Growing Opuntia With Long Spines


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Aug 3, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Md - Northern Neck Va
I live in an area with cold winters and keep sulcatas. I have one that is 24 years old that I've raised from a hatchling. I have raised others into adulthood but sent them to Florida when the females started laying eggs. I raise many different kinds of opuntia to feed them year round and over the years have found several spine-less plants that will survive my winters. But my favorite for spring and summer feeding has spines on the mature pads. The new growth pads are spine-less up to around 9 to 11 inches in size in most cases. Here is a pic of a new growth pad and a small mature pad from the same plant. Picture 002.jpg Walker my adult gets 2 of these each day at this size, Earlier in the spring when they are smaller he gets more pads along with everything else he eats. Later in the year when the plants stop producing new pads is when I start feeding the pads from spine-less plants. I'm posting this because I noticed more people in colder climates similar to mine and colder, are keeping sulcatas and cactus is a great food source for tortoises and some of the cactus with spines are hardy in colder wet areas than spine-less plants and easier to come by to start growing for future use.