Fat plants

Opuntia, Prickly Pear - Opuntia robusta


it is a genus that includes a large number of species - originating in the desert areas of North and South America - which can reach even large dimensions (up to 6 meters). The opuntiae may have both an erect and creeping habit, they have cylindrical or globular branches which are usually flattened and have scattered areoles all over the branch, with very annoying very fine spines called glochids. These plants produce wheel-shaped inflorescences, with very bright colors that subsequently give rise to fruits that are almost always edible, with a rounded shape (a classic example is the prickly pear).


the best conditions for the growth of the Opuntia are the temperate ones, not bearing the temperatures below 4-5 °. For this reason it is often cultivated in apartments, where the most important factor will be light, which should be possibly direct and with a prolonged exposure time. Being a typically desert plant, it does not tolerate atmospheric humidity and it is therefore good to prefer places that are sufficiently ventilated to prevent mold and disease.


it is done once a year in the spring period, it must be done with specific products and in fairly bland doses.
Given the large number of existing varieties we divide for convenience in sub-genres that differ from each other both in the shape of the branches and in the bearing of the plant.

Opuntia bigelowii

With an upright habit, this plant can also have a considerable height, the shape is that of a tree with several branches starting from the central trunk. The spines of light color are quite long (3-4 cm) and, over the years, they can also take on a darker color. The inflorescence is white yellow and the fruit is yellow.

Opuntia ficus indica

Coming from the desert areas of Mexico and now present in the hottest areas of our country. The shape is that of a tree with large branches starting from the base, the branches are flattened to form large blades. Edible fruits are reddish yellow in color and covered with glochids. It can reach even large dimensions and grow in extreme conditions.

Opuntia, Prickly Pear - Opuntia robusta: Opuntia microdasys

This plant, smaller than the previous ones, finds its origins in Mexico and reaches a height of one meter. Very cultivated for its aesthetic appearance, it is mainly used for compositions both for its coloring and for the excellent contrast it offers with other succulent plants. Usually the plant has no thorns but is covered with glochids that guarantee the protection of the plant.