Question: Cure OPUNTIA
Hi, I have an opuntia plant (for photos see link below) that grows very high, despite being planted in a rather small pot, with the risk that it breaks due to the increasing weight of the upper part, compared to the stems. Do you have any idea why you are not 'getting bigger' but you are getting more and more upward?
In addition, I should repot and on this occasion I wanted to ask if it is worth cutting a part and cutting it, so as to prevent it from breaking (possibly where does it recommend?).
In the photo you will see in particular marked with red circles all new shoots born in the last month. He never made flowers.
If you have advice to give me to improve the plant, they are welcome.
Answer: Cure OPUNTIA
opuntia are cacti originating in the American continent, now widespread in most of the warm climate areas of the world, including the Mediterranean area; opuntia have a very particular development, their stem consists of articles, called cladodes, typically circular in shape in most species; the cladodes in Sicily are also called pale, and have a rounded shape, contrary to what happens to the stems of most plants, which have a cylindrical shape. The fact that your opuntia has such a strange development, which is noticeable even at a first glance at the plant, is not a good sign, and indicates an evident etiolation. Etiolation is the phenomenon whereby a plant tends to develop with too much space between the internodes. The cladodes of your opuntia first grow cylindrical, and then widen, to form the classic flattened and rounded blade. This type of event occurs due to the lack of light, so your plant is receiving an inadequate amount of direct sunlight, most likely because it is grown indoors and not outdoors; in addition to being elongated, the stems have a consistency not suitable for supporting the upper stems, and therefore the plant needs supports to remain standing. Consider that your plant should ideally live in a sunny place, in the open ground in the garden; not having an outdoor space, or living in an area where the winter climate is very humid and very cold, it is possible to grow an opuntia in a pot, but it would be better to keep it on the terrace; first of all because the light it can receive from a window is always poor compared to what it would receive outside in full sun; in addition to this, the climate in the house, always close to 20 ° C, even in the middle of winter, does not benefit your plant, which certainly likes the succession of seasons. So prepare to keep it outdoors all year round, covering it with non-woven fabric in the very cold months, if you live in an area with harsh winters; or you can place it in a very bright, poorly heated stairwell, or in a protected area of the terrace. Surely it is the case to save the plant by pruning it, in order to allow it to support itself; the cladodes that you will get from pruning, can be simply buried for a few centimeters, so that they root and give rise to new plants. Even young plants should be placed in full sun.