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Tephrocactus geometricus

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Scientific Name

Tephrocactus geometricus (A. Cast.) Backeb.

Synonyms

Opuntia geometrica, Tephrocactus alexanderi var .geometricus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Tephrocacteae
Genus: Tephrocactus

Description

Tephrocactus geometricus is a small, globular, segmented cactus, up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall, loosely branched into small clumps. The segments are blue-green to purple in full sun exposure and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. It is spineless or with some spines sporadically present in the upper areoles. The flowers are white to light pink with a darker midstrip. They appear in summer and last only one day.

Photo via gardenweb.com

Hardiness

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. If you live in a hot, arid area, these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.

These cacti will grow just fine in a garden, bu they can be grown in pots as well. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, then remove the pot and knock away the old soil. After treating any cuts with fungicide, place the cactus 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.

Opuntia can propagate either by cuttings or by seed. To propagate by cuttings, sever pads from a plant and let them dry so that the wounds heal. Then place the plants in a dry soil and refrain from watering them until they begin to grow to avoid rotting them.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.

Origin

Tephrocactus geometricus is native to western Argentina and Bolivia.

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