Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &
Prickly Pear Cactus &

Introducing the fabulous Prickly pear cactus, also known as 'Opuntia sulphurea,' a vibrant member of the Opuntia genus! But don't let its prickly exterior fool you - these prickly pears varieties are surprisingly easy to care for and can even thrive in less-than-ideal conditions.  

Native to South America, this vibrant low-growing shrub spreads out like an enthusiastic explorer. It has paddle-shaped stems that are covered in spines and small, hair-like structures called glochids. The stems are typically blue-green in color and can grow up to 12 inches long and stretch their arms up to an astounding 6.6 feet in diameter.  Its joints are thick, oblong to obovate in shape, with a smooth glabrous texture that's simply irresistible.  Sometimes they flaunt a stunning shade of purplish hues but usually stick with their trusty green attire. But wait, there's more!  

Brace yourself for the spines that are dense, stiff, and initially whitish but evolve into hues ranging from yellowish all the way to brownish or ravishing red as they mature. It produces bright yellow prickly pear flowers in the spring and summer.

This Opuntia produces edible fruit in the fall, and it is commonly used in Mexican cuisine and can be eaten raw or cooked. In addition to its culinary uses, the prickly pear cactus has a number of medicinal benefits and is used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.  

The Opuntia sulphurea is a popular cactus for gardeners because of its unique appearance and low maintenance requirements.

Watering Needs

Many cacti, like the prickly pear cactus, thrive when cared for properly by using the "soak and dry" technique. Allowing the soil to completely dry out in between waterings is crucial because overwatering can lead to the roots rot. During the summer months, you should water your cactus once in 2-3 weeks, and during the winter months, you can reduce watering to once a month.  

It's also important to note that the Opuntia sulphurea is a drought-tolerant plant, meaning it can survive extended periods of time without water. In fact, overwatering is one of the most common causes of death for this prickly cactus. When watering your prickly pear, it's best to use a watering can or a hose with a soft spray nozzle to avoid damaging the stems or flowers. Remember, it's a good idea to avoid getting water on the stem of the cactus, as this can cause damage or discoloration.

Light Requirements  

The prickly pear Opuntia sulphurea prefers bright, direct sunlight, and it's important to place it in a location where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight per day. If you're growing your opuntia cactus indoors, it's a good idea to place it near a sunny window or under a grow light.  

It's also important to note that this prickly pear can tolerate some shade, but it won't thrive in low-light conditions. If you notice that your cactus is growing tall and leggy, it may be a sign that it's not getting enough sunlight. In this case, you should move it to a sunnier location or provide additional artificial light.  

Additionally, it's important to protect your Opuntia sulphurea from extreme heat or cold. If you live in an area with hot, dry summers, you should provide some shade for your cactus during the hottest part of the day.  

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs

The prickly pear cactus prefers well-drained soil, so it's important to use a cactus mix that contains sand or perlite to help with drainage. You can also add some gravel or pebbles to the bottom of the pot to help with drainage. Here at Planet Desert, we have a specialty-formulated cacti potting mix that contains 5 natural substrates and organic mycorrhizae to promote the development of a strong root system that helps your cactus to thrive.  

As for fertilizer, it's best to use a low-nitrogen fertilizer specifically designed for cacti. You should fertilize your Opuntia cactus once a year during the growing season (spring). It's important not to over-fertilize your cactus, as this can cause damage to the roots or even kill the prickly pear plant. 

Hardiness Zone & More

Typically grown in hot, arid desert regions, the opuntia cactus thrives indoors in warm, dry surroundings. If you live in USDA regions 9 to 11, you can also grow these cacti outdoors year-round, but they are not cold- or frost-tolerant, so you should plant them indoors or put them in a pot and move them indoors during the winter if you live outside of these regions. Keep your prickly pear away from cold, drafty windows and air vents if you are growing it indoors in a cold climate. 

In terms of humidity, the prickly pear cactus is a drought-tolerant plant and can tolerate dry conditions. However, it's important to avoid exposing your cactus to extreme humidity or moisture, as this can cause damage or disease. 

We think you will love this plant – order your very own Opuntia sulphurea - Prickly pear cactus today and start enjoying its beauty in no time! 

Bloom Season Spring, summer
Botanical Name Opuntia sulphurea
Common Name Prickly pear cactus
Dormancy Winter
Family Cactaceae
Flower Color Bright yellow
Genus Opuntia
Growth Habit Clumping
Growth Rate Slow
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size 12 in. tall, 6.6 in. wide
Native Area South America
Plant Type Perennial cactus
Propagation By seeds, cuttings
Resistance Drought tolerant, heat resistant, pest resistant, deer resistant
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type specialty-formulated cacti potting mix
Special Features Easy to maintain
Sun Exposure Full sun, Partial shade
Toxicity Safe for humans, friendly to dogs, friendly to cats
Watering Needs Low

Pests & Common Problems of Prickly Pear

The prickly pear cactus is generally a hardy plant, but it can be susceptible to a few pests and problems. Here are some common issues to watch out for: 

Mealybugs: These small white insects can infest and harm your cactus. You can get rid of them by wiping them away with a rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swab. 

Scale insects: These insects can appear as small, brown bumps on your prickly pear cactus. They can be removed by scraping them off with a fingernail or using an insecticidal soap. 

Root rot: This can occur if your cactus is exposed to too much moisture or if the soil is not well-drained. Signs of root rot include yellowing or wilting of the stem. To avoid root rot, plant your cactus in well-drained soil and avoid overwatering.

Sunburn: If your opuntia cactus is exposed to too much direct sunlight, it can become sunburned. Signs of sunburn include brown or black spots on the stem. To prevent sunburn, make sure your cactus is placed in a location where it can receive bright, indirect sunlight. 

FAQs - Prickly Pear Plant

What is unique about the prickly pear cactus? 

The Opuntia sulphurea, also known as the prickly pear cactus, is unique due to its distinctive appearance. While the fruit of Opuntia sulphurea is indeed edible, it is important to note that the entire plant, including its pads and flowers, can also be consumed.  

The cactus has flat, paddle-shaped stems that are covered in spines and small hairs. It produces bright yellow flowers in the spring and summer. The fruit is commonly used in Mexican cuisine and can be eaten raw or cooked. In addition to its culinary uses, the prickly pear cactus has a number of medicinal benefits and is used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.   

Is the prickly pear an indoor plant? 

Prickly pear, also known as Opuntia, is primarily an outdoor plant that thrives in warm and arid climates in USDA 9-11. While it can tolerate some indoor conditions, it may not be the best choice for a typical indoor setting due to its need for ample sunlight and space to grow. It can grow up to 15 feet in diameter. 

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Prickly Pear Cactus 'Opuntia sulphurea'

sku: 2254

Regular price$ 75.50
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Please note: All Landscape Ready plants that are in a 6-inch pot or larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

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  • Inventory on the way

Please note: Our large plants are many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive 100% healthy and looking great.

Please note: Our large plants are shipped bare root. They are also many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive healthy and looking great.

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Detailed description of this plant is below...

If you live in a cold climate and are expecting temperatures below 40 degrees within the next five days after placing your order, we highly recommend adding a heat pack to your order. If you do not order a heat pack, we do not send one with your order.

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**FREE HEAT PACK WITH ORDERS OVER $50 before taxes and shipping- BY REQUEST ONLY, PLEASE MAKE A NOTE ON YOUR ORDER.

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.

FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER $89 in the
Continental US.

Plants that are in 3.5" pots and smaller will be shipped in its pot to prevent any damage to the roots.

Any plant that is 6" and larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

Depending on the species and season, 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.

We ship via USPS Priority Mail, If you don't get Free Shipping, then we calculate the shipping cost based on the weight and volume of your purchase.

Care instructions are included in every package you order. Please allow us up to 3 business days to process your order. Depending on your location, we will ship the plants on a certain day to avoid transit time during weekends or holidays. If you wish to receive your order on a specific date, or have special instructions, please add a note on your order. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at any time.

  • Description
  • Key Plant Features

Introducing the fabulous Prickly pear cactus, also known as 'Opuntia sulphurea,' a vibrant member of the Opuntia genus! But don't let its prickly exterior fool you - these prickly pears varieties are surprisingly easy to care for and can even thrive in less-than-ideal conditions.  

Native to South America, this vibrant low-growing shrub spreads out like an enthusiastic explorer. It has paddle-shaped stems that are covered in spines and small, hair-like structures called glochids. The stems are typically blue-green in color and can grow up to 12 inches long and stretch their arms up to an astounding 6.6 feet in diameter.  Its joints are thick, oblong to obovate in shape, with a smooth glabrous texture that's simply irresistible.  Sometimes they flaunt a stunning shade of purplish hues but usually stick with their trusty green attire. But wait, there's more!  

Brace yourself for the spines that are dense, stiff, and initially whitish but evolve into hues ranging from yellowish all the way to brownish or ravishing red as they mature. It produces bright yellow prickly pear flowers in the spring and summer.

This Opuntia produces edible fruit in the fall, and it is commonly used in Mexican cuisine and can be eaten raw or cooked. In addition to its culinary uses, the prickly pear cactus has a number of medicinal benefits and is used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.  

The Opuntia sulphurea is a popular cactus for gardeners because of its unique appearance and low maintenance requirements.

Watering Needs

Many cacti, like the prickly pear cactus, thrive when cared for properly by using the "soak and dry" technique. Allowing the soil to completely dry out in between waterings is crucial because overwatering can lead to the roots rot. During the summer months, you should water your cactus once in 2-3 weeks, and during the winter months, you can reduce watering to once a month.  

It's also important to note that the Opuntia sulphurea is a drought-tolerant plant, meaning it can survive extended periods of time without water. In fact, overwatering is one of the most common causes of death for this prickly cactus. When watering your prickly pear, it's best to use a watering can or a hose with a soft spray nozzle to avoid damaging the stems or flowers. Remember, it's a good idea to avoid getting water on the stem of the cactus, as this can cause damage or discoloration.

Light Requirements  

The prickly pear Opuntia sulphurea prefers bright, direct sunlight, and it's important to place it in a location where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight per day. If you're growing your opuntia cactus indoors, it's a good idea to place it near a sunny window or under a grow light.  

It's also important to note that this prickly pear can tolerate some shade, but it won't thrive in low-light conditions. If you notice that your cactus is growing tall and leggy, it may be a sign that it's not getting enough sunlight. In this case, you should move it to a sunnier location or provide additional artificial light.  

Additionally, it's important to protect your Opuntia sulphurea from extreme heat or cold. If you live in an area with hot, dry summers, you should provide some shade for your cactus during the hottest part of the day.  

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs

The prickly pear cactus prefers well-drained soil, so it's important to use a cactus mix that contains sand or perlite to help with drainage. You can also add some gravel or pebbles to the bottom of the pot to help with drainage. Here at Planet Desert, we have a specialty-formulated cacti potting mix that contains 5 natural substrates and organic mycorrhizae to promote the development of a strong root system that helps your cactus to thrive.  

As for fertilizer, it's best to use a low-nitrogen fertilizer specifically designed for cacti. You should fertilize your Opuntia cactus once a year during the growing season (spring). It's important not to over-fertilize your cactus, as this can cause damage to the roots or even kill the prickly pear plant. 

Hardiness Zone & More

Typically grown in hot, arid desert regions, the opuntia cactus thrives indoors in warm, dry surroundings. If you live in USDA regions 9 to 11, you can also grow these cacti outdoors year-round, but they are not cold- or frost-tolerant, so you should plant them indoors or put them in a pot and move them indoors during the winter if you live outside of these regions. Keep your prickly pear away from cold, drafty windows and air vents if you are growing it indoors in a cold climate. 

In terms of humidity, the prickly pear cactus is a drought-tolerant plant and can tolerate dry conditions. However, it's important to avoid exposing your cactus to extreme humidity or moisture, as this can cause damage or disease. 

We think you will love this plant – order your very own Opuntia sulphurea - Prickly pear cactus today and start enjoying its beauty in no time! 

Bloom Season Spring, summer
Botanical Name Opuntia sulphurea
Common Name Prickly pear cactus
Dormancy Winter
Family Cactaceae
Flower Color Bright yellow
Genus Opuntia
Growth Habit Clumping
Growth Rate Slow
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size 12 in. tall, 6.6 in. wide
Native Area South America
Plant Type Perennial cactus
Propagation By seeds, cuttings
Resistance Drought tolerant, heat resistant, pest resistant, deer resistant
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type specialty-formulated cacti potting mix
Special Features Easy to maintain
Sun Exposure Full sun, Partial shade
Toxicity Safe for humans, friendly to dogs, friendly to cats
Watering Needs Low

Pests & Common Problems of Prickly Pear

The prickly pear cactus is generally a hardy plant, but it can be susceptible to a few pests and problems. Here are some common issues to watch out for: 

Mealybugs: These small white insects can infest and harm your cactus. You can get rid of them by wiping them away with a rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swab. 

Scale insects: These insects can appear as small, brown bumps on your prickly pear cactus. They can be removed by scraping them off with a fingernail or using an insecticidal soap. 

Root rot: This can occur if your cactus is exposed to too much moisture or if the soil is not well-drained. Signs of root rot include yellowing or wilting of the stem. To avoid root rot, plant your cactus in well-drained soil and avoid overwatering.

Sunburn: If your opuntia cactus is exposed to too much direct sunlight, it can become sunburned. Signs of sunburn include brown or black spots on the stem. To prevent sunburn, make sure your cactus is placed in a location where it can receive bright, indirect sunlight. 

FAQs - Prickly Pear Plant

What is unique about the prickly pear cactus? 

The Opuntia sulphurea, also known as the prickly pear cactus, is unique due to its distinctive appearance. While the fruit of Opuntia sulphurea is indeed edible, it is important to note that the entire plant, including its pads and flowers, can also be consumed.  

The cactus has flat, paddle-shaped stems that are covered in spines and small hairs. It produces bright yellow flowers in the spring and summer. The fruit is commonly used in Mexican cuisine and can be eaten raw or cooked. In addition to its culinary uses, the prickly pear cactus has a number of medicinal benefits and is used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.   

Is the prickly pear an indoor plant? 

Prickly pear, also known as Opuntia, is primarily an outdoor plant that thrives in warm and arid climates in USDA 9-11. While it can tolerate some indoor conditions, it may not be the best choice for a typical indoor setting due to its need for ample sunlight and space to grow. It can grow up to 15 feet in diameter. 

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