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Growing Prickly Pear From Seed

Growing Prickly Pear From Seed

Growing Prickly Pear From Seed

Opuntia is a genus of cacti commonly known as Prickly Pear Cacti. They thrive in hot desert areas, growing 3 to 20 feet (0.9 to 6 m) tall, depending on the variety and growing conditions. It spreads to cover 3 to 15 feet (0.9 to 4.5 m). The leaf pads and fruit are edible once the spines are removed. Leaf pads are eaten as a vegetable. Fruits are eaten raw and used to make juice, jelly, and candy.Place the pots or tray in a sunny window or under artificial lights. Check the soil daily for moisture and temperature. The ideal soil and air temperatures for Prickly Pear Cactus is 70 °F (21 °C). If heat builds up under the plastic, move the container or open the vent further to release excess heat. Water the soil as needed with a fine mist, keeping the soil moist but not wet.

Prickly Pear

The prickly pear cactus, Opuntia compressa syn. O. humifusa, is a native of Mexico, but it is often found in dry desert areas. For generations, the prickly pear cactus has been used for food. The leaves are peeled, fried and eaten and the seeds are ground into flour and made into pancakes or flatbread. Prickly pear cactus is hardy in zones 4 through 10. A mature prickly pear cactus can grow 6 to 18 inches in height and 12 to 30 inches in width.Place the pots into a clear plastic container that has a clear plastic snap-on lid. Pour in 1/4 inch of water into the bottom of the container. This will keep the soil moist so the seeds don't dry out. Mist the surface of the soil with a fine spray of water. Snap on the cover. If the water level goes below 1/16 inch, add more water to the container. Only water the prickly pear cactus from the bottom until it is older.

To harvest prickly pear fruits, also known as tunas, you will need thick gloves or tongs to remove them from the cactus. While the fruits do not have spines, they do have glochids, which are nearly invisible, hair-thin splinters that are easy to get in your skin and difficult to get out. Therefore, while wearing your thick gloves for protection, twist each tuna off of the cactus to harvest them. Greener fruits are younger and will not be as sweet as riper fruits, which will be shades of oranges, red or purple.The prickly pear, which is also referred to as the Indian fig, is a type of cactus that’s native to South America, Central America, and the southern parts of North America. Although they prefer desert climates, prickly pears will actually grow in a wide variety of soils, moisture levels, and temperatures. The pads and the fruit of the prickly pear are edible, but the cactus is also grown as an ornamental plant, because it has pretty flowers that range from orange to yellow to white. To grow a prickly pear, you can buy an established plant, germinate seeds from the fruit, or propagate a new plant from an existing one. (Source: www.wikihow.com)

 

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