Opuntia Polycantha is a very diverse cacti, found all the way from Mexico to the North Yukon, this cactus can survive in temperatures ranging from 40 Celcius to -47 Celcius. With paddles up to 7" wide, and needles that can grow up to 7" long, this family is home to many very diverse Opuntia with flowers from Magenta and Red, to Yellow and White.
Opuntia Polycantha can be kept indoors all year, kept outdoors all year or simply kept outside in the summer and brought in for winter months.
If keeping Opuntia Polycantha outdoors over the winter months it would be a good idea to ensure the cactus is well covered with snow load. Many growers will cover their Opuntia, Sedums and Sempervivums (all cold hardy Succulents) all with leaf litter from fall, prior to the snow fall of winter. Then simply covering your Opuntia with snow as the cold temperatures roll in to ensure they are well insulated.
For growers intending to keep their Opuntia indoors over winter in a Northern zone, it would be recommended to supply them with a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight over the short winter days. Either from a South or West window or a grow light.
Known for having Vibrant flowers, it's easily a highlight of the cold hardy Opuntia. Ranging from White, Yellow, Orange, Red and even purple, these flowers can develop up to 4" in Diameter with dozens of buds on a plant depending on maturity. When grown outdoors in Northern Alberta, you can expect to see your Opuntia flower in the month of June or early July depending on the spring temperatures.
To encourage blooming, we strongly recommend a blooming additive mixed into the container or soil around the cacti.
We recommend a Cactus Fertilizer, or at the least, a diluted All Purpose plant food. For simplicity, a low dose 4-4-4 soil additive would work quite well. Fertilizing through the growing season will help keep your Opuntia Cactus Paddles vibrant in color, allow new paddle growth and flowering. The growing season for these Opuntia paddles in our climate (Northern Alberta) is quite short, so being sure to feed your Opuntia well will help ensure you can enjoy seeing new growth and flowers in our short season.
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