Watering and fertilizing prickly pear cactus - this is how you ensure vigorous growth

Prickly pear cactuses usually don't need much care. However, you still need to water and fertilize them regularly. This is the only way to thrive and bear many fruits.

Prickly pear cactus do not need a lot of water As a typical desert plant, the prickly pear cactus only needs little water and rarely fertilizer. However, you should not leave it entirely to yourself, but regularly check the condition of the earth. Only with carefully metered watering and fertilizing does the prickly pear remain healthy, grow well and develop many beautiful flowers and fruits. It also prevents diseases and pests from spreading on the plant.

That's how much water the prickly pear needs

It is best to use rainwater or stale, soft or filtered tap water for watering. The water shouldn't be too cold.

Water requirements in summer:

If the plant is outdoors, it needs little water during the summer months. In high humidity, i.e. in rainy summers, you can almost completely do without watering. However, make sure that the prickly pear is protected from too much rain. If it is outdoors, heavy, long-lasting downpours can damage the plant. It also helps to check the plant substrate regularly. Only when the top layer has dried do you have to water moderately. Waterlogging must not develop, which is why drainage in the lower area of ​​the planter makes sense.

Water requirements in winter:

Before hibernation you have to water the prickly pear again. Again, make sure that there is no waterlogging. The plant hardly needs any water during the winter months. Only when the upper layer of soil is really dry, you can pour a little water.


Watering the plant too much in winter will start to grow atypically. The next summer, however, will not bloom.

Water requirement after planting / repotting / propagation:

As a desert plant, the prickly pear is used to little water. However, there is one exception: if you plant, propagate or repot the prickly pear, it must be watered vigorously. Then the earth should dry to the root ball.

Water requirements for indoor cacti:

Prickly pear cacti that stand on the windowsill in the room also need little water. Sunlight on the window can cause the plant to dry out faster than outdoors. With a regular look at the earth you can see when it's time for a little water.

How to properly fertilize the prickly pear cactus

The prickly pear is a frugal plant that needs little nutrients. A special cactus fertilizer is best suited for healthy growth and abundant blooms. This should be low in nitrogen and stressed in potassium. You can also use an inorganic fertilizer. This is always necessary when the plant looks “fattened”, ie it has thick, fleshy leaves. The prickly pear is then easily susceptible to disease. To prevent this from happening, the inorganic fertilizer helps to increase the salt concentration in the soil so that the plant can recover.

Fertilize every two to four weeks during the summer months from May to August.