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Care of the plant Opuntia leucotricha or Semaphore cactus.

Care of the cactus Opuntia leucotricha or Semaphore cactus

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 leucotricha, Opuntia engelmannii, Opuntia bergeriana, Opuntia santa-rita, Opuntia rufida, Opuntia robusta, Opuntia microdasys, Opuntia linguiformis, Opuntia ficus-indica, Opuntia valida, Opuntia macrocentra, Opuntia chlorotica, Opuntia durangensis, Opuntia subulata, Opuntia polyacantha, Opuntia atrispina, Opuntia auberi, Opuntia lindheimeri, Opuntia vestita, Opuntia spinulifera.

Common names: Semaphore cactus, Arborescent pricklypear, Aaron's beard. Scientific synonyms: Opuntia leucacantha, Consolea leucacantha. This species is native to central Mexico.

They are branched cacti of arboreal or shrubby bearing that have a very thorny trunk and reach 5 meters (16.4 feet) in height. They have oval green segments and a velvety appearance (they are covered with very short grayish hairs). The areolas are white and the glochids are yellowish with flexible white spines that almost cover the segments. The flowers are deep yellow and bloom in summer. Produces edible fruits.

They are used to form impenetrable barriers, as isolated specimens, on rockeries, on slopes, and in cactus and succulent gardens.

Opuntia leucotricha needs full sun exposure; young plants prefer light shade. They do not resist frost; the temperature should not be less than 6 ºC (42.8 ºF).

They can grow in any well-drained soil that contains a little organic matter. Use a mixture, in equal parts, of coarse sand and leaf mulch.

Water regularly in spring and summer waiting for the substrate to dry completely. In winter do not water.

Fertilize once with mineral cactus fertilizer in early spring.

They do not need pruning.

They are resistant to the usual pests but sensitive to excess moisture that causes fungal diseases (fungi).

They are propagated by segment cuttings; The seeds take up to 1 month to germinate (soak in hot water for 24 hours).

Images of the cactus Opuntia leucotricha or Semaphore cactus

Opuntia leucotricha
Opuntia leucotricha
Opuntia leucotricha
Opuntia leucotricha
Opuntia leucotricha