Rooting Opuntia cactus pieces

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by Georgia Strait, Jun 24, 2021.

Tags:
  1. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

    Messages:
    1,784
    Likes Received:
    621
    Location:
    South Okanagan & Greater Vancouver, BC Canada
    @pmurphy and @Margot

    I can’t recall exactly who posted their garden tour that included opuntia

    A neighbor gave me some broken pieces

    (Flat like prickly pear)

    I have not got around to putting them in well-drained container soil

    Meanwhile in the few weeks on the bench - they have sprouted little “roots” (or are these new prickles?)

    I have a terra cotta pot but I would prefer a plastic pot that looks like terra cotta— and cactus soil (commercial)

    The person who gave me the pieces is experienced gardener and takes these tender plants in to cool basement for winter at coast.

    Any advice ?

    I attached photos taken this morning

    The pieces are each approx 4”

    And the little “roots” are approx 3/8 inch long.

    The blue glazed terra cotta pot in background is approx 4” plus size

    Thank you
     

    Attached Files:

  2. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    731
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    It appears to be putting out roots. You could take those pads and place them flat with the roots down in the potting soil and they will continue to sprout.
     
    Margot and Georgia Strait like this.
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

    Messages:
    1,784
    Likes Received:
    621
    Location:
    South Okanagan & Greater Vancouver, BC Canada
    Thank you for your help

    The person who gave it to me has a very large terra cotta pot for his opuntia

    (Maybe 4 gallons)

    Do you think ok to plant this in a plastic pot ?

    I realize this is a longterm commitment

    I assume yours is in a pot ? (So you can move it inside to your frostfree green house in winter )
     
    pmurphy likes this.
  4. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    731
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    My opuntia are planted outside in my covered Garden - a little colder in the winter and hotter in the summer but mainly they keep dry during the winter - which is the important thing - to prevent rotting.

    I've even grown Opuntia ficus-indica (from store bought cactus fruit) from seed and they survived with no issues outside (in the "Garden") when only 2 - 3" tall. Anything in the Garden gets ignored once I shut it down in late Fall until early early Spring - I mulch a few tender plants (Persian violets and protea) then close the sliding screen door and hang an old sheet over the door to cut any winds. And I've found that the Garden will actually get colder than the outside winter temperatures at night (I have a remote thermometer inside to record temps.), easily dipping 2 - 3 degrees lower. Come March I will remove the sheet and open the screen so that my nectarine and apricot can be pollinated by bees. So any plants in the Garden get no care or water from me for as much as 5 months but they can get ground water.

    My little ficus-indica are still in little plastic 2" seedling pots but as they have doubled in size since last year will have to be up-potted before winter of this year.

    As for hardiness, it depends upon the variety of opuntia, but I find they tend to be hardier than most people think....our native Opuntia fragilis lives nicely throughout the interior and into the Cascades, I'm sure you've seen cactus growing in your neck of the woods?

    FYI, one of the easiest ways to handle cacti is with cooking tongs :)
     
    Georgia Strait likes this.
  5. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    I often find broken-off Opuntia fragilis pads growing in my garden up, down and sideways. Literally, any part of the pad that touches the soil will sprout roots.

    If your cactus is O. fragilis, here's a tip . . . plant several pads in a fairly large container (I don't think it matters whether it's plastic or not) so that, as the pads chains grow longer, they can support one another. That is important because they have to be 3 pads long before they will begin to bloom. What often happens if the pads don't support one another is that - being fragile - they break off. Growing thickly helps prevent that breakage. I hope this makes sense.

    Opuntia fragilis 05-02 2021.JPG Opuntia fragilis - native in Margot's garden.JPG Opuntia fragilis 12-06-2021.JPG
     
    Georgia Strait likes this.
  6. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

    Messages:
    1,784
    Likes Received:
    621
    Location:
    South Okanagan & Greater Vancouver, BC Canada
    Very interesting
    And why is it a couple of degrees colder just before the sunrise :)
    (I have googled many times - read articles - does not stick between my ears !)

    In any event - thank you

    YES - the best and most convenient public patch to admire is in the NE rural area of Penticton (Naramata Bench) on the rail trail (Kettle Valley Rail trail) where Sutherland Road crosses “the grade” (map attached)

    The “pads” are small bantam chicken egg-shape in terms of
    1. Size (width and length and thickness)
    2. Shape

    Tho slightly flatter than an egg

    They grow in a sprawl versus the tall (cholla) cacti one might observe in Tucson — the habit on the KVR reminds me of how hen and chicks plant sprawls across rockery gravel at the coast.

    They have very sharp thorns on the typical pale green cactus skin

    Flowers are pretty, pale yellow similar color and form to @Margot post above.

    They grow in level spot of soft gravel on side of old rail bed

    If not in bloom - these little warriors are not clearly evident as they grow amongst some sort of other volunteers - I am sure they’ve heard more than one cuss word from non abiding off-leash pet walkers (cringe!)
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page