a0c8c
Greener Thumb
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:00 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Cutting Cacti Spines?

I was wonderin what ya'll hink abotu cutting the spiens off a cacus? I have a small cacti about 3-4'' tall that I'm gonna grow indoors. My wife is concerned, worried about it being safe. Although I'm gonna keep it well out of my dog's reach, she still worries. I was wondering if I could cut the spines and not hurt it. The cacti in question is a prickly pear. I was thinking of maybe just cutting the long spines off or real short, but leaving the short ones alone. Or seeing if I could use a knife and carefully knock off all of htem. Whatever's best for it's health, even if it means cutting nothing.
Home Gardener from Austin, TX; by way of Iowa.

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

The skin of an opuntia cactus literally has to be scraped with a knife, if not peeled off, in order to remove all the tiny little glochid spines, which can actually be microscopic. Such scraping certainly would bruise the plant's skin and cause serious damage. JMO. [img]https://bestsmileys.com/clueless/4.gif[/img]
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

a0c8c
Greener Thumb
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:00 pm
Location: Austin, TX

What about just the long spines then, just to put my wife at ease.
Home Gardener from Austin, TX; by way of Iowa.

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

I don't think it would hurt the plant if you just clipped them off shorter, and didn't damage the skin of the plant. You do know, of course, that with opuntias, it's the little glochids that are the really nasty ones! Those little devils are really difficult to remove if you get stuck by them! :lol:

I once got thrown by a horse and landed right in the middle of a prickly pear cactus. I was removing ... and having others remove :roll: ... glochids from various parts of my anatomy for the better part of a year. :oops: :P

Maybe that's why, although I love cacti and have several, I do not own, nor do I care to own, any from the opuntia family. :lol:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

a0c8c
Greener Thumb
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:00 pm
Location: Austin, TX

I know good and well about the glochids, and so does my wife. We've both had our bad runins with prickly pears, but there still nice cacti to have around. Maybe I'll shorten the long ones, but either way I'm making sure it's gonna be well out of reach of anyone.
Home Gardener from Austin, TX; by way of Iowa.

Return to “Cactus Forum - Cacti Including all Succulent Plants”