How to care for an Opuntia Cactus

Opuntia cacti are among one of the most popular types of cacti to have indoors. Their distinct look has given them to nickname 'Prickly Pear' and its easy to see why. There are many types of Opuntia cacti and some can grow up to 12 feet tall. Probably not your best choice for indoors but there are plenty of alternatives! Read all about how to care for one here.

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  • Very little
  • Once every two years
  • Low air purifier
  • Bright, direct sunlight
  • Slightly toxic
  • Once or twice a year

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  • Opuntia cactus are found everywhere these days. They are certainly among the most popular cacti out there. They originate from Mexico.
  • Cacti aren't great at purifying the air. Can't have it all!
  • Opuntia are known to be mildly toxic. Your pets won't notice easily though, as this fella has another defense mechanism that kicks in way before your pet can have a taste of its sap. Ouch!
  • Just like many other cacti, the Opuntia cactus too, is excellent at storing water inside its leaves. As a rule of thumb don't water your Prickly Pear until the soil has completely dried out.
  • Opuntia or Prickly Pear Cactus is found in the desert. These plants thrive in bright, direct sunlight. Its best placed in or near a south- or west- facing window sill. This cactus can still survive with indirect light but won't grow as quickly.
  • Opuntia will benefit from a bit of fertilizer once or twice a year but don't provide it monthly.
  • This is not a fast grower! Limit the repotting to once every two or three years and find a pot that's about 20% larger than its previous home.
  • Pruning is not necessary but you can remove individual 'pads' of the Opuntia with no problem. Use a sharp knife to cut exactly where the pad joins another pad
  • Not prone to many bugs or diseases, you most common find issues with root rot or stem/branch rot. This is typically due to placing yours in an environment that is too humid or because you are giving your cactus too much water. Be careful with how much TLC you are giving your Opuntia!

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