Ask a Question forum: Should I trim my prickly pear - tipping

Views: 95, Replies: 5 » Jump to the end
Michigan
Image
Sgrif
Jan 27, 2019 3:08 PM CST
Hello,

I have a prickly pear that has been growing very well since I purchased it in the summer. When I purchased it, it was a little heavy leaning towards the front. It seemed as though there was a spot on the back which a pad was removed that maybe would have balanced it out.

Since it has been growing so much, it has continued to tip on one side. It is not tipping towards the light as I keep it by a window and it tips away. I am wondering if I should cut the leaning portion or if it will be okay? I don't want it to break or fall over. If I do trim it, I am wondering how easy the cutting would root in a new pot. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
Thumb of 2019-01-27/Sgrif/ec8026
Thumb of 2019-01-27/Sgrif/eec61f
Thumb of 2019-01-27/Sgrif/209c8f
Thumb of 2019-01-27/Sgrif/94bbc6

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Jan 27, 2019 5:01 PM CST
I see two issues here which can be addressed independently if you like.

Those plants are not receiving enough light. Ideally they should "see" the sun for hours a day, year round, with no curtain or blinds in the way. This is not unexpected or particularly surprising given the time of year and your latitude, but maybe there's a way you can dial up the light, or just hang on till the better light that comes with the change of seasons.

The prickly pear can be cut back if you like. Be sure to wear gloves and exercise caution so your skin does not come in touch with the most annoying spines (actually they are called glochids). I would wait until spring and/or stronger light to make this move. You can remove the top layer of stems and leave the rest if you like. That would be the least intrusive pruning given the stretching that's currently going on.

In general it's a good idea to rotate plants so if they do lean, that lean will be corrected over time. In the case of your cactus, point the lean away from the light until you take more serious action come spring.

That plant can fill a much larger pot with time, and if you would like it to grow big and bushy/branchy, consider moving it to a pot that's maybe 2 inches wider come spring. It can easily fill a 10-14 inch pot after several years, but for now maybe an 8 inch pot would be good. Be sure that pot has holes at the bottom. Ideally it should be wider than deep. Use fast draining soil, like regular potting soil mixed with an equal volume of pumice, perlite or equivalent.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jan 27, 2019 5:47 PM CST
I believe you have a Bunny Ears (Opuntia microdasys). Most Prickly Pears, with age, lay down and root on their pads. In fact, they have become so good at propagating that way (vegetatively), that although they bloom, they don't set seed. Your Bunny Ears may just be trying to do what comes naturally. Hilarious!

If you decide to prune, individual pads roots very easily but I would do as Baja says and wait until warmer, brighter weather.

The new T5 "Sunblaster" lights work great for cactus (I use them) - your other plants could do with more light also.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Michigan
Image
Sgrif
Jan 28, 2019 8:50 AM CST
Thank you both! I will wait until spring to prune. Thank You!

My cacti is in front of a window with blinds open (original pic I posted is from the side). I typically have all my plants on the window sill but have been moving them back and forth because it has been so cold it gets frost on the inside of the window sill ❄️☃️! It is a west facing window. Do you think this is a good spot or would there be a better direction to place it in?



Thumb of 2019-01-28/Sgrif/a5b56d
Thumb of 2019-01-28/Sgrif/2d7a23

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Jan 28, 2019 10:26 AM CST
That looks like a good spot, and cold is something to avoid. A southerly window would be ideal this time of year, but work with what you've got.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Jan 28, 2019 12:23 PM CST
I would expect prickly pears to tolerate a LOT of cold!
But they do tend to get top heavy in the winter.

I'd put them in a south facing window, and stake them up.

I recently found where one of mine had shed a section which had rooted...but, I really wouldn't cut them back... Unless you wanted to cook Nopales for a meal. Even then... I'd wait for new pads...

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Fleur569 and is called "'Harvey's Pride'"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.