How to Care for a Prickly Pear Cactus

How to Care for a Prickly Pear Cactus

Use these instructions to care for a prickly pear cactus. this guide will tell you how to water your prickly pear cactus, its light, temperature, and humidity preferences; and any additional care your plant might need to help it grow.


Place your potted Prickly Pear Cactus on a southeast or west-facing window sill that receives full, direct sunlight in the spring through fall.  In the winter, find a bright indirect sunny area. Transition your Prickly Pear Cactus to the direct light in small increments in the early spring.


Water your Prickly Pear Cactus sparingly, almost to the point of when the plant begins to wrinkle. Then give it a good long drink with lukewarm water until you see it flow from the bottom into the saucer. Always empty the saucer of any standing water.  In the winter, you may only need to water 1-2 times when the plant is dormant. Avoid splashing water onto the plant.


Your Prickly Pear requires no additional humidity.


Keep the room temperature between 55-90 degrees. Keep the Prickly Pear away from heating or cooling vents, fans, heaters, and air conditioning units that cause fluctuating temperatures. In the wintertime, try to place your Prickly Pear in a cooler setting with plenty of bright indirect sunlight.


Before applying any type of plant food, make sure the soil is already damp-never apply to dry soil. Your Prickly Pear Cactus requires fertilizer once in the spring and once in the summer. Apply an all-purpose, liquid plant food diluted to half strength. Do not fertilize your Prickly Pear in the fall or winter when plant growth naturally slows.


When handling a Prickly Pear, it is suggested to use gloves or wrap the plant in something that the spines cannot puncture the skin.


Non-toxic to pets and children.  However, beware of the spines and thorns!