propagation and care tips for o. robusta

mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))July 22, 2014

so I finally got a o. robusta pad for less than �20 so,

it's a fresh cutting, with no callous, I was going leave planting it till next Monday.
when I plant it shall i use rooting hormone?
as for care, I'm aware it's a fast growing opuntia that will get very big in a few years, so light alot? water just to keep soil moist? and feed I have a cactus feed to encourage flowering with low N once a month I normally feed others from may till first frost.

any other tips anyone can provide?

thank you

Leo

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Rooting hormone is not needed. I would keep it dry and not plant it for a week. Then put it in some fast draining cactus soil. Not commercial soil cactus soil,but a gritty mix. I would not water it till it has developed roots. They can not absorb water until it has roots. After it does develop roots,Once every two weeks in summer . Maybe in England it will not need to be watered at all. your call.. Mine is in Texas and I have not watered it this summer. They are a bit cold sensitive. . It got down to 15F (-9.5C) and It did not like it. It still has not put on any growth this year. one large pad has flopped over but it is not rot. Opuntias do a flopping thing in the cold. Freaks me out every time. A friend's O robust ( and parent of mine) died from the cold several years back. It was more exposed. I have mine on the south side of some thermal mass of some cement pillars and a stone patio. I have not found this to be a fast grower. Maybe I am doing something wrong .

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 9:32AM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

thank you,

the fast draining non cacti soil is john Innes it's a loam based with added grit, I normally add 1/10th extra perlite for extra and I always stab/poke extra holes now into bottom.

so water to keep it from shriveling?
I was aware there thw opuntia cacti are some of the hardiest, but here out winters are unpredictable. so it's inside from first frost till I plant sweetcorn.

flopping cacti freak me too, I have thw leacacia. or what ever it's called one it flops and I worry I've over watered?

sad when thw parent dies, I got mine from a 3 year old one, that is 5'9" and it was taken from another plant. I have a grow light, that I use for my coconut and mangos and so on in winter.

maybe yours hasn't put out new growth as it's repairing the damage?

thank you

leo

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:25AM
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mingtea(z9 Tucson)

Not fast compared to other opuntias, but big! I'm wondering how you'll be moving it in/out doors once it's gigantic? That'll be in some years though.

-Ming

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:28AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

A lot of things were stalled this year by the cold winter. This cactus is not one for carrying in and out. It gets BIG. Different opuntias are hardy to different degrees. Good luck on this one. Opuntias like a good root run too, so they will do better in the ground than in a pot. My strategy for this one is that I will put it in the ground on a raised mound on the south side of the house by the foundation, and on the REAL BAD front I will chop it back to a coverable size and bag it well. Most winters it should fair fine without anything being done. I am 8b. On a rare occasion year , it gets to 12F. BUT 26 years ago it got to 2F, so anything is possible. If I chop it back I will have pads to start a new one if disaster strikes.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:02AM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

well I can provide 50-70ltr pots at its largest, and if I can fit me piano through the doors I think I'll be okay, but yes I have seen how big they get. haha!

hmm, well I plan on building a raised pond/cascade into ground level pond, and one one side do steps and have an alpine bed, maybe I could do that with it? (when I have more to grow from it.

and am I right that these are also an edible type, like the Indian ficus ones?

ii have my bananas in front of house that gets sun all day even in winter, but my dwarf Cavendish stopped growing when I put it out but I then get 7 pups, and thw basjoo I planted put in middle April and it stopped growing till last month!

thank you.

leo

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:39PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I would like to say that your pad is small and flat for a robust pad.. Here is a picture of the pad that I got to start my plant. If it is an Robusto, it is a juvenile pad.

My first trade in an attempt to get a robust, got me an O. englemani. It took awhile to figure it out. This was not the largest pad on the cactus. I found it on a neighborhood street not far from me. It was obvious that it was a robust.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:29AM
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cactusmcharris

I need that image, Mara. Could you send it to me, especially in the winter? I require posing opuntias, yeah, that's it.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:48AM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

hmm, the mother plant was in a very large pot, and the pad is one of the juvenile ones, the main central pad in the other image for the sale was about 4" bigger than hand all way round, and was smooth with no spines, may have been some of those minute hairs.

so how do I tell thw difference between the two opuntias?

leo

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:12AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Another thing, it is best to get mature pad for rooting. Maybe this is hearsay, but that is what I was told. The guy that I got my pad from told me to come back later and let them grow some more before I cut it off. maybe it was a piece his Garden mythology . He had a really nice cactus garden so who was I to question his word. If it is mythology and not actual factual, then I have adopted mythology to practice.

Differences of O. robusta from the others, are SIZE. Even the young juvenile pads are thick. They look like puppies with huge feet. You feel that they will grow large. some robustas have more needles than others. Some even have needle that curl outwards and not straight like I have seen. Google them and pull the images. Pads are very round. There appears to be a few exceptions to this. They might be mis IDed O. tomentosa or there is some variation in the species or there has been genetic hanky panky with another species.. I do not know. I am just a peon who grows these things that were given to me. I have my suspicions and thoughts but no real provable knowledge to back it up with.In Mexico, there are lots of people who have many varieties of them. It is interesting to go looking through the images for the deviations.

cactusMcharis, I will look for your email. If it is not enabled, send it to me. Mine is.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:21AM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

Thank you,

hmm, the base of the pad, is FAT I mean inch thick, bu the pad is going (i think it's) concave (like a blood cell)
i have been looking up the o. you mentioned, and i think think mine is the Robusta at a quick glance, but i may have to go to Cactusshop uk to get one from there but they dont show images of the O.Robustas.

While looking i came across this (see link) do they really grow like trees? i have never seen it before, i know the miniature opuntias can be bonsai-ed to look like a tree but this is just fantastic, would like to have one if it was to be a deciduous

you may be able to answer, why do they pads have a bluey/grey 'film' on them? it seems a little odd? is it a protective part?

Leo

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:15AM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

here is the seller of the pad and the advert, and their website.
the sale - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Big-Opuntia-Robusta-Large-Greeny-Blue-7-and-growing-Prickley-Pear-Cactus-Pad-/221503753480?pt=UK_HomeGarden_Garden_PlantsSeedsBulbs_JN&hash=item3392a70d08

the website - http://opuntiauk.com/index.html

that may help us identify it better as it shows the mother plant.

Leo

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:19AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

The image you sent is what you call an arboreal opuntia, but I thnk it is not O. robusta. It looks more like O. cochenellifera, due to it's elongated pads buy there are others that look like that also. I could be wrong. O. robusta's get huge but it is more of a large multi-trunked brush than a trunk forming tree. It will only get like this in the ground. The size of your pot determines its size. Maybe your pad is small because it is grown in a pot in England. I have to remember that environment and culture does effect the growth. the texture of the plant does look opuntia. Robusta. if your pad is going concave, it is alright to mist it but not water the dirt.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:15AM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

thank ypu, I was going to put it into a pot of dry soil, and yes mist it! when should I water it? when it shows new growth?

and thank you, but the opuntia genus is a fantastic one, just like the stapelia and afew others.

thank you.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:14AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I use a gentle tug and if I feel resistance, I start to water, but first slowly. The roots grow to LOOK for water, not in response to water. That is how I look at it.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:56AM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

thank you, I had to cut down my euphorbia Trigona as it was too big, took 5 weeks to Root.

so what is the blue/grey coating for?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:58PM
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mushibu10(zone 8 (UK))

it's fully rooted and starting to plump up.
thank you

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 8:13AM
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