Opuntia inamoena var. flaviflora
Opuntia inamoena f. spinigera
Platyopuntia inamoena f. spinigera
Opuntia inamoena is native to Brazil Northeast and Brazil Southeast where the plant grows in rocky outcrops or in sandy soils and can spread up to 1550 m of altitude.
Opuntia inamoena is a common shrubby cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has a prostrate, clumps forming habit and can reach up to 50 cm in height. The stem segments, called cladodes, are greyish-green, round to obovate, flattened and thick. The roots are fibrous, taproot and deep, specialized to store water. The pads are covered with small, grey to yellow areoles. The areoles when young are filled with minute yellowish-brown glochids. The glochids are short spines, barbered at the tip, extremely hurtful and a characteristic, only of the subfamily, Opuntioideae, of the family Cactaceae. The plant is usually spineless and harmless although the glochids. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the early summer and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the cladodes. The flowers are bell-shaped, very large, showy, ranging from brick red to orange outside and bright yellow inside. The flowers are diurnal and last for few days and the stamens are bright yellow. This plant has the most beautiful flowering among the plants of its genus and it is perfect to decorate and beautify your home. The fruits are globular berries, dark green in color, fleshy and edible.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 3°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The perfect soil is a well-drained soil that let the water to drain away and avoid root rot. To achieve this feature, you can mix the pumice soil, clay and soil. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. You should repot the plant every 2 years in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
Opuntia was named after “Opunte”, the capital of Locride region in ancient Greece.
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