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Opuntia polyacantha (Plains prickly pear)

Beginner
skill rating
1 hour care
per year
0.5m
Max height
1.5m
Max spread
10-20 years
To maturity
Low
Toxicity

Plant details

Botanical name

Opuntia polyacantha

Other names

Opuntia heacockiae, Heacock's prickly pear, Plains prickly pear, Plains prickly-pear, Hairspine cactus, Panhandle pricklypear, Prickly pear cactus

Genus

Opuntia Opuntia

Species

O. polyacantha - O. polyacantha is a compact, clump- or mat-forming, hardy perennial cactus with blue-green stems divided into flattened, fleshy, rounded to broadly ovate, spiny segments. Shallowly bowl-shaped, red, pink, purple-pink, or yellow flowers in summer are followed by ovoid, spiny, light green fruit.


Opuntia polyacantha is: Evergreen

Habit

Mat Forming, Compact, Clump-forming

Toxicity

Plant has spines; use extreme caution when handling.

Flower

Yellow in Spring; Yellow in Summer

Foliage

Grey-green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests

Mealybugs , Scale insects Mealybugs , Scale insects

Diseases

Generally disease-free

General care

Propagation

Soak and then sow at 21C in spring. Root stem segments in summer.

Propagation methods

Seed, Stem segments


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Where to grow

Opuntia polyacantha (Plains prickly pear) will reach a height of 0.5m and a spread of 1.5m after 10-20 years.

Suggested uses

Containers, Drought Tolerant, Gravel, Rock

Cultivation

A hardy cactus, grow in moderately fertile, sharply drained, gritty, humus-rich soil in full sun. Does not tolerate waterlogged soil. Protect from winter wet or overwinter in a cool, dry place. Site away from foot traffic as spines can lodge in skin. Stem segments tend to shrivel in autumn, bulking up again with spring moisture.

Soil type

Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, West

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

We do not currently have companion plants added for this plant.

Botanical name

Opuntia polyacantha

Other names

Opuntia heacockiae, Heacock's prickly pear, Plains prickly pear, Plains prickly-pear, Hairspine cactus, Panhandle pricklypear, Prickly pear cactus

Genus

Opuntia Opuntia

Species

O. polyacantha - O. polyacantha is a compact, clump- or mat-forming, hardy perennial cactus with blue-green stems divided into flattened, fleshy, rounded to broadly ovate, spiny segments. Shallowly bowl-shaped, red, pink, purple-pink, or yellow flowers in summer are followed by ovoid, spiny, light green fruit.

Native to

Southwestern United States

Foliage

Evergreen

Habit

Mat Forming, Compact, Clump-forming

Toxicity

Plant has spines; use extreme caution when handling.


Colour

Flower

Yellow in Spring; Yellow in Summer

Foliage

Grey-green in All seasons


How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests

Mealybugs , Scale insects

Diseases

Generally disease-free

General care

Propagation

Soak and then sow at 21C in spring. Root stem segments in summer.

Propagation methods

Seed, Stem segments


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Opuntia polyacantha (Plains prickly pear) will reach a height of 0.5m and a spread of 1.5m after 10-20 years.

Suggested uses

Containers, Drought Tolerant, Gravel, Rock

Cultivation

A hardy cactus, grow in moderately fertile, sharply drained, gritty, humus-rich soil in full sun. Does not tolerate waterlogged soil. Protect from winter wet or overwinter in a cool, dry place. Site away from foot traffic as spines can lodge in skin. Stem segments tend to shrivel in autumn, bulking up again with spring moisture.

Soil type

Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, West

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 10, Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5, Zone 4, Zone 3

Defra's Risk register #1

Plant name

Opuntia polyacantha (Plains prickly pear)

Common pest name

grape ground pearl

Scientific pest name

Margarodes vitis

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

2

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

5

General biosecurity comments

Main pathway; Vitis spp. plants for planting; already prohibited. However; further consideration of other pathways is required.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read "Don't risk it" advice here

Suspected outbreak? Click here for contact details to report to the relevant authority.

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

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This plant likes... Garden match
Soil types: Loamy, Sandy Tell us...
Soil drainage: Well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: South, West Tell us...
Exposure: Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

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