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A very attractive species, Opuntia santarita Santa Rita Purple Prickly Pear Cactus is an upright, bushy succulent shrub with colourful, round, ovate, fleshy pads. Covered with spines, the pads turn rich purple in winter before changing back to soft blue grey with warmer temperatures. The yellow flowers are stunning on the purple pads in spring, definitely an eye-catcher.
Santa Rita Prickly Pear Cactus is a succulent plant of the genus Opuntia in the Cactaceae family. Native to the American Southwest into Mexico. The Santa Rita Prickly Pear is an upright, bushy succulent shrub with colorful, round, ovate, fleshy pads. Covered with spines, the pads turn rich purple in winter before changing back to soft blue gray with warmer temperatures. This purple pad coloration also intensifies in direct sunlight and drought.
In spring, large multi-petalled and yellow flowers appear on the outer edges of the pads, creating a stunning contrast with the purple pads. They are followed by small edible purple fruits that are highly attractive to birds. Frost hardy, Santa Rita Prickly Pear is a very decorative cactus which adds beauty to the garden year-round. Typically grows up to 6-8 ft. tall (180-240 cm) and 8-10 ft. wide (240-300 cm). This low-maintenance plant is a great choice for xeriscape gardens, rock gardens, and cactus gardens. This remarkable plant is deer resistant, tolerates urban pollution and is easy to care for
- Colour may vary from the picture but will develop its purple colour as it becomes sun stressed.
Recommended care Instructions -
Light - As a desert cactus, prickly pear prefers full sun to thrive. That means at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Indoors, a west- or south-facing window works best.
Soil - The most important requirement for any plant in the Opuntia genus is soil that drains well. Prickly pear easily grows in sandy or gravelly soil, but it can tolerate other soil types as long as there's good drainage.
Water - Prickly pear likes dry conditions, and very little watering is required to maintain the plant. This is why the cactus is often used in low-water gardens. Limit your watering to every two to three weeks or when the soil is completely dry. When watering, simply moisten and don't soak the soil. If you get minimal rainfall, that's often all the plant needs.
Temperature and Humidity - Prickly pear cactus thrives in hot, dry desert summers. But many of its species have good cold tolerance. (Remember, desert nights can be cool.) It generally does well in regions that have mild winters and hot summers with low humidity. Prickly pear can struggle in areas that have very high humidity, even if the temperature is to the plant's liking. Typical indoor temperatures and humidity levels are usually fine for prickly pear. However, keep the plant away from heat and air-conditioning sources, as they can cause extreme temperature fluctuations.
Fertilizer - Prickly pear rarely needs fertilizer when planted in the ground unless you have very poor soil. In containers, it will use up the soil’s nutrients faster. If the plant’s green pads start to appear dull or it doesn’t flower, that can mean it needs food. You can apply a balanced fertilizer during the growing season, following product instructions. You also can choose a high-nitrogen fertilizer for larger pads or a low-nitrogen fertilizer for more flowers and fruits.
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