Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Survival possibility of transplant of sucker from oak tree
May 15, 2006 - My neighbor has a young oak tree in his front yard. It has small leaves and round acorns and once a year sprouts shoot up at its base. The neighbor was kind enough to let me dig some up to try to tr...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers from bulbs from Denton TX
March 26, 2014 - I am slowly converting my landscaping to as much native regional plants as possible. Are there any flowers from bulbs that you could recommend?
view the full question and answer

What kind of alcohol to use with Passiflora seeds?
March 12, 2010 - Hi, I read a question and answer related to gernmination of passiflora incarnata. You recommended a 5% alcohol/water solution to soak the seeds prior to sowing. I just want to make sure that you are...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Texas sage from Bastrop, TX
March 01, 2013 - Am I wasting my time trying to transplant texas sage runners? Any advice?
view the full question and answer

Controlling agave pups from Galveston, TX
July 26, 2013 - I live in Galveston, Tx.I have several large 5ft tall century plants in my yard and the pups are coming up everywhere..how do I control these??? HELP!!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.