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Beach cactus

Posted by Donn_ Z 7, seaside,NY (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 28, 04 at 7:38

I have a cactus, Opuntia (Prickly Pear,) which grew from cuttings from a parent plant that was purloined from the dunes at Sunken Meadow State Park many years ago. I'm growing it in a pot, and I want to propogate some of the several new ears it grew this year.

My question is, after cutting the paddles off, and waiting 2 weeks for them to callous, do I have enough time this year for the roots to establish, outside, before the gales of November?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Beach cactus

Donn, I don't have an answer,just want to tell you this looks like a wonderful plant! I am in awe! Love succulents/cactus!


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RE: Beach cactus

  • Posted by Donn_ Z 7, seaside,NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 28, 04 at 9:31

It is an amazing plant. It spends the winter outside, and looked like this in March:

I'm thinking I ought to cut some of the paddles off, and give it a try. If they don't look like they've rooted well enough, I can winter them in the boathouse, unheated, but protected.


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RE: Beach cactus

Donn:

I used to have a bunch of these cactus and I could not stand the prickles/thorns or whatever you call those little stickers. I couldn't find gloves heavy enough to stop them from getting to my hands. And they are difficult to find in my skin to pull out with tweezers. Sorry for the ranting. Otherwise, I seem to remember that you could just put the paddle in the soil and it would take root and grow.

Good luck!


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RE: Beach cactus

the new paddles will not root as easily as the older ones and may rot

you can put the whole plant in the ground and then divide it into sections in the spring before the new growth begins next year


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RE: Beach cactus

  • Posted by Cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 04 at 11:18

Donn,
I'm amazed that the cactus overwintered so well in a pot. How cold did it get?

I want to put mine in a raised bed, but wonder how deep it needs the soil to be to successfully overwinter?


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RE: Beach cactus

  • Posted by Donn_ Z 7, seaside,NY (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 04 at 11:45

Carol...this one's 'thorns' are soft, like Nerf-thorns.

Michael...It'll be difficult to dig it out of the pot because of the shape. I'm worried that the root system may be filling the pot. Is it safe to do that big a transplant in the heat of summer?

Cady... It rarely gets below zero here, and doesn't spend much time below 10F.


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RE: Beach cactus

  • Posted by Cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 04 at 16:04

Thanks Donn. O. humifosa (sp?) is supposed to be hardy to zone 5, so it probably can take some very cold weather. But I'm still surprised to see it do well in a pot, even at "toasty" 10F.


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Repotting RE: Beach cactus

  • Posted by Cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 04 at 16:11

I forgot to mention...
You will need to repot that cactus. The best way to get it out of the pot is to take a slender, pointed trowel or weeder and slide it into the side of the pot, and use it to loosen the soil all the way around the pot. Angle it below and gently work at loosening and pushing the rootball up, then turn the pot over and gently tap the bottom until the cactus comes out.

Another alternative is to cut a piece - about a third - of the soil and rootball away by sticking the trowel/pick into the pot and slicing down, careful not to cut the cactus base itself. You'll have to remove a third of the cactus pads as well to compensate for the reduced root system. Repot with fresh soil, water in, and it shouldn't need another repotting for a couple of years.


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RE: Beach cactus

  • Posted by Donn_ Z 7, seaside,NY (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 3, 04 at 14:58

Well, I went out to cut off some paddles, and found what looks like new growth on some of the new growth. Now I think I'm just going to wait, and take it out of the pot next spring, and put it in the ground. A squirrel knocked off a couple of small paddles, so I am drying them, and I'll see if I can get them to root.


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