Prickly pear cactus is a great addition to desert landscaping, as not only is it a low water use plant, the spring flower displays are a stunning reminder that cactus can add color as well as texture to your design. Not all cactus are created equal, if fact, some cactus from other parts of the world don’t want to live here. A hardy prickly pear choice for Tucson and Green Valley is the Beavertail Prickly Pear, Opunita basilaris.
Beavertail has lovely blue-green pads and stunning magenta flowers come spring. Use Beavertail to enhance existing desert landscaping, or where a bold texture is desired. Offsetting prickly pear with fine textured plants such as Desert Spoon or Beargrass, adds interest to landscaping.
Beavertail and all other cactus should never be placed on regular irrigation, but do keep an eye on new plants to make sure they are not drought stressed. Look for shriveled or puckered pads to tell you your cactus needs a drink. One drink, mind you, lasts a very long time, so do not water your cactus unless it needs water and then only one time until rains arrive.