Cactus - Eastern Prickly Pear (Opuntia Humifusa) Opuntia Cacti Eastern Prickle Pear Cactus
Height 2 to 3 ft
Did you know that there are 3 species of Native Cactus in Canada? And, they are extremely rare, and endangered, and can be found in Western Canada as well as in Ontario, embracing both snow and ice, unaffected by our freezing temperatures!
The Eastern Prickly Pear, is a perennial, low-spreading cactus that has round flat green stems with clusters of barbed bristles and a width of 1 to 4 ft. It produces fascinating yellow flowers with red centres, blooming in June and July. Excellent choice for xeriscaping! Great for containers and rockeries. Great terrarium project for kids.
Note: always wear gloves - the Opuntia cacti has tiny spines (to protect from grazing animals and excessive transpiration), somewhat bothersome - wear gloves when handling.
- Full Sun
- Soil: dry/sand.
- Opuntia is one of the cacti that has a tough seed coat, the hard seed of the prickly pear cactus won't allow gasses or water to enter - they will germinate more quickly if the seed surface is abraded and soaked. To break this dormant state, the seed is scarified: to do this, boil a pot of water, remove it from the stove and soak the seed in it. When the water cools to room temperature, remove the seed. OR, scarify the seed by making a small opening, with sandpaper, a small knife, or your fingernail.
- Soak in lukewarm water for a few days, changing the water daily.
- Mix the soaked seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 60 days before planting. Keep the soil lightly moist until germination.
- OR stratify by placing in soil in the freezer or outdoor cold for 4 to 6 weeks.
- After the completion of these steps, plant your seeds into a moist, well-draining seed starting mix and cover. Do not plant deeply - 1/8 in.
- Spacing: 1 in apart in pots until they are 1 year old; prop up seedling with bits of pumice and keep in same pot for one year. Transplant into single larger pots after one year.
- OR Direct sow in late fall, pressing them into the surface of the soil.
- Germination: 41 days
- Maturity 50 to 55 days
- Harvest: Seeds form in the blooms of the cactus. Remove flowers as they fade and place these in a small paper bag. You’ll find the seeds when the flowers have totally dried up. Keep in a cool dark place or in the fridge until ready to use.
- Seed Count: 5