Prickly Pear - Opuntia vulgaris

Sprouts of Bristol
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Scientific Name
Opuntia vulgaris (common plant from Opus)

Common Name
Indian Fig Opuntia, Barbary Fig, Cactus Pear, Spineless Cactus, Prickly Pear

Native to South America, from Brazil to Uruguay; now naturalised elsewhere including in Australia and South Africa.

This cactus' unusual shape really makes it stands out. Its large leaves are shaped like paddles, round and branching off each other, usually in pairs. The blue-green colour of this cactus is interrupted by the large spikes protruding from it; watch your fingers around this one! As this plant grows, it extends upwards and outwards as more paddle-like pads are sprouted, so choose this interesting-looking shrub to put in your brightest window.


Thrives best in bright light; will love your brightest windowsill (try South-facing if in doubt!).


Allow all the soil to dry out between watering; if the pads curl it may have too much sun and too little water; if it starts to grow mushy or rot at the roots, likely too much water and too little sun.

Low humidity is perfect for cacti; a hose down to clean now and again is fine as long as the plant dries and doesn't sit damp.

Needs a well-draining pot and potting mix; look for specific 'cacti and succulent' soils with plenty of sand and other well-draining materials. Only repot if absolutely necessary: use the next size pot up, repot in the spring, and no more frequently than every three years.

Feed every two months in the growing season, and every three in autumn and winter. Use 'cactus' labelled feed.


Likes temperatures of 20-32°C; don't let it drop below 10°C in winter.

No, this plant is toxic to pets and small humans.

Sprouts Top Tips
This is a flowering variety; to make it more likely you'll see the blooms, let it have a proper dormancy in autumn/winter with lower temperatures and less frequent watering and fertilising, and then increase these as the weather warms. The warmer the cactus is in summer, the more likely you'll see flowers!



Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Well packed quick delivery Lovely conditi...

Well packed quick delivery
Lovely condition cactus
Thank you

Mrs H Chase

Well packed really loved healthy cactus
Flowering already
So pleased thank you

Wonderful prickly pear,couldn't get one ne...

Wonderful prickly pear,couldn't get one near me and came across these on Etsy,well packaged,arrived in perfect condition,really beautiful,healthy plant,thankyou 😊

A very healthy cactus, it arrived exceptio...

A very healthy cactus, it arrived exceptionally well packaged - surviving the journey up to NE Scotland without any issues. Recipient is very happy with it, thank you!,

Excellent packaging plus the plant came in...

Excellent packaging plus the plant came in perfect condition.

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