There are a total of 114 different species of nopales, and they can vary in their shape and growth time. Cactus plants can bloom and bear fruit in two or three years under normal circumstances i.e. the weather conditions must be conducive. They are easy to keep, and they like light and drought resistance. They should be placed on a bright balcony with plenty of ventilation so that they can grow well!
As long as the pear cactus has a reasonable soil mix and proper fertilization, plus sufficient light and appropriate water, it will take 3-4 years at least to bloom and bear fruit. The seeds need shade to germinate and should be kept moist until that time. Propagation from pads is much simpler and yields faster results.
After the flowers of these vibrant flowers are gone, the fruits begin to appear. The flower of the cactus, the skin of the fruit, and the pulp inside are different in color based on species. It can be green, white or yellow, orange, purple, red or brown.
The fruits differ in size and color. They usually grow to 2-3 inches long (with larger ones exceeding 5 inches) dependent on the varieties of prickly pear Cacti.
The taste of the fruit can vary based on what variety it is, however it is usually similar to watermelon.
How to Grow Prickly Pear Fruit?
The prickly pear can be described as a cactus that cultivates its fruit. It is permitted since they are a food source when it is grown in the private orchard or orchard.
La Opuntia ficus-indica as botanists refer to it is a cactus extremely easy to take care of and maintain and can live only with a small amount of water per month.
Two Propagation Techniques of Prickly Pear
It is a cactus that can be propagated using two methods as leaf cuttings and seeds. It is best to do this in the spring or summertime. Otherwise, it’ll be difficult to achieve success, as the plant requires heat to germinate and grow.
1. Sowing Prickly Pear Seeds
As stated in the Gardening Solution website of UF the growth of prickly pear seeds is slow and it could take several years before fruit and flowers start appearing regularly.
If you are planning to plant Opuntia indica ficus seeds, we suggest following these steps:
1.1. When is it sown?
Prickly pear is extremely resistant, is not without the “weak aspects”. One of them is for seeds to germinate, they require temperatures that are warm, like in summer or spring.
If we are planning to obtain a sample to be able to see it “born” then it is essential to create the seedbed prior to the times mentioned. So, they can develop without difficulty.
1.2.How is it sown?
When the time comes for spring or summer what we’ll do is as follows :
- We will first remove the fruit from its shell and wash the seeds using water.
- Then we make sure to fill our seedbed (such as perforated pots or trays) by using an all-purpose plant substrate, which is mixed with perlite, in equal portions and water.
- Then we’ll put the seeds on top of the substrate, and then cover them with a thin layer of the substrate.
- Then, you can water the sprayer, and then spread it on the outside in shade, but in partial shade.
In order to flower, prickly pears should mature and attain the size specified by their kind. Buds usually form on the upper edges of the segment. In one segment, there are more than 5 flowers that “blaze”. These “leaves” of the largest variety of flowers are typically decorated with hundreds of buds.
Prickly pear flowers are placed by prickly legs in a V shape. Flowers in buds are laid out in a row of one-two-three rows. The colors of flowers depend on the species of plant, and maybe yellow, white, various degrees of saturation, orange-yellow pinkish-lilac, or carmine red. In the middle part of buds, there are rows of stamens that are sensitive and are able to curl when touched. Pistils that are the same hue as stamens or light greenish yellowish.
Opuntia spp. flowers come in a range of warm-hued colors like orange, yellow, red, and pink, depending on the species and variety…. UF website
2. Planting Prickly Pear Cuttings
As Kalyn Waters wrote on the NW District website that Prickly Pear Cactus reproduces by fragmentation. This means that each pad is able to split from “mother plants” and grow roots to grow into a completely new plant.
Propagation from pads is simpler and quicker; this is done by cutting a pad that is at least six months old.
La Opuntia ficus-indica is easily propagated by cuttings of leaves. This is the quickest way to produce fruit, as it takes only just a few years. (2 or 3 according to the weather, a pot or in the soil and how to take care of it) to begin bearing fruit at the time of the rooting. In order to do this, we suggest thinking about the following factors:
2.1. When are they received?
Opuntia cuttings are best taken in the springtime to grow shortly after. And, unlike other varieties of plants, cactus cuttings will take root best when placed in the ground when the wound is dried and is usually one week.
In this period it is important to keep them at a shaded location and inside, so they do not directly into the sun as if they were to be exposed an opportunity to burn, they will.
2.2. How are they planted?
It is essential to remain upright, focusing on the narrowest point. They can be kept in pots or the ground, however, we suggest placing containers at the vary largely in this time of year to ensure they can establish a healthy root system.
The soil should be light, allowing excess water to drain quickly. For this reason, if they are to be kept in a pot, it is recommended to utilize pumice or another similar substrate, such as akadama. And if you choose to put them into the soil, dig a hole of 40x40cm and fill it with a mix of garden soil and perlite) in equal portions.
3. Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit
As described in the University of Florida gardening solution, Gardeners love the colorful flowers that appear in spring and summer and then give way to bright red, egg-shaped fruits.
After pollination and end of the flower, the cone grows on top of it, and then within a few weeks into a massive (up to 7 cm in length) “pear” with a brown or burgundy color, or a dirty yellow hue.
The prickly pear tastes good and is considered to be a culinary delight, and can be enjoyed cooked or raw. From the time the flower begins to bloom until the day that the fruit can be consumed around 3 months go by. If you have the right agriculture technology, cultivars can grow prickly pear only once a year. However, throughout the entire spring-summer time that can yield as much as 20 t /ha of fruit per season from a single field.
The harvesting of prickly pear fruits is not a pleasant process. With the help of mechanisms that separate Cactus “pears” from their mother plants, numerous glochidia are released into the air.
To decrease the risk of thorns coming in contact with skin, the harvesting process is performed in overalls, in peaceful early morning hours when air is not as dry.
The fruit flavor depends on the particular variety; it’s been compared to strawberries, watermelons, honeydew melons, figs, bananas, or citrus.
Prickly Pear Care Guide
Prickly pear is a rapid-growing cactus, which requires virtually no attention. However, in order to be able to bear more fruits, it is essential that its essential requirements are considered.
The frequency at which a cactus blooms depends on how it’s maintained. If it’s maintained properly the cactus will usually flower in 3 to 5 years, however, it could require several decades to flower. It blooms for a lengthy duration, and to keep it as brief as it can be, requires maintenance. This involves fertilizing watering, weeding, and even mowing the soil.
In accordance with the below-mentioned minimal conditions and with a specific period of dormancy, do not turn and let the sun be abundant, the cactus that we cultivated in the past was blooming every year. We hope this plant will benefit you and we would like to wish you a wonderful life!
The specific methods are as follows: Master these points, and the blossoms will explode.
- Soil: The soil in the basin should be fine sand that has been mixed with a little compost and soil for gardening.
Pot: pumice, or a mix of perlite and peat equally.. Also, the pot must have holes in the base.
Texas Natural Resources Server
“Pricklypears are able to photosynthesis all year round even in conditions where availability of water is very low..”
2. Watering: When it’s first planted, there is no have for watering it. You can add water as it has taken root. However, it’s not suitable to regularly water during normal times, to avoid the accumulation of water in the soil.
“The prickly pear also has a unique method for conserving water via a specific photosynthetic process known as crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). It is a type of food production method that helps to reduce any loss of water from the plant.”
If you aren’t a fan of big water, then you need to water less in winter and every half-month. Autumn and spring every week. Every two days during summer, obviously the soil of the pot must be spread out more and the soil should be drained and sprayed completely!
- Sufficient light: A sufficient amount of light should be provided during the period of growth and located in a sun-lit and airy area to maintain. It is not required to block the sunlight during the hot temperatures during midsummer. So it is accompanied by good air circulation, otherwise it could cause red spider injuries because of the intense temperatures.
Prickly Pear cactus grows best in zones 7-10. It grows best in full sunlight…Heritage Garden
- Fertilizer: Prior to planting, a small amount of fertilizer can add to the soil. Topdressing may be added later on that is divided into two times. The other is after harvesting. In order for it to continue to germinate, it must be properly topdressed. However, it should not be fertilized while it is still dormant.
“For pad production, use a high-nitrogen fertilizer and for flowers and fruit production use a no-nitrogen fertilizer (0-10-0) applied once a month”COCHISE County Master Gardeners
- Temperature: Keep the temperature between 3 to 5 degrees Celsius that is conducive to making sure that the plants are in full dormancy and are able to support the growth of the next year.
As written in website TEXAS A & M Agrilife Extension, Prickly pear is able to adjust to changes in the environment faster than other plants.
They are able to remain fairly strong in dry, hot conditions that can cause many other plants to lose their vigor or even to die.
- Repot: The young plants should be repotted each spring. The mature plants need to be repotted every 3-4 years.
- Large pot: Small pots of cactus won’t bloom if it is rotated regularly and those can’t be rotated on large containers or in-ground load will blossom.
- weeding: Be aware of whether there are grasses growing in the soil of the potting. If they are present there are, they should be weeded away in time to stop them from consuming nutrients. In the meantime during weeding, the soil may be loosened to increase soil permeability.
- Cultivation:In the course of its expansion, it is evident that its weight on the soil portion continues to increase and the soil must be immediately cultivated to ensure that it’s not difficult to fall.
The most widely known insect enemy of prickly pear is the cactus moth.
The cochineals are small red-bodied insects similar in appearance to mealybugs, and they take the juices out of pear pads that are prickly.
The cactus is extremely vulnerable to attack from mealybugs, which appear during the summer and spring. Treatment involves applying insecticides that are specifically designed for the area and powdering of the cactus using diatomaceous earth. This is an insecticide that is natural. You can buy it from amazon.com
11. Rustic style: withstands frosts down to -4ºС.
Some Common Species of Prickly Pear Found in Arizona
Beavertail Prickly Pear (Opuntia basilaris): The cactus is located throughout Coconino, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Yavapai as well as Yuma Counties in Arizona. It is found at elevations ranging from sea level upwards of 8000 feet. They are blue-grey shades with reddish-brown or tan spines. Beavertail flower in the spring, with huge dark, rose to a light pink flower.
Englemann Prickly Pear (Opuntia engelmannii): This cactus is located within Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai and Yuma Counties in Arizona. It is found in the range of 1,000-8,000 feet. Englemann Prickly Pear has widely spread white and yellow spines. The yellow-orange flowers bloom in spring. The fruit is deep red and purple in hue.
Mojave Prickly Pear (Opuntia erinacea): The cactus can be found within Mohave as well as Coconino Counties in Arizona. It is found at altitudes of 3,500 feet to 8000 feet. Its pads have an oval shape, with hair-like spines which differ in length. The flowers blossom in the spring, varying in shades of light pink to dark yellow. The mature Mojave Prickly Pear fruits are dried and turn into a spiny burr.
Santa Rita Prickly Pear (Opuntia santa-rita): The cactus is located within Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz Counties in Arizona. It grows at an elevation between 2,000 and 3,300 feet. The pads of the cactus are round and have an emerald-blue to purple hue. The flowers that bloom yellow appears in the spring. The fruit of the Santa Rita Prickly Pear is quite small, and reddish-purple hue.
Source: The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
Where Are Prickly Pear Fruits Used?
From the green prickly pear mass make :
- Baked and boiled dishes baked and boiled.
- Medicines ( the healing properties of prickly pears help combat heart disease, diabetes and skin diseases, dental, and lung issues).
- Feeding livestock.
The importance of the prickly pear fruit :
- Storage is best in dry, cool places.
- Suitable for making sweet desserts.
What Happens If You Eat Prickly Pear Seeds?
No big deal, we assure you. The seeds are tiny which means they are able to be swallowed with no issues. Additionally, they can help reduce cholesterol levels, ease ulcer-related pain and also improve digestion.
How old does a prickly pear cactus bear fruit?
While it can take two to three years for the establishment of prickly pears that fruit, when they reach maturity, around age 8 years old, prickly pear could produce up to 200 fruit per plant over the season of growth.
Can You Grow Prickly Pear from the Fruit?
If you pick the fruits it is necessary to thoroughly clean any bits of fruit, and let the dried fruit to dry prior to planting them. Fill small pots or a tray full of succulents or cactus mixture Place one seed in every pot or in each portion of the seed tray, and then push them gently to the ground.
How Much Fruit Does a Prickly Pear Produce?
The fruit is referred to as tunas or prickly pears. In warmer climates, pads can be harvested up to six times per year. Plants that are established may produce 20 to 40 half-pounds during every harvest.