Austrocylindropuntia subulata 'Monstrosa'
Accepted Scientific Name
Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Muehlenpf.) Backeb.
Christmas Tree Cactus, Eve's Needle, Eve's Needle Cactus
Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa, Cylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa, Opuntia subulata f. monstrosa
Austrocylindropuntia subulata 'Monstrosa' is a densely branched cactus with a main stem and many upright green cylindrical shoots. It is smaller than the normal form and grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall. The branches grow up to 1.6 feet (50 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Leaves are green, nearly cylindrical, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. Spines are white, very thin, irregular in number, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. Flowers are red and appear in spring and summer.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Though the large variety of species within the Opuntia genus means different types of prickly pears may need slightly different care, all are desert cacti that need lots of sun, lots of light, and very little water. So if you live in a hot, arid area, these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.
As desert cacti, Prickly Pears require maximum sunlight to thrive and should be kept in direct sunlight whenever possible. Very little water is required. These drought-resistant plants grow best in hot, dry areas, and excessive water could cause them to rot. Hot temperatures are best, but these cacti will tolerate a very wide range of temperatures. The most important soil requirement for Opuntia is that it drains well. Besides that, basic potting soil is fine, and these cacti will also grow in rock gardens.
Though Opuntia will grow just fine in a garden, they can also be grown in pots. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, remove the pot and knock away the old soil. After treating any cuts with fungicide, place the prickly pear in a new pot and backfill it with potting soil. As with a new cutting, make sure not to water a newly repotting prickly pear for a brief period to avoid rotting its roots.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.
This cactus is a form of Austrocylindropuntia subulata selected for its interesting growth.
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