Santa Rita Cactus
Opuntia santa rita
1 gallon; 2-3 gallon; 5 gallon
Full Sun; Reflected Heat
4' x 6'
April - June
Although this colorful cactus doesn’t show its yellow blossoms until late spring, the rich purple pads provide plenty of winter interest. During the warmer months, the pads are a soft blue-grey color. Mix the purple prickly pear with shrubs and perennials for a softer effect. It is quite spiny, so set it well back from high-traffic areas.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.