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Care of the plant Opuntia santa-rita or Santa Rita Prickly Pear.

Care of the cactus Opuntia santa-rita or Santa Rita Prickly Pear

The genus Opuntia, family Cactaceae, includes some 300 species of cacti originating in Mexico, the USA and Central and South America. Some species are: Opuntia santa-rita, Opuntia rufida, Opuntia robusta, Opuntia polyacantha, Opuntia microdasys, Opuntia linguiformis, Opuntia leucotricha, Opuntia engelmannii, Opuntia bergeriana, Opuntia ficus-indica, Opuntia durangensis, Opuntia subulata, Opuntia atrispina, Opuntia phaeacantha, Opuntia valida, Opuntia macrocentra, Opuntia chlorotica, Opuntia auberi, Opuntia lindheimeri, Opuntia vestita, Opuntia spinulifera.

Common names: Santa Rita Prickly Pear, Blunt-spined prickly pear, Long-spined prickly pear, Purple prickly pear, Santa Rita candle cactus, Violet prickly pear. This species is native to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Sonora.

They are branched cacti with a bushy bearing that reach 2 meters (6.56 feet) in height and 3 meters (9.84 feet) in width. They have rounded segments of bluish-green color with purple hues in the areolas (especially in winter) full of glochids and woolly. They may have some thorn in the older areolas. The flowers are deep yellow in color and are very attractive. They bloom from spring to mid-summer. The fruits are edible.

They are used in rockeries, in dry areas of the garden, in cactus and succulent gardens and in pots for patios, terraces, greenhouses and in brightly lit interiors.

Opuntia santa-rita grows in direct sun or light shade exposures. Indoors it needs several hours of direct sun. They resist frost down to -8 ºC (17.6 ºF) if the substrate is dry.

The soil can be a commercial cactus substrate with 20% gravel. Transplant every 2 years in spring to renew the substrate.

Water regularly in spring and summer always waiting for the soil to be dry. In mid-autumn stop watering until next spring.

Fertilize once with mineral cactus fertilizer in early spring.

They do not need pruning.

They are plants sensitive to rot caused by excessive humidity.

They are easily propagated from the rooting of segments in a sandy substrate. It can also be made from previously scarified seeds.

Images of the cactus Opuntia santa-rita or Santa Rita Prickly Pear

Opuntia santa-rita
Opuntia santa-rita
Opuntia santa-rita
Opuntia santa-rita
Opuntia santa-rita