Origin and habitat: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico.
Description: Opuntia santa-rita is an erect, bushy succulent shrub to 2 m high and 3 m wide with a distinct, though short trunk. It a very attractive species with reddish or violet-purple pads. Small plants seem to be the most colorful. The yellow flowers are stunning on the purple pads in spring, definitely an eye-catcher.
Blooming season: April through August.
Cultivation and propagation: This is a much decorative frost hardy cactus easily found in cultivation. It is a summer grower species that offers no cultivation difficulties. Its purple pads provide a striking accent for an otherwise dormant cactus garden.
Water: In summer, during the vegetative period, it must be regularly watered, but allowing the substratum to completely dry up before irrigating again (but do not overwater ); in winter, it's to be kept dry. Preferable not to water on overcast days, humid days or cold winter days.
Hardiness: It is a quite frost resistant cactus, hardy to -7° C (- 12° C or less if very dry). However, in cultivation it is better not to expose it to temperatures lower than -0° C, even if in an aerated and protected location, in order to avoid the formation of anti-aesthetic spots on the epidermis. In presence of high atmospheric humidity avoid any frost as it is particularly sensitive to root rot. USDA Zone 6-10. It can handle extremely high temperatures in summer.
Exposure: Outside full sun or afternoon shade, inside needs bright light, and some direct sun.
Some of the information in this description has been found at desert-tropicals.com, llifle.com and cactus-art.biz
|Common Name||Santa rita|
|Frost Tolerance||12 c|
|Growth Rate||Fast growth|
|Hardiness Zone||7 – 11|
|Scientific Name||Opuntia Santa Rita Large|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|