How To Grow and Care For Austrocylindropuntia Subulata

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Austrocylindropuntia subulata belongs to the Cactaceae family. It is among 300 or so species that fall into the genus Opuntia, one of the largest genus in the family Cactaceae.

Austrocylindropuntia subulata with flowersPin

Austrocylindropuntia Subulata Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Austrocylindropuntia Subulata
  • Common Name(s): Eves Pin Cactus, Eves Needle Cactus, Long spine cactus
  • Synonyms: Opuntia subulata
  • Pronunciation: op-UN-shee-a Sub-yoo-LAH-tuh
  • Family & Origin: Cactaceae family, native to Southern Peru
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 9-10
  • Size: Can grow up to 12’ feet tall in its natural habitat
  • Flowering: Rarely produces red flowers
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Humidity: Normal home humidity
  • Temperature: 20° to 50° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Soil: Well-drained, loose mixture of potting soil
  • Water: Regular watering in summer, but avoid overwatering
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize with a weak water-soluble fertilizer once every month from spring to midsummer
  • Pests & Diseases: Fairly pest and disease resistant. It can be affected by root rot if overwatered.
  • Propagation: Can be propagated by cuttings
  • Plant Uses: Makes a great addition to a desert or xeriscape garden. It can also be grown in containers.

The Opuntia genus is further divided into subcategories based on the appearance of the stems. Awl cactus belongs to the Austrocylindropuntia group.

Unlike other cacti such as Beaver Tail or Prickly Pear Opuntia with large flattened stems or pads, this plant is characterized by cylindrical, branching trunks with small thorns and awl-shaped leaves.

The plant’s botanical name (Opuntia subulata) comes from the Latin word ‘subulate,’ which means ‘awl-like.’

This references the unique shape of this plant’s green leaves.

The Austrocylindropuntia subulata plant is native to Southern Peru and Bolivia and is now found from Southern Canada to South America and Argentina. 

It is considered an invasive species in Australia, East Africa, and Europe.

Ppuntia subulata monstrose gumbi that can live for many years given the proper living conditions.

This plant is not as commercially available as other cacti. It is found in mixed dish gardens or occasionally in specialty nurseries.

You may need to ask around a little to get your hands on it because it is not as common as other plants, request by the common name of:

  • Eve’s pin cactus
  • Eve’s needle cactus
  • Long spine cactus
  • Cane Cholla
  • Opuntia gumbi

Because it is relatively easy to care for, as a houseplant choice, it can look lovely as part of a more extensive garden or by a windowsill.

Austrocylindropuntia Subulata Cactus Care

Caring for an austrocylindropuntia subulata is relatively easy. This includes providing proper austrocylindropuntia subulata care to ensure healthy growth.

Size and Growth

In its natural habitat, the plant can grow up to 12’ feet tall.

However, when cultivated, it is much smaller and reaches a height of a mere 24”-30” inches tall. It has a branching growth with a medium growth rate.

The gumbi cactus plant grows best following its natural growth cycle of growing during the spring and ‘rests’ during the winters.

Flowering and Fragrance

Eve’s pin cactus flower is characterized by its stout, branched stems with oval growth and clusters of small yellowish-gray thorns or spines in the areoles.

The young stems produce awl-shaped greenish-yellow leaves, which give the plant its common name.

In the wild, the plant can bloom with red or burgundy-red flowers borne at the ends of the branches in mid-spring to mid-summer, but these are rare or often never produced in cultivation.

The blossoms also have yellow stigma and white bases and are then followed by red fruits covered with stinging hairs.

Light and Temperature

Place this light-loving plant in a spot with plenty of sunlight. During the summer months, a sunny spot with some direct sun in the garden is perfect for keeping the plants happy and healthy.

However, during its initial growth phase, the Eve’s pin flower grows best in the shade and is introduced gradually to full sun.

During winter, bring the plant indoors to avoid high temperatures. If grown outdoors, it needs to acclimatize to the warmer temperatures gradually.

If the Austrocylindropuntia subulata is growing indoors, Eve’s needle cactus grows well at room temperature without a lot of fuss. Just place it in a window with lots of light to keep the plant looking optimal.

Watering and Feeding

As a drought tolerant plant, the amount of water Opuntia Subulata Monstrose needs depends on the time of the season.

During the summer months, water and feed regularly. Decrease watering during the cooler months. The lower the temperature, the less water the plant requires.

Wait until the soil begins to dry out before watering again. Avoid keeping a saucer beneath the pot. You don’t want to let the roots soak in water.

Otherwise, it puts the opuntia gumbi cactus at risk of rotting roots.

The base turns black, and the plant will fall over. Plants will not come back from that kind of damage.

On the contrary, underwatered gumby cactus plants will shrivel up and no longer be firm.

Regular watering with a little care will rectify this condition.

Soil and Transplanting

Awl Opuntia cactus requires a well-drained, loose mixture of potting soil. An ideal combination is a potting mix of 25% to 50% pumice. Alternatively, you can use commercial cactus soil.

As the plant grows, it will need repotting. Springtime is the ideal time to repot and propagate the plant.

Grooming and Maintenance

Eve’s pin cactus succulents do not require much grooming. In the case of:

  • Unwanted stems
  • Minor outbreaks of rot

… cut the stems away with a clean, sharp knife.

Learn about the Eastern Prickly Pear – Opuntia Humifusa

Austrocylindropuntia Subulata Propagation

Subulata and Opuntia Subulata Cristata are best propagated through cuttings during the spring when plants grow. Take a cutting from the base of the plant and allow it to dry for a few days.

Once the cutting dries, place the shoots in individual pots filled with a cactus mix.

Be careful watering plants in this phase, and water only sparingly until the plant takes root.

Moreover, this mature plant can also be propagated through stem division and seeds.

Awl Cactus Pest and Disease Problems

Austrocylindropuntia Subulata is fairly pest and deer resistant and doesn’t typically experience issues.

However, it is sensitive to overwatering and underwatering.

When these are neglected, the appearance of the plant changes drastically.

The plant is susceptible to rot. The rot shows up as brown patches on the stem.

Easily deal with the rot by removing the stems with a clean and sharp knife.

Wear gloves to protect yourself from stinging fruits and sharp spines when handling this plant.

Suggested Uses For Austrocylindropuntia Subulata

This is a decorative cactus with a unique and interesting appearance. It looks beautiful when grown as container plants or a small tree and a potted specimen indoors or outdoors.

There are several popular cultivars as well.

  • Austrocylindropuntia subulata monstrose
  • Opuntia subulata cristata

Awl Cactus can also be planted along with other cacti in dish gardens or rock gardens as they add to the character of a garden.

Ancient Peru also widely cultivated this plant to make needles and fences.

Another option is to use its cousin plants, Cane Cactus and Sea Coral – both part of the Opuntia genus and grow beautifully alongside each other.

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