Opuntia ficus-indica, or more familiarly prickly pear, is part of the Cactaceae family and is a genus of plants with a fleshy body, cylindrical in shape and with branches called articles. The origins are of Central America, especially of the desert areas but it also finds its natural habitat throughout the Mediterranean.

This species has an erect posture; the branches are globular and are commonly called blades with a size that reaches 40 centimeters in length, while the leaves have a size of a few millimeters and are placed on the blades; produces edible fruit.

They are often planted to create impassable natural fences due to the massive presence of thorns.

This kind of succulent plant can reach up to 5 meters in height

The thorns, grouped together in tufts, surround the fleshy blades.

Environment and exposure

Opuntia ficus-indica love direct sun and a dry and dry climate, which does not go below 5 degrees, even if they are not excessively afraid of the cold. In winter they can be kept outdoors as long as the temperature is cold enough, around 6 degrees; if it were warmer the plant would continue to grow and the ends would be very fragile and weak. Keeping the plant in the cold for too long leads to general decay.


Although they are found naturally, in order to grow this type of plants in pots, a soil mixed with sand and rocks and heavily fertilized is necessary. The drainage must be excellent.

Planting and repotting

The plants can also be grown at altitudes of around 750 meters.

The chosen pot should not be too tall, around 30 centimeters and the earth with good drainage. If you want to have more seedlings, you need to plant them with a minimum distance of 8 centimeters from each other, taking care to remove half of the seedlings every year to let them breathe.

Opuntia ficus-indica rarely need repotting. In any case, always use a slightly larger pot than the previous one and not excessively deep because the roots do not take up much space.


In winter the Opuntia ficus-indica should not be watered and water can be resumed in the hot season, from March to October by watering when the soil is excessively dry and arid. Do not exceed with watering because you risk the splitting of the blades, scientifically called cladodes.


Opuntia ficus-indica are rather wild plants and do not require particular attention and need to be fertilized. If desired, use fertilizers rich in phosphorus and potassium and little nitrogen, taking care not to exceed the doses. Fertilization must be carried out in the spring season, starting from the end of March.


Reproduction is really simple and you can choose the seed or by cutting from the top. If you choose the seed it is advisable to bury it in a mix of earth and sand in an environment with a temperature of about 21 degrees. If you choose to detach a line, you must first let it dry by inserting it in the sand; if the top is rather large, help support it with some poles. Once it has rooted it will be planted in a pot with soil rich in sand and rocks.


Opuntia ficus-indica can be pruned between May and June or between August and September, removing the cladodes, that is the blades and any flowers; this procedure allows the plant to produce new blades and new flowers and any fruit in the autumn season, while preventing the poles from suffocating each other.

Opuntias allow for a variety of grafts that create custom succulents.

Flowering and fruit

The Opuntia have rather visible and showy flowers, which appear singly and frequently, whose shape resembles a wheel; then follow the oval-shaped fruits full of seeds with the classic skin full of small protuberances and thorns. Fruits ripen between August and September. The peculiarity is that the Opuntia follow the same process even if they are planted in pots.

Diseases and parasites

Often the blades of Opuntia ficus-indica tend to split if the plant is over-watered.

Among the parasites that affect the Opuntia the most, we find the cochineal and the Cactus butterfly.

Most common species

In addition to Opuntia ficus-indica which is part of the Opuntia family, Opuntia Bigelowii is also often present in our apartments. It has an upright posture, with a structure similar to a tree with its branches and trunk; it has flattened blades covered with small white spines of a few centimeters.


Opuntia ficus-indica is often recommended for diets because, in addition to its richness in vitamins and minerals, it helps to regain a sense of fullness.

Opuntia are loved by the cochineal and that is why in some parts of the world, South Africa and Mexico, they are cultivated to breed this animal; in fact from the cochineal is obtained the carmic acid, a natural dye.

Succulents: Microdasys opuntia

A perennial plant native to the northern center of Mexico and is part of the great Cactaceae family.
Like any plant belonging to the genus Opuntia also this Cactus has a branched stem formed oval blades indicated with the name of cladodes. Each of them has a length of about 15 centimeters and is endowed with a considerable number of areoles densely covered with tiny spines called glochids, the latter being rather resembling very short bristles. The cladodes are nothing but flattened branches through which the Opuntia Microdasys performs chlorophyll photosynthesis.
As the years go by, the Opuntia Microdasys gives life to large bushes that reach up to one meter in height.
During the summer period from the Microdasys Apuntia are born wonderful yellow daytime flowers whose shape resembles that of a cup. The plant produces delicious edible fruits.

Cultivation methods

The Opuntia Microdasys is a very simple plant to grow, which also grows spontaneously in areas with a Mediterranean climate such as, for example, Sardinia and Sicily.
The plant is suitable for cultivation on soils particularly rich in minerals and composed of earth, sand and stones. Perfect for adorning rock gardens, the Opuntia Microdasys can also be grown in pots.
When you decide to cultivate this Cactus it is good to keep in mind that it needs a lot of brightness, so it must be exposed in a position that allows it to fully enjoy the sun, especially in the less hot months. In summer, however, it is preferable that the plant enjoy solar heat during the morning, but that it is sheltered in the so-called peak hours, that is when the sun is warmer. In other words: when you grow the Opuntia Microdasys you need to find an area of ​​mediation that allows you to enjoy the full sun in autumn, winter and spring, but that in summer protect the plant in the hottest hours.
If planted in pots it is necessary to avoid them stagnation. Irrigation must be carried out in abundant but reduced way from the beginning of spring to the end of summer, so that in winter the Opuntia Microdasys can overwinter in the dry. The plant does not tolerate the prolonged humidity, especially that caused by frosts.
Reproducing the Opuntia Microdasys is very simple. It can be duplicated by seed or by cutting. To perform cuttings, simply remove a shovel and place it vertically. The blade must be buried for 2 cm at most. The soil suitable for the operation is that consisting of a mixture of earth and peat. Moreover, the latter must be kept constantly humid.

Diseases and cures

The plant of Opuntia Microdasys due to excessive water can be subject to splitting with consequent crusting. Like all succulents, this Cactus is also susceptible to cochineal attacks. The disease can be successfully combated by using a quality anticocide. Once the product has been purchased, it is always good to read the instructions in the package before using the product

The young blades (cladodes) of the Opuntia Microdasys are an important vegetable of Mexican diet.

Our Opuntia one year later
October 13th 2019

It has been a little over a year since we bought this small plant (it is the same as in the photo above) in the nursery and, although it remained in the house near the window light (not always open except on weekends), today it is so!
Many new "leaves" are growing from the original ones and everything does not seem to want to stop.
Very little water needed
Even less maintenance.
If you want to take away some satisfaction and you don't have a green thumb, maybe the opuntia is for you.

Succulent plant, it can be used both indoors and outdoors as it fears temperatures below -10 degrees. fears water stagnation. it is advisable to plant in a sheltered position (south or against a wall) or to keep in pots. Very slow growing

The Sassi family has been involved in the production and sale of plants and flowers since 1988. In the new Garden of Cella you can find a wide selection of indoor and outdoor plants and flowers, trees, cut flowers, gift ideas, tools for your garden, pots, fertilizers and pesticides.

You will also find the staff who will help you design, care, maintain and build your garden. We also deal with the design, construction and maintenance of gardens and irrigation systems.

Sassi di Sassi Nicolò and Paolo Agricultural Society - Via Giambattista Vico 87, 42124 Villa Cella, Reggio Emilia - VAT number - Tax code: 02807700345 - Tel. 0522941797

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Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio make public garden debut with Wind, Water and Earth at Desert Botanical Garden.

Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio make public garden debut with Wind, Water and Earth at Desert Botanical Garden.

Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio make public garden debut with Wind, Water and Earth at Desert Botanical Garden.

Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio make public garden debut with Wind, Water and Earth at Desert Botanical Garden.

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The Garden invites kids to engage in unstructured activity with the outdoors around them at Cactus Clubhouse – a brand-new nature play space.

Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio make public garden debut with Wind, Water and Earth at Desert Botanical Garden.

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Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio make public garden debut with Wind, Water and Earth at Desert Botanical Garden.

Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio make public garden debut with Wind, Water and Earth at Desert Botanical Garden.

From Italian: Garden of Roses

Moisturizing, Nourishing, Anti-oxidant & Firming

SKIN TYPE: Normal and dry, mainly mature and agying skin with fine lines and wrinkles

SKIN BENEFITS: Nourishing, Revitalizing, Firming

USE: Night and / or Day

Moisturizing. Anti-oxidant & revitalizing

SKIN TYPE: Normal and devitalized, mature and dry skin with fine lines and wrinkles

SKIN BENEFITS: Nourishing, Revitalizing, Firming, Purifying

USE: Night and / or Day

It nourishes, moisturizes, and softens the skin, preventing the look of mature skin and appearance of fine lines. This oil promotes elasticity and provides the skin a smoother, refined skin texture. It reduces the appearance of dark spots and dark circles, so the skin appears visibly younger. Can help to balance acne-prone skin

Exceptionally high in omega fatty acids 3, 6 and 9

Smoothes skin's surface, Increase hydration without feeling heavy, and help keep skin hydrated.

Calm signs of external stressors, including redness and sensitivity. Eliminate signs of flaky, dehydrated-looking skin.

The antioxidant properties make it a good indication for mature skin with fine lines.

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Organic Butter), Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) oil, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa canina fruit oil, Plukenetia Volubilis (Sacha Inchi) seed oil, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Seed Oil, Bulgarian Rosa damascena, Persian Rosa Damascena, Bulgarian Rosa Alba, tocopherol.

Apply a pea-sized amount morning or / and night to freshly washed and toned face. A little goes a long way. Use within 3-4 months of opening.

The product is for external use only. Do not ingest. Avoid contact with the eyes. If irritation occurs - discontinue use

Store in a cool and dry place.


I have been using it for over a month now and I absolutely LOVE IT !! Fragrance, texture and skin restorative properties are totally stellar. My skin is typically on the sensitive side with some dryness and redness and I can honestly see an improvement in both tone and texture. I am impressed that it is both lovely to use and also highly effective. Keep up the great work! Beth W.

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Video: One month update of planting opuntia cactus pads aka nopal or prickly pear cactus.

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