivation prickly pear rarely pleases with its flowering. To achieve flowering at home, it is necessary to ensure optimal conditions for it. After the frost subsides, it is advisable to take the flower to fresh air and sunlight. These two requirements are required for flowering cactus.

Opuntia can bloom from April to September. Buds - up to 10 cm in diameter, most often bright yellow or red. Prickly pear fruits ripen in mid-summer. At first they look like green bumps, increasing in size over time. When ripen, become maroon. When flowering, the prickly pear exudes a very pleasant smell.

Problems in the cultivation of prickly pears

Growing a flat and long cactus, gardener may encounter some problems. If you observe a wrinkled top, and the base of the stem begins to rot, then moderate watering at a low temperature. But if the shape of the stem is irregular, this may be due to lack of sunlight or improper temperature conditions in winter. With a lack of nutrients, the appearance of gains is inhibited.

Pests and prickly pear diseases

Prickly pear - one of the most picky plants. Quite a common disease in cacti - fungus. If dark spots or mold began to appear on the flower, it is necessary to get rid of such a flower, and process the rest with a fungicide.

The prickly pear root may also suffer. If there are slight swellings on the roots, then this is infection by root nematodes. To combat them, it is necessary to remove the bulges and immerse the roots in warm water for 10 minutes, then treat with crushed charcoal and plant in fresh soil.

You can also see aphids on the prickly pear, spider mite or whitefly. All these pests are cleaned with special fungicides. If you provide prickly pears with proper care, many problems can be avoided.