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Opuntia outside?

cl.lockwoodcl.lockwood Posts: 19
Hi- I have this Opuntia (Microdasys?) that (despite trying several locations) isn't getting enough light in the house. The new growth it's been putting out keeps being thin and stretched. So, I'm wondering if I should try it outside??? My terrace garden (pic inc.) gets baking hot and lots of light. I keep reading conflicting things about having Opuntias outside, so I'm hoping someone might be able to set things straight for me. Is this variety hardy enough to stand life outside? I don't especially like to take plants in and out of the house because of the risk of bringing pests inside. I gather the main challenge is to prevent exposure to too much wet - esp. in winter, obvs. If this can be achieved, would this move be worth trying? (I managed to overwinter my tender plants and rot-prone succulent plants in that arch-shaped hood against the fence and that could offer shelter.) Or, are they just too vulnerable to rot? If it is worth trying, would it be advisable to re-pot in terracotta? Thanks!







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  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,662
    We had an Opuntia for many years in the top greenhouse (no heat) where it was planted in the soil and survived for many years. We had eventually to remove it...painfully...as it had hit the roof and we wanted to replant with vines.
    With the weather we are having you could take it oudoors and give it some full sunshine for 4 or 5 hours.
    It is not frost hardy outside.
  • cl.lockwoodcl.lockwood Posts: 19
    Hi. Thanks! That’s what weird - I thought I’d read some varieties, at least, could tolerate temps below freezing. Must be getting muddled! Thanks again!
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Posts: 2,536
    I bought this Opuntia humifusa (Prickly Pear) last year and it has been outside the whole time,even through the wet winter.Granted we had no frosts down here on the Island.
    It is planted in terracotta with a gritty compost.Seems to be doing very well right now and I think there are flower buds on it!


    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    edited May 2020
    Opuntia humifusa ought to be very hardy, it grows as far north as Canada, so should be able to tolerate UK conditions given very good drainage. A few other Opuntias can take frost but not winter wet, so might be OK in the rain shadow of the house or under an overhang. I don't think the OP's type is one of them.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • cl.lockwoodcl.lockwood Posts: 19
    Thanks for all the tips. Maybe I will have to take it for some spells in the sun then bring it in... Hmmmm...
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