So why on earth would you want to grow something prickly... why not?!?! The Eastern Prickly Pear is a very attractive cacti with cold tolerance, heat tolerance, drought tolerance, and the pollinators absolutely love them in late spring/early summer; not to mention the wows people give out too. The best thing is they are native to the eastern United States so they have conquered heat, humidity, and drought. The only thing they don't tolerate is wet soils. So if you have a sandy soil or well draining clay you are good to go. Have a dry spot that sucks the life out of other plants even better. Looks best in the front of the garden or in a naturalized setting. Doesn't self seed much, but can be grown from rooting the pads. Very long lived perennial. Fruits produced in early summer are good on salads. The pads can be pan seared to remove spines and they taste similar to cucumbers. Spines do imbed into your skin when pads are touched during active growing season; use of gloves is recommended. Best time to shape them is in late winter.
Mature Plant Size: 12"-18" Tall, 24" Spread(average three year old plant from rooted pad), Some ten to fifteen year old stands are up to 3' tall and equally as wide. Plant in picture is five years old.
Bloom Time: May/June
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Type/pH: Well-drained/6.0-7.0
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Plant Size: Unrooted pad(pictured), rooting instructions included
Fertilizer: A yearly dose of compost in late winter is normally sufficient, or you can use your favorite all purpose fertilizer. We don't recommend using liquid fertilizer with a high nitrogen analysis as they tend to flop when overfed.