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Lindsey_blinsmon
Oct 26, 2017 2:26 PM CST
Hello there!
I've had my (fuzzy?) Opuntia for a few months and it recently started getting floppy.
I took it out of its soil, and it doesn't feel squishy and isn't black. But, it does have one wrinkly area.
I absolutely love this plant and would like to save it.
I've added photos of the bottom with the wrinkly bit, and then the way its flopping.
Thumb of 2017-10-26/Lindsey_blinsmon/64f494
Thumb of 2017-10-26/Lindsey_blinsmon/ea2539

[Last edited by Lindsey_blinsmon - Oct 26, 2017 2:50 PM (+)]
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
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plantmanager
Oct 26, 2017 2:33 PM CST
Hi and Welcome to NGA! It looks like you meant to call it an Opuntia. Looks like one of the prickly pear cacti, but it's way too tall and skinny due to lack of proper light. Try to grow it pretty dry and with the best light you can give it. You need a very bright windowsill, or a grow light for it. Make sure your pot has fast draining cacti soil, and drainage holes.
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Lindsey_blinsmon
Oct 26, 2017 2:50 PM CST
plantmanager said:Hi and Welcome to NGA! It looks like you meant to call it an Opuntia. Looks like one of the prickly pear cacti, but it's way too tall and skinny due to lack of proper light. Try to grow it pretty dry and with the best light you can give it. You need a very bright windowsill, or a grow light for it. Make sure your pot has fast draining cacti soil, and drainage holes.


Hello, thank you so much!
I did mean to, oh my god! My tablet always ruins cactus names >_<
I keep it outside, but it used to be planted in a shady spot. I've moved it into its own pot and in the sun.
I hope it looks up soon!

Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Oct 26, 2017 2:54 PM CST
Hi Lindsey, where do you live in general terms? Some opuntia are very hardy, but I'm not sure about that one. Maybe some our cacti experts can weigh in on that. Yours hasn't ever been outside all winter, correct?

The move from growing in shade to full sun should be made slowly, or it can burn.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 26, 2017 2:56 PM CST

Moderator

Yes. What's the climate there? How's the weather been lately? What's the amount of sun is the plant is used to getting?
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Oct 26, 2017 2:57 PM (+)]
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Lindsey_blinsmon
Oct 26, 2017 3:24 PM CST
I live in El Paso, Texas. I had it in a shadier spot when it was around 90-100 degrees outside. But moved it to its own pot in full sun a couple weeks ago when it started to be in the 80's. It's been around 70-ish this week, but still sunny.
It's never been out in the cold, I've been wondering if I should bring it inside for the winter.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 26, 2017 3:32 PM CST

Moderator

Our winter minimum is 45° and I don't bring any of my plants inside for the winter. It always warms up to room temperature during the day (high 60s/70s) though. You can use that as a general guide for how much is guaranteed safe, and then start taking chances when it gets closer to freezing. I can't help you there but you probably want to avoid leaving the plant out in freezing (or near-freezing, because you never know) temperatures. And especially avoid leaving the plant in wet soil when it's that cold, because the combination of cold and wet is extra lethal. Consider cold temperatures as a signal you should be watering less often.

The sun this time of year is excellent if you have it. Much less potent than early summer, much kinder to the plants, much less of a hazard in comparison. But definitely follow Karen's advice and make the adjustment to full sun gradually, over a few weeks, coming from the shade. So as not to shock the plant and then maybe make it somehow more sensitive to the cold, given it's already going a bit sideways. Those furry spines are like a sunscreen, and if I had to guess, your plant should take the sun very well. I would think it would suffer from too much shade, like most prickly pears.

I can't speak for the flop, because my prickly pears do that too. I sort of let them self-prune (usually this happens at the end of our months-long summer drought) and it works itself out over time. Just make sure you don't overwater, and use a fast-draining mix with about half pumice or perlite (which helps guard against overwatering).
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Oct 26, 2017 3:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Oct 26, 2017 4:59 PM CST
Hard to know fur sure but this could be close to the normal growth habit for this plant.

The flopping of Opuntias is quite common. As they loose or gain water they might either loose the turgidity to maintain an upright posture or get too heavy and flop over because of that. The latter often leads to breakage, the former to weirdly bent growth forms. And then there are some that just tend to grow in a bendy sprawl way.

Makes them hard plants to keep in pots, but they do it even in the ground and is another characteristic that generally makes prickly pears very messy plants to grow.

We do not get very cold in winter here in the Phoenix area, the last few years a night or two at or near freezing, I never frost protect my prickly pears. Even if they do get frost damage they are so good at growing back from essentially nothing that it is way more effort than it is worth to try and frost protect them where I am at.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Oct 26, 2017 5:03 PM CST
I didn't frost protect any of my opuntias in Phoenx. They do flop, and some pads even froze, and dropped off. When we had too much rain on a few occasions, they absorbed too much water and got so heavy some pads broke off. They're self pruning. Every pad that falls will eventually root into the ground if not picked up in time.
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Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Oct 28, 2017 11:17 PM CST
Hi Lindsey, I have several Opuntia ‘Snow’ and mine do that regularly, it’s just how this particular one behaves half of the time Green Grin! mine stay completely flopped over when the weather is cold and stay that way until spring. When they flop in spring/summer/early autumn, a good drink of water makes them spring right back up. They also get floppy if the roots are disturbed by transplanting or if a night is particularily chilly, etc. Mine are floppy as often as they are perky Hilarious! they do sunburn very easily until they are used to full sun exposure, especially when they are small. Small ones like some shade during the worst of the midday summer heat until they have some size on them. Winter temps mine are kept bone dry and shielded from frost and survive our temps dropping into the low 20s without any damage.
[Last edited by cahdg6891 - Oct 29, 2017 12:26 AM (+)]
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Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Oct 29, 2017 12:07 AM CST
Oh, and the wrinkly part is normal, too. When it gets pretty floppy and wrinkled during warm weather it likes a nice drink, but right now it’s probably starting to prune up as the temps drop. You can tell when they are really responding to a drop in temperatures because the areoles will get the nice purple coloration like all other Opuntia do, and then these basically wrinkle up and go limp until spring arrives Hilarious!
[Last edited by cahdg6891 - Oct 29, 2017 12:21 AM (+)]
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