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

Will Sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri thrive in caliche soil?
December 02, 2014 - I live on a high hill in the Hamilton Pool area outside of Austin. I am looking to plant a Dasylirion wheeleri that I grew from seed collected in New Mexico aria East Of Soccoro. I am wondering if the...
view the full question and answer

Monocarpic plants for Indiana
October 06, 2005 - We were in Hawaii this summer and became acquainted with the Silversword. This plant (according to what we were told) blooms only once in it's lifetime (of 50-70 years). Are you aware of any other pl...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012 - I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
view the full question and answer

Bugs on yucca plant in New Jersey
August 06, 2008 - I noticed small bugs ALL OVER 4 established yucca plants all near each other. They may look like Halticotoma valida but I'm not positive. There is no brown on the leaves except for the large amount...
view the full question and answer

Topmost leaves on yucca are brown
June 08, 2009 - I live in the Lansing, Michigan area, in the lower peninsula and have a couple yuccas whose topmost leaves are brown emerging from winter. Do I prune those, or has the plant died? Thank you.
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