Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Leaves turning black on Agave americana
June 06, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants- We have a ~5-year-old agave americana that began to have leaves turn yellow (to black in some areas) just this past spring (2008). A neighbor's tree had started to overhang t...
view the full question and answer

Plants for planting in gourds
March 15, 2009 - I enjoy painting dried gourds. This spring I got the idea to paint a gourd and cut holes in the side and plant some small blooming flowers. I have seen "hen and chickens" growing out of holes in the...
view the full question and answer

Prickly pear doing poorly on Long Island NY
December 27, 2012 - First, thanks for your reply on 11-3-12, re.Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY. The plants were set before a southern window in the attic, temp. ra...
view the full question and answer

Black bugs on yucca from Aledo TX
April 14, 2013 - We have flowering yuccas that have thousands of small black bugs that seem to be hurting the plant. They are not on any other foliage in our beds. What do I use to get rid of them??
view the full question and answer

How can I eradicate 20 acres of cactus?
April 28, 2010 - Cactus eradication. I have about 20 acres that are covered to the point that it is not safe to walk on the property. What can I do? Are there classes out there for eradication?
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.