Opuntia ficus indica " Edible Nopales "
Opuntia ficus indica " Edible Nopales "
(This plant comes in a 3.5" pot. You will receive a very similar plant to the one in the picture. It may or may not be blooming at the time of your purchase. This plant is shipped in its pot to prevent any damage to the roots).
Origin and Habitat: The origin of Opuntia ficus-indica is not known, probably Mexico, where it has been cultivated back to prehistoric times for about 8,000 years.
Cultivation and Propagation: Opuntia ficus-indica is a low maintenance plant that tolerate considerable neglect and will naturalize. Easy to cultivate outdoor in warm dry climates.
Growth rate: it is a relatively fast growing species that can form large clumps just in a few year and fruits can be harvested 3 years after planting.
Repotting: Since they are big-sized plants, they need plenty of space for their roots. Repotting should be done every other year, or when the plant has outgrown its pot. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering Needs: Must be kept fairly dry in winter but likes a reasonable supply of water in the growing season, but do not overwater and allow to dry fully before watering again, tolerate dry condition but suffer if exposed to prolonged and severe drought. A position at the base of a south-facing wall or somewhere that can be protected from winter rain is best for this plant, but is however resistant to moisture and rain. Care must be taken with watering as they tends to become swollen and untidy in growth habit if given too much water and shade.
Fertilization: During the growing season enrich the soil using a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorous, but poor in nitrogen, because this chemical element doesn’t help the development of succulent plants, making them too soft and full of water.
Sun Exposure: Full sun (only), in semi shaded position wont produce many flowers.
Hardiness: Reputedly sensitive to frost, but less so if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather (hardy to -5° C or less for short periods, depending on clone). However some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (minimum 5° to 8°C during rest season). In presence of high atmospheric humidity make sure that Opuntias are not exposed to freezing temperatures, or they may die. Outdoors this plant is very adaptable, as long as you avoid excessive humidity in the winter months (in good drained soils).
Garden uses: Excellent as landscape or patio plant. It is suitable for “desert” or “Mediterranean” gardens, in association with other xerophytes. Where the open air cultivation is not possible due to the climate, it is to be cultivated in pot in order to shelter it in winter.
Traditional uses: Opuntia ficus-indica is cultivated in more than 30 countries for its large, sweet fruits, called tunas, young cladodes (as vegetables) and mature cladodes for forage. The name "tuna" is not only used for the fruit of this cactus, but for Opuntia in general. The fruit are typically eaten, minus the thick outer skin, and can cause constipation if consumed with the seeds, without the seeds they are laxative. Jams and jellies are produced from the fruit, which resemble strawberries and figs in color and flavor. Mexican eat the young cactus pads (nopales), usually picked before the spines harden. They are sliced into strips, skinned or unskinned, and fried with eggs, served as a breakfast treat. They have a texture and flavor like string beans. Moreover Mexicans have used Opuntias for thousands of years to make an alcoholic drink called colonche. Many Opuntias cultivars have been created for their improved nutritional or agronomic interests, such as higher yields, higher protein content, resistance to cold, resistance to insects and absence of spines. Opuntia ficus-indica well as other species in Opuntia and Nopalea is cultivated as a host plant for cochineal insects, which produce desirable red and purple dyes. This practice dates from pre-Columbian times. Opuntia species are also used to prevent soil erosion (by providing cover) and desertification. Also, they protect the local fauna by surviving in very arid conditions. Spineless varieties are particularly interesting for fodder.
Some of the information in this description has been found at desert-tropicals.com, llifle.com and cactus-art.biz
All of our plants are grown under the same conditions, although not all the plants are the same. You will receive a similar plant in size and shape to the ones in the pictures. Our plants are hand-picked and carefully selected to bring you the best quality possible. Please allow us up to 3 business days to process your order. If you wish to receive your order on a specific date or have special instructions, please add a note at the checkout.
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Colder Regions Warning: We are now offering 72-hour heat packs for an additional $3.00 If your order is $50.00 or more, and if we think that it is necessary, you will get a heat pack free of charge.
To prevent plants from freezing while in transit, orders placed for areas with extreme severe freezing temperatures will be held for shipment until it is safe to ship.
Care Instructions: Care instructions are included in every package you order.
Shipping Details and Customer Service Policy: We ship via USPS Priority Mail. We calculate the shipping cost based on the weight and volume of your purchase. Please allow a maximum time of 72 hours for processing prior to shipment. Depending on your location, we will ship the plants on a certain day to avoid transit time during weekends or holidays. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us at the email address below: