Sunday, June 17, 2018

Opuntia Flowers 2018 (and one cheat!)

Sometime this spring, i realized i have a lot of opuntias. And while they have their downsides (ugh, glochids!) when they bloom, they are so pretty! Here are all the mature flowers I got this year, plus names, as best i know them...

opuntia microdasys 
very pretty but covered in glochids. teeny tiny ones that bury their way into your gloves...
opuntia ellisiana (pretty sure this is "burbank spineless" 
one of the first i planted, and producer of many tunas each fall!
opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada

 one of the prettiest flowers, i think , for all that it is pink!
opuntia engelmannii 
 I got this one years ago in a plant exchange with Loree from Danger Garden! Gorgeous flowers and fruit!
opuntia sulphurea
 This one has huge white spines - and a pretty peachy flower color my camera did a bad job capturing.
opuntia macrocentra
 This one makes a bazillion flowers, but no fruit. It also has the longest black-and-white spines that hold on to the Palo Verde flowers forever (ask me how i know!)
optunia littoralis var austrocalifornica
This one bloomed for the first time ever this year - and such a gorgeous orange! I wanted an orange flower for the longest time... now it just needs to bulk up!

I have one more opuntia that flowers each year, but i just missed getting a picture of it this year. Here is a shot from last year:
opuntia basilaris
Yes, it's really that pink, and no, the camera cannot capture how bright it is...

You might think that's enough, but somehow, i ended up with three new plants this year (because i shouldn't be allowed near a nursery, apparently). None of them have bloomed yet, but maybe next year we'll see:

  • Opuntia 'Orange Chiffon' (in the front garden bed, next to the yucca)
  • Opuntia 'Pina Colada' (currently in a container on the top of the hill)
  • Opuntia polyacantha erinacea (also in a container on the top of the hill)

There's also one mystery opuntia that's never bloomed (yet):
any ideas?
It came from a Berkeley University plant sale a long time ago - i'm hoping i can figure out what it is when it blooms.

Someone referred to opuntias as "lotus of the desert" - and i can totally see that! Now i just need a red one. This seems like a never ending collection!


  1. Wow, so many beautiful flowers. O. basilaris var. brachyclada is stunning. I've never seen that kind of color in an opuntia flower before.

    1. I hadn't either (which is why it came home with me...) It does lose it's pads with the slightest push, but still worth it for that color!

  2. I think you have the largest private garden collection of Opuntias I've seen anywhere! I love the plants but I haven't managed to learn how to handle them without getting glochids stuck in my fingers. I ended up giving away the one a friend gave me.

    1. Ha, I haven't either... I just learned to be very careful. And I actually find not using gloves works better. Maybe you could try them in pots?

  3. I'm with Kris-I don't think I've ever seen so many different Opuntias in one garden. I can see why yo are xcited about the orange, but I'm also loving the macrocentra with that red throat !

    1. Thank you! Macrocentra has always been one of my favorites too... And the pads turn purple in the cold.

  4. Some Opuntia lindheimeri have orange-red flowers... The light pink of Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada is nice. You do have a good variety of Opuntia, and some I've never heard of here in Opuntia Central!

    "If there's room for 1 more plant, there's room for 3." - L. Bohl

    1. So true - there's always room for more plants... And that's a good thing, because there are always more plants!


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