Opuntia humufusa Germination
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Marc Favre
Posted on: February 9, 1999

The purpose of this note, is to seek information on the proper germination conditions for the Prickly Pear, "Opuntia humifusa". The only information that I could gather on my visit, is that it takes a long time to germinate (up to 2 years). I would like to know what are the ideal conditions to make sure that it germinates, i.e. pre-soaking, light conditions, soil richness, soil humidity, etc.

Fresh seeds of this cactus should be washed clean for 7 days and then dry stored for two years at 21 degrees Celsius before any attempt is made to germinate them. If you use GA-3 (gibberelic acid-3) the rate of germination can be increased from about 65% to 90%. ( to get the gibberelic acid add one cubic millimeter of dry 95% GA-3 to 6 drops of water. One cubic millimeter is about the amount of the powder that can be balanced on the 0.5 mm tip of a toothpick, using the type of toothpick that is pointed at both ends. This gives the optimum concentration of about 1000 ppm.)

Keep the soil evenly moist and warm while waiting for germination. Use a well-draining, sterilized soil as the germination medium.

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