Thursday, September 10, 2009

negelected prickly pear

Most of us have one of THOSE spots in the yard. It's that spot between the fence and the shed, or behind the garage. That place where you shove things until you can deal with them later, and then the classic adage, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," kicks in and you just plain forget about it.

Or maybe you remember it, when you're shoving something else out there, and you think, "Oh, that's right, I wanted to do something with that..." then you walk away and forget it all over again.

This is what happened here... This started out as a small seedling of Optunia humifusa that someone gave me, and I shoved in this pot and shoved it in a location out of sight, between the house and the pillar that holds up the 4 foot wide eave of the house....

Now, somebody gave me this little seedling 4 years ago. And it's been sitting there, on top of 1 inch of dirt, in the shade of the eaves without any water and totally negelgted. Not bad, huh?

Of course, the pads have stunted to about 1 inch wide, and it's fading to yellow... but it is surviving and I'll probably do something with it eventually... Which is pretty much what I said 4 years ago.

Optunia humifusa is a prostrate cactus that spreads through fields, never getting more than one pad high. The newer pads root where they touch the ground, and the old pads usually die off... It does have very pretty sulfer yellow blooms, and light pink fruits that birds like but aren't really edible for people. Varieties of this species grow throughout the US and into Canada.

I've seen fairly nice displays where they're used as a ground cover, but the habit of the old pads to turn brown and die off, means that it requires maintenance, and the spines and rather viscious glochids on this species make maintenance a painful proposition... which is probably why I stuck it in the corner and tried to forget it.

But, this guy has proven himself very resilient, and I'll probably reward him with a real pot and real dirt and hopefully, he'll end up looking decent.


  1. Glochids. Thanks for a new word. You'll be pleased to know I found a collection of various succulents--not identified--at Target for 10 bucks. It's about a quart size clay pot with four different plants in a mixture of soil and fine gravel. The only one I know for almost-sure is a jade plant--hey, I'm learning. I'll try posting about it soon so I can find out what the rest of them are. One thing I've found out about those prickly pears in the wild: they push back when shoved.

  2. What a little cutie-pie! Please do reward this cactus...soon! LOL! It will be adorable in it's new home with some colorful top gravel! Blue would be nice! Hee hee hee!

  3. Claude- I have a forgotten pot with two throw-away cacti-remember I had a bloom on one last year? It's still there negelgted....

  4. Seems to be a common thing with cactus. I've done it a few times myself!

  5. Even though I just started gardening, I've already succumbed to the out of site out of mind ritual.