Spineless Prickly Pear Info – Tips For Growing Ellisiana Prickly Pears

Yellow Flower On A Spineless Prickly Pear Plant
(Image credit: Andrey Zhuravlev)

If you are among the many gardeners who like cactus but don’t like spines, it may be time to consider installing Ellisiana cactus in your backyard. Its scientific name is Opuntia cacanapa ‘Ellisiana’ but it is better known as spineless prickly pear. What is a spineless prickly pear? Read on for spineless prickly pear information including tips on growing Ellisiana prickly pear.

What is a Spineless Prickly Pear?

The spineless prickly pear is a type of evergreen cactus that, unlike other types of prickly pear cacti, isn’t armed and dangerous. If you are looking for a succulent that looks like a cactus but doesn’t have long, pointed spines, an Ellisiana cactus might be the plant for you. According to spineless prickly pear information, the plant offers many attractive features in addition to not having spines. During the summer, it grows large bright yellow blossoms that attract hummingbirds. It also produces bright red fruits called tunas.

Growing Ellisiana Prickly Pears

If you are interested in growing Ellisiana prickly pears, you’ll want to check your hardiness zones. According to prickly pear information, this cactus is quite cold hardy for a succulent. The Ellisiana cactus is also tolerant of heat. You can start growing Ellisiana prickly pears in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10.

Spineless Prickly Pear Care

Ellisiana cactus is a very easy-care plant for your backyard. The most important part of spineless prickly pear care is planting the cactus in appropriate soil. Pick a soil that is both well-drained and rich. Gritty or sandy soil is just fine. Irrigation is a part of spineless prickly pear care, but you don’t have to invest much water here. The cactus prefers evenly moist soil in summer, but it is drought tolerant. It requires little, if any, irrigation in winter. One of the primary attributes of the Ellisiana cactus is its lack of sharp spines, but it isn’t entirely risk free. You can get tiny slivers from the pads, so when you touch them, do so between the glochid dots or wear gloves just to be safe. Those growing Ellisiana prickly pears should note that three parts of the cactus are edible. You can eat the cactus pad as a vegetable, add blossom petals to salads, and eat the fruit like any other fruit.

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.