Prickly pear

How to water

Prickly pear irrigations should be done when the soil is dry. Usually, in fact, during the spring and summer it must be watered only once every six or seven days, while during the autumn and winter it must be watered once every thirty days, clearly evaluating according to the temperature. If the temperature drops a lot on winter days, make sure you keep the soil dry. Always avoid the formation of stagnant water in the saucer since these are not tolerated and inevitably lead to rotting of the roots. If, on the other hand, it is grown in the open field, care must be taken during the planting, not to place it at the bottom of the valley or in earth ditches, especially if the area is rainy.

How to cultivate

It is common to think that succulents such as prickly pear grow quietly even if not properly cared for. This does not correspond to reality as they need attention. They are able to live even neglected but, certainly, not to produce to the best of their abilities. It is enough to dedicate a little time weekly to obtain a very satisfactory growth and fruiting from these. They are usually grown in the fields but also in pots. They need a lot of light, in every season, with a direct exposure to the sun and oriented towards the south. They tolerate temperatures that reach extreme heat, but suffer with temperatures that drop below freezing. If they are kept at home, they should be placed near a window, in order to ensure proper ventilation.

Fertilization and scozzolatura

The prickly pear plant should be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer in spring and throughout the summer, doing this once a month. During autumn and winter, you must not fertilize as the fig goes into vegetative rest and does not need fertilizer, which would accumulate in the earth and damage the roots. To optimize growth and flowering, add a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, iron, copper and zinc, essential elements for proper plant development, to the water. Another operation to be carried out is the scozzolatura, or the elimination of the flowers that blossomed during spring, to make the fruits coming from the second flowering grow, which occurs during the summer period, producing larger fruits with a better taste .

Prickly pear: Fruit picking and pruning

Usually the prickly pear begins flowering at the beginning of the summer period and continues throughout the summer. The fruits are harvested as they ripen using specific protections or using shaped canes and shears to eliminate the risk of stings and wounds. Since they are collected, it is not necessary to touch them by hand before having carefully washed and cut them, in order to remove the skin covered with thorns. At the end they can be eaten fresh or kept in the refrigerator, for other uses and elaborations such as jams or sweets. As for pruning, it is carried out during the spring by cutting blades that are damaged or that touch each other. They are eliminated to give the plant a suitable shape that conforms to breeding, especially if it is grown in the field.

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