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Care of the cactus Opuntia macrocentra or Purple prickly pear.

Care of the cactus Opuntia macrocentra or Purple prickly pear

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

Common names: Purple prickly pear, Black spined pricklypear, Violet prickly pear, Golden spied prickly pear, Redeye prickly pear, Long-spined prickly pear. This species is native to northern Mexico and southwestern USA.

They are extended shrubby cactus that reach 1 meter (3.28 feet) high and 3 meters (9.83 feet) wide. The fleshy oblong segments up to 20 cm (7.87") in length are bluish green and become purple in winter or if they suffer intense drought. The areolas provided diagonally have cinnamon color and 1 to 3 long white or reddish brown spines. Yellow flowers with the red center measure 7 cm (2.75") in diameter. They bloom from mid -spring to the beginning of summer. They produce red or purple edible ovoid fruits.

They are used in Rocallas, in cacti gardens, as isolated specimens, on dry and sunny slopes and in pots for patios and terraces.

Opuntia Macrocentra needs an exposure of full or semi -shade and a warm and dry climate. Although frost resists up to -8 ºC (17.6 ºF) it is better not to expose it at temperatures below 0 ºC (32 ºF).

The soil can be a commercial substrate for cactus with 20% thick sand or a mixture, in equal parts, siliceous sand and leaf mantillo. If grown in a pot, it must be transplanted every 2 years to renew the substrate.

Always water in a moderate way waiting for the substrate to have dried completely. They resist drought very well.

They do not need fertilizer.

Prune the dry segments in early spring.

They are quite resistant plants to the usual pests and diseases but very sensitive to excess moisture.

They propagate through segment and stem cuttings and from seeds, previously scarified, planted in spring.

Images of the cactus Opuntia macrocentra or Purple prickly pear

Opuntia macrocentra
Opuntia macrocentra
Opuntia macrocentra
Opuntia macrocentra
Opuntia macrocentra
Opuntia macrocentra