Botanical Name: Opuntia ficus-indica
Common Name: Indian Fig Prickly Pear  
Plant photo of: Opuntia ficus-indica
  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Succulent, Cactus


Height Range

6-12', 12-25'


Flower Color

Orange, Yellow


Flower Season

Spring, Summer


Leaf Color

Green, Light Green


Bark Color



Fruit Color

Purple, Red, Yellow


Fruit Season

Summer, Fall


Full, Half





Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Rocky


Soil Condition

Average, Poor, Well-drained


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Ranch, Spanish, Wild Garden


Accenting Features

Showy Flowers, Unusual Shape


Seasonal Interest

Spring, Summer


Location Uses

Background, Shrub Border, Foundation, Parking Strip, Swimming Pool, With Rocks


Special Uses

Filler, Mass Planting, Fire Resistant, Naturalizing


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: George Hull MSN
Photographer: Mountain States Nursery
  • Description

  • Notes

More tree like than other opuntias to 15'. Usually have no spines but some glochids can be found. Flowers are yellow to orange in late spring and early summer. Fruit is edible. Full sun. Must have good drainage. Frost sensitive to hard freeze. When they are young, the pads, or mopales of this cactus are used to make a delicious salsa, which is reputed to have beneficial health effects. The major pest and source of the red dye cochineal comes from a scale.
Planting: 1. Dig a hole 1" less the depth and 2 times the width of the container. 2. Fill hole with water, let soak. 3. Set root ball in hole. 4. Fill hole halway with native soil and water. 5. Finish backfilling hole, build basin and water.