En EspaÑol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Seeds from opuntia

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 11, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Seeds from opuntia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do I get seeds from opuntias?

ANSWER:

Very carefully. Seriously, if you are going to mess with prickly pears, you must not only avoid the spines, which are actually modified leaves, but also watch out for the glochids, which are almost invisible little hair-like structures on the cactus pad, and they can seriously damage you if you get tangled up in them. They can even affect your lungs! Most of the propagation information we found on Opuntia involved allowing them to vegetatively root, which they will happily do on their own, or you can cut the pad, allow it to callus, and then put the callus-side down into potting soil. Apparently, it's a lot easier to propagate an opuntia that way than by seeds. But, if you're determined, the only information we found about obtaining the seeds (aside from ordering a packet from Amazon) was to cut the fruit. Wait until the fruit is red, so you know it's ripe, then cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, rinse them and let them dry. The best we can tell, the rate of germination of these seeds is pretty low. They apparently do much better if they have been eaten by a small animal, like a rabbit, and then redeposited on the ground with some fresh fertilizer, no charge.

Well, you did ask.


Opuntia engelmannii

Opuntia macrocentra

Opuntia macrorhiza

Opuntia ellisiana

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Native habitate sunlight as opposed to artificial light
March 26, 2006 - Does a plant grow best in sunlight or artificial light?
view the full question and answer

Follow-up on Viburnum dentatum question
September 24, 2008 - This is a follow up to an earlier question, posted Sept 20, about Viburnum dentatum shrubs. I'm not sure I understand your answer. If the person having trouble getting berries went out and bought a...
view the full question and answer

Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) frost tolerance, making cuttings
October 08, 2007 - Dear Madam or Sir, It would be very kind, if you could answer my questions about the “Thuja Plicata atrovirens” alias “Western Red Cedar”. I need the information because a good friend of mine ...
view the full question and answer

Speeding up growth of Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca)
January 12, 2012 - I have germinated Hesperaloe parviflora, Red Yucca, for our Caddo Native plant sale. I have kept in the cool greenhouse for 2 months and they are about 2 inches. A friend put one outside and they froz...
view the full question and answer

Nutlet on rudbekia plants from Quincy IL
September 21, 2009 - On rudbeckia plants, what is a nutlet?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center