En EspaŅol

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
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

Thursday - June 07, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: No blooms on Spineless Prickly Pear in Austin
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I've had a spineless prickly pear planted in the shade for about 3 years. It has done just fine there, but has never bloomed. I recently moved it to a full sun location(I'm in north Austin) and covered the soil with decomposed granite, and know that it is in a bit of a shock and is rerooting now. I'm wondering when it might finally bloom, and what I might do help it along - will it finally bloom on its own after moving to proper conditions? Thanks!

ANSWER:

There are three things required to produce blooms on Opuntia ellisiana (Spineless prickly pear):

1. Good sun

2. Well drained soil

and

3. Patience.

You have already taken an important step in moving it to a full sun location.

I hope the soil you planted it in is well drained and doesn't contain too much organic matter. When people have trouble growing this plant, the cause is usually  lack of sun or root rot caused by waterlogged soil. Full sun and well drained soil are generally all this plant needs to thrive in central Texas. The decomposed granite is also a good idea. The  granite could be amended with a liltte (very little) compost.

Now the hard part - the patience. It has been this Mr. Smarty Plants experience that it takes several years after being established for this plant to bloom and the ones I see blooming around town are generally pretty large indicating they've been there a while. I suspect your cactus is just not mature enough to produce blooms. Give it time.

 

From the Image Gallery


Spineless prickly pear
Opuntia ellisiana

Spineless prickly pear
Opuntia ellisiana

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Why has yucca not bloomed from Sacramento CA
May 03, 2012 - I looked for an answer to my question on your list but did not find one. We have had a yucca plant that has never bloomed since we planted it about 8 years ago. I has grown tall (6-7 feet) and we ha...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
view the full question and answer

Blue agave with freeze damage in Lockhart TX
March 16, 2011 - I recently planted a blue agave plant, and 4 days after I planted it the temperature dropped to 20 degrees at night. The plants are still alive but 75% of the outer limbs turned brown. What do I do wi...
view the full question and answer

Soaptree yucca falling over in Mesa AZ
July 24, 2013 - My soaptree yucca is about 5 ft tall and has fallen over. Does this plant require staking for I thought not, or is something else going on with it?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center