Opuntia miquelii

Synonyms:

Austrocylindropuntia miquelii
Austrocylindropuntia miquelii var. jilesii
Cylindropuntia miquelii
Miqueliopuntia miquelii f. flava
Opuntia geissei
Miqueliopuntia miquelii
Opuntia miquelii var. jilesii
Opuntia pulverulenta
Opuntia rosiflora

Habitat:

O. miquelii is native to Chile North where the plant grows up to 1500 m of altitude. The species is widely distributed in the desert of the northern Chile.

Description:

O. miquelii is a rare cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The stem is erect, cylindrical, branched and green-bluish in color. The stem is made of fleshy segment and each one is arranged of high tubercles flattened laterally. The plant can reach up to 1,5 m in height with segments 7-20 cm long. From the circular areoles protrude 8-16 long and thick brownish spines, and in the upper part of the areolas are the glochids. Glochids are very sharp specialized short hair like spines that define the characteristic, only of the subfamily, Opuntioideae, of the family Cactaceae. Only when the plant reaches maturity does it begin to flower. The flowers are cup-shaped, from pink to white, 8 cm long borne at the apex of the stem. The fruits are spherical, green, covered with spines and the seeds are yellowish white.

Cultivation:

This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure 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 soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: 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 cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil.

Propagation:

The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings. 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. It is also possible to propagate the plant by seed but the seed germinates very difficultly.

Curiosity:

Opuntia was named after “Opunte”, the capital of Locride region in ancient Greece.

Official Web Site:
www.giromagi.com

Italian Blog:
www.giromagicactus.com

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