Chain Cholla Information – How To Grow A Chain Cholla Cactus

Group Of Chain Cholla Cacti
chain cholla
(Image credit: Jeremy Christensen)

Chain cholla cactus bears two scientific names, Opuntia fulgida and Cylindropuntia fulgida, but it’s known to its fans simply as cholla. It’s native to the southwestern part of the country as well as Mexico. Those living in warmer climates can start growing chain cholla in their backyards. If you’d like a bit more chain cholla information, we’ll also give you tips on how to grow a chain cholla cactus.

Chain Cholla Information

Chain cholla cactus are most often seen growing in their native ranges in the Sonora Desert. The cactus grows to some 10 feet (3 m.) tall, with whorled stem segments. According to chain cholla information, the last segments on a branch break off pretty easily. Many cacti have spines and the chain cholla cactus is no exception. The spines on this cactus are each bundled in a sheath, the color of straw. They form such a dense layer on the chain cholla cactus that it is hard to see the stem.

How to Grow a Chain Cholla

When you want to grow a chain cholla, it’s important to live in one of the warmer hardiness zones. Chain cholla won’t thrive in cool areas. So why grow these cacti? Those growing chain cholla plants enjoy both blossoms, in shades of pink ranging to deep magenta, and gray-green fruit. The cactus is not very colorful, nor is it the most ornamental cactus. However, it is unique in that the fruits just keep coming. The plants keep producing more blossoms which produce more fruit, resulting in a chain of fruits – hence the common name.

Chain Cholla Plant Care

If you are growing chain cholla, plant the cactus in a full sun location. These are desert plants and are not likely to appreciate shade. Chain cholla plant care starts with well-draining soil. Think of how quickly desert sand passes water as you are settling in the chollas. You need soil that doesn’t hold onto water. Speaking of water, as with most cacti, chain cholla cactus only needs occasional irrigation. In the right location, they are easy-care plants that won’t ask much of a gardener.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.