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Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia engelmannii

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Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia engelmannii) at The Home And Garden Center

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  10 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  7

Other Names:  Cow's Tongue, Discus, Texas Prickly Pear Cactus

Description:

An upright growing and spreading succulent cactus with showy yellow flowers that bloom in spring and deep purple fruit in summer; exceptional as an accent for rock gardens and planters; needs perfect drainage and sandy or gravelly soils

Ornamental Features

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus has yellow flowers with buttery yellow eyes at the ends of the stems in early spring, which are interesting on close inspection. Its attractive succulent round leaves remain bluish-green in color with showy powder blue variegation throughout the season. It features an abundance of magnificent purple berries in mid summer.

Landscape Attributes

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should never be pruned except to remove any dieback, as it tends not to take pruning well. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Cactus is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Rock  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Texture 
Ornamental Features