The prickly pear is a cactus that grows very quickly, and which, in addition, can become very large. It is easy for him to exceed one meter in height and measure as much or more in width. However, it is a very resistant plant, which recovers very well from pruning. For it, It wouldn’t be strange to wonder if it’s possible to have it potted.
And the truth is that if you ask me, I would tell you that it is not the most recommendable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a prickly pear in a pot, because you can. You just need to know how to achieve it.
What kind of pot do you need?
The ideal pot for the prickly pear is one with drainage holes and the right size so it can grow normally for a while. The material with which it is made is indifferent, although I recommend that it be in clay because in this way it will be able to take root better.
However, as it gets bigger and bigger, it will be best planted in a large brick pot, unless you plan to prune it regularly to keep it small.
But how big should it be? Well, it’s a fast-growing cactus, so The new pot should be about four inches wider and taller than the one you have now.
What soil or substrate should I put?
prickly pear They grow in soils that do not flood easily and also drain water well.. They can do this even in those that don’t have a lot of nutrients (i.e. poor soil), so you won’t need to give your plant the highest quality soil you can find. .
But it would also not be a good idea to plant it in very compact soil, because in this type of soil the roots are not well aerated, since the air can hardly circulate well between the granites that form them. Therefore, when wet, they stay wet for a long time; and when they dry out it is often very difficult to rewet them, for they become so compacted that they become impermeable soils.
That said, the best we can do is plant our prickly pear in substrate for cactus so you don’t have any problems. You can buy it here.
How often to water the prickly pear in a pot?
The prickly pear is a cactus that It is not necessary to water it frequently.. In fact, you need to do this only and only when the soil is completely dry. It resists drought very well, but the truth is that excess water can cause very serious damage, to the point that in extreme cases the roots could be so damaged that the only way to save the cactus would be to multiply it by leaf. cut (stem or segment).
So to avoid bringing it to that, we will water it very little: once a week during the summer, or twice during a heat wave; and once every 20 or 30 days the rest of the yearunless the temperatures remain above 20ºC, in which case it will be preferable to water it once every 10 or 15 days.
When the time comes, we will pour the water on the ground, and we will continue to pour until it comes out through the holes of the pot. If we have a plate under it, we will drain it ten minutes after watering so that the plant does not rot.
Do you have to pay?
It is not mandatory. The prickly pear is a plant that does not need a large amount of nutrients to be perfect. However, if you wish, you can fertilize it with a liquid cactus fertilizer like this, but follow the directions for use, which usually involves diluting a small amount of water before applying.
It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, otherwise the prickly pear will be damaged.
When and how to prune prickly pears in pots?
If we take into account that it can become a large cactus, and that our intention is to keep it in a pot, we will have to prune it quite frequently, in the spring. This pruning will basically consist of removing the leaves (stems or segments), trying to give it a more or less rounded and beautiful shape. That is to say, You don’t have to take it off just to take it off, but first you need to observe the cactus from a distance and think about how you would like it to look.
Of course, before pruning, we will put on gloves – preferably thick cloth – and clean the pruning tool, which can be a handsaw, with soap and water.
How often should you change the pot?
Although we are going to prune him, we will have to change his pot from time to time. The transplant will be done when the roots appear through the drainage holes, or every 2 or 3 springs.depending on its growth rate.
In any case, there may come a time when it is better to plant it in a brick pot measuring at least 1 x 1 meter.
Should it be placed outdoors or indoors?
It is a very demanding cactus of sunlight, which is why it cannot live indoors unless it has a room with windows through which the sun’s rays enter. For him, better have it away from home.
Only then can he develop well. Besides, You should know that it resists frosts down to -5ºCso if it’s colder in your area, you should protect it with an antifreeze net.
I hope these tips help you.