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OPUNTIA 'Super Rutila'

Image of Opuntia 'Super Rutila'

Jessie Keith

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

OPUNTIA 'Super Rutila'

Plant Common Name

Hybrid Pricklypear

General Description

This beautiful, compact, cold-hardy pricklypear was introduced by South Dakotan Claude Barr, a lifelong grower and advocate of hardy cacti. Probably a hybrid of Opuntia polyacantha, it forms dense compact clumps of small, flattened, cylindrical pads. In late spring and early summer it bears cup-shaped rose-pink flowers with a central flurry of golden stamens. Small, cylindrical, tan fruits follow the flowers. The pads - which superficially resemble leaves but are actually modified stem segments - are dotted with stubby, spirally arranged, downward pointing spines. The pads are mint-green from spring to fall but may become purple-tinged if drought-stressed. They wrinkle and turn grayish purple in winter.

This cold-hardy cactus prefers full sun. It requires relatively dry soil with average to poor fertility. It is less tolerant of harsh desert climates than are many other pricklypears. Propagate it by detaching and rooting the pads. This is a pretty, hardy cactus for rock gardens, particularly where it can be nested in rock outcroppings, out of the reach of children and pets. Although the pads are not foliage, they are treated as such in the following list of characteristics.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    4"-6" / 10.2cm - 15.2cm

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Rose

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Purple, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No