Xericstyle

Xeric and stylish gardening in San Antonio, Texas

MACHO MONSTER OPUNTIA!

Remember my Opuntia engelmannii var subarmata Opuntia X ‘Old Mexico’?  (Thanks for the ID David!)Opuntia engelmannii var subarmata Aug 23rdI started it from one pad and it quickly grew in the pot until I planted it in the ground August 23, 2012.same opuntia Sept 5th - 13 days later!Here is the same little guy going through a growth spurt just 13 days later!(Opuntia engelmannii var subarmata not even 1 year old!And now look at this macho monster with still 5 months to go before his first “in-ground” birthday!  Thank goodness kids do not grow this fast!!!  He is sprouting new pads like mad.  I have 3 – I don’t fertilize them, I don’t do anything to them for that matter.  The plan is to have cactus mountains bisecting this very large front bed.  They will be the mulch for the two desert willows (Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba’), bordered by mass plantings of gulf muhly grass (Muhlenbergia Capillaris) to soften this Texas Native and Texas Tough scene.  At this rate…I may have some hills by fall!  Fingers crossed!!!!

Sorry…I must be cracking up you Texans and desert plant growers – but these are my first cacti I have ever started and planted in the ground.  I am in awe of it all!

Hey…everything IS bigger in Texas, eh?????

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11 Comments

  1. That is some growth rate. They are obviously very happy where you’ve planted them. Christina

    • They must be, eh! yay! -xericstyle

  2. Amazing growth, not to mention seeing it grow so soon – I’m over a month out from seeing such things on Opuntia! Isn’t that possibly Opuntia monstrosa? The wavy pad surface and uneven pad edges seems that way, but I could be wrong.

    • I am going with what you say D! I will look into your suggestion- but I am willing to bet YOU are right! Thanks for the heads up – apprecirated :) -xericstyle

      • I still can’t find a reliable picture of an Opuntia Monstrosa that looks like mine – can you please e-mail me one? Thanks so much David, -xericstyle

    • Will look for you – I had a few show up in place of O. engelmannii in a landscape I designed 10+ years ago, but winters up here are often too cold for O. monstrosa.

      • Cool! Thanks! :) -xericstyle

      • Two guys in TX – Dallas and Harlingen – both said it’s simply sold as “Old Mexico” Prickly Pear. I doubt the others I know will answer, but if it is different, I’ll let you know.

      • Sweet! Thanks David :) I will look forward to looking into that – xericstyle

      • Desert Dweller

        3 people agree…it’s Opuntia X ‘Old Mexico’.

        But more from Dave Ferguson of the Rio Grande Botanic Gardens in ABQ –
        “Never heard of O. “monstrosa”, but there are several “monstrose” cultivars of assorted species that might sometimes be called ‘Monstrosa’. This particular one isn’t monstrose though, it just grows wavy pads.

        Anyway, this is a common cultivar in the southwest (not quite hardy in Albuquerque, but will make it through if covered). Origin unknown, but it is Gulf Coastal from either far south Texas or ne. Mexico. It is a spineless selection of Opuntia gomei (I can get into that name later), which is reproduced vegetatively as a cultivar.

        I saw it the first time in a garden in Saltillo, but it had probably been around already for many years by then. Not too many years later, it was planted all over at Sea World in San Diego. It is probably tetraploid (no O. gomei has been counted yet – I’m just guessing); it is a vigorous grower, branches tend to flop over sideways, pads can be up to 2 ft long and often quite “wavy” (slower, smaller, and less wavy if kept on the dry side). Flowers yellow, fruit moderately large and (if I remember correctly) sweet.
        It has been dubbed “Old Mexico” by somebody (I saw the name first on Ebay), which seems to have stuck. It is almost spineless, but there are glochids, and every now and then a yellow spine.”

  3. This is wonderful to have all this information, thank you so much David. He is bang on with how he described it…including “…branches tend to flop over sideways…”. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to you and to Mr. Ferguson. I really appreciate it. – xericstyle

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