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Tephrocactus geometricus


Scientific Name

Tephrocactus geometricus (A. Cast.) Backeb.


Opuntia geometrica, Tephrocactus alexanderi var .geometricus

Scientific Classification

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


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

Tephrocactus geometricus

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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, but they can be grown in pots as well. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, 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 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.


Tephrocactus geometricus is native to western Argentina and Bolivia.


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