Opuntia reticulata cobra
Botanical Name — Opuntia reticulata cobra
Common Name — Opuntia cobra
Plant Family — Cactaceae
Opuntia reticulata cobra is a fun cultivar of the Opuntia species. Like other prickly pear species, it has branching pads. It’s scaly pads give it its cultivar name and make it an outstanding ornamental cactus. Most Opuntia species are native to Mexico and southwestern United States, but this monstrose cultivar was first grown in a nursery native to Europe. It’s low-maintenance and rarity among the houseplant community make Opuntia cobra a special and sought after gem!
- Opuntia cobra will grow in full sun to part shade. At least five hours of direct sun a day is ideal.
- These plants prefer warm temperatures and low humidity. They will thrive in temperatures above 70 ºF.
- During the winter months they’ll appreciate a cool down period with temperatures between 40 and 50 ºF, but they are hardy at temperatures as low as 25 ºF.
- Opuntia cobra are extremely drought tolerant. Water them thoroughly, fully saturating the soil. Always allow the soil to dry out completely in between waterings.
- If you are unsure whether or not the soil is dry, wait a few days before watering. It is much better to underwater than over water. Excessive moisture can quickly lead to root rot.
- These plants prefer a gritty, sharply draining mix. Use cactus soil or amend regular potting mix with sand and fine pumice up to 50% to improve texture and drainage.
- In desert climates these plants can be potted directly in the earth and grown outdoors year round.
- These plants do not require much fertilization. To give them a boost during the growing season fertilizer once monthly with a fertilizer formulated specifically for cacti and succulents.
- Only fertilize during the spring and summer. Cut back on fertilizing entirely during the winter months.
- Opuntia plants are easily propagated by stem cuttings. This plant produces many branching pads that can be separated and potted to grow new plants.
- Opuntia cobra are not especially prone to disease but they can fall susceptible to certain bacterial and fungal infections. Among the most common are prickly pear leaf spot caused by the Phyllosticta fungus, or root rot which can be bacterial or fungal. These diseases are often triggered by excessive moisture, so avoid overwatering and excessive humidity. These diseases are very difficult to treat. Affected plants should be destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Pests are not particularly common for this plant. Still, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for common pests such as scale and mealybugs.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Opuntia plants require very little maintenance. Container grown plants prefer to be rootbound and should only be repotted once every two to three years.
- Opuntia reticulata cobra are non-toxic to humans and pets.