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Cochineal cactus in the GardenTags plant encyclopedia

Opuntia cochenillifera syn. Nopalea cochenillifera

 

Cochineal cactus

Cochineal cactus is a treelike cactus which can grow up to 5m tall. The stems are mainly spineless. The plant has edible fruits and stems. In the past, the plant was grown as a host plant for the cochineal insects which were made into the red dye cochineal. It produces flowers in abundance which are narrow, erect, bright red coloured.

Contributed by @lovestogarden

 
plant Features
  • Cochineal cactus likes full sun to partial shade

    Full sun to partial shade

  • Cochineal cactus likes very little water

    Very little water

  • Cochineal cactus is frost hardy: 23f (-5°c)

    Frost Hardy: 23F (-5°C)

  • Cochineal cactus likes free draining and fertile

    Free draining and fertile

 
plant information

Common name

Cochineal cactus

Latin name

Opuntia cochenillifera syn. Nopalea cochenillifera

type

Flowering plant

family

Cactaceae

ph

5.0 - 7.5 Acid - Neutral

  • Light

    Cochineal cactus likes full sun to partial shade

    Full sun to partial shade

  • Frost

    Cochineal cactus is frost hardy: 23f (-5°c)

    Frost Hardy: 23F (-5°C)

  • Soil

    Cochineal cactus likes free draining and fertile

    Free draining and fertile

  • Water

    Cochineal cactus likes very little water

    Very little water

Plant & bloom calendar

  •  
    Best time to plant

full grown dimensions

The size of a fully grown Cochineal cactus is 1.80meters x 5.00meters 1.80 M 5.00 M

Opuntia cochenillifera syn. Nopalea cochenillifera

Cochineal cactus is a treelike cactus which can grow up to 5m tall. The stems are mainly spineless. The plant has edible fruits and stems. In the past, the plant was grown as a host plant for the cochineal insects which were made into the red dye cochineal. It produces flowers in abundance which are narrow, erect, bright red coloured.


Propogation by cuttings

From Early Spring TO Early Spring

Opuntia cochenillifera can be propagated from seeds or from pads. Growing Opuntia cochenillifera from pad is comparatively easy than seeds. To facilitate the rooting it is preferable to wait until the cuts are perfectly healed (about 1 – 2 week) before planting. Tuck them an inch deep on the ground or in containers. The rooting take place in a short time, usually in a month. Save the rooting pad from afternoon sun and water it when top one inch of soil seems dry.

 

Planting

From Early Spring TO Early Spring

Growing Opuntia cochenillifera on a sunny location allows the plant to thrive and fruit. It is a tropical plant so it loves warm exposure. However, it can withstand temperatures down to -10C but in areas with harsh winters it is good to plant it on a sheltered spot, near a wall or tall tree to protect it from cold drafts and fluctuation in temperature. If you’re living in a cooler climate, growing Opuntia cochenillifera in a container is the better option for you as it can only be grown on the ground where winter temperature remains above 10C.

 
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