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Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia basilaris 'Baby Rita'

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Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia basilaris 'Baby Rita') at Bartlett's Farm

Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus

Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  10 inches

Spread:  24 inches

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  6

Brand:  Monrovia


A heat loving, dwarf selection with brilliant salmon flowers that bloom in spring; small, purple tinged, blue-green pads turn vibrant purple in winter; an exceptional accent for rock gardens or planters; needs good drainage and sandy or gravelly soils

Ornamental Features

Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus has salmon flowers at the ends of the stems from mid to late spring, which are interesting on close inspection. Its attractive succulent round leaves remain bluish-green in color with showy silvery blue variegation and tinges of purple throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus is an herbaceous perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should never be pruned except to remove any dieback, as it tends not to take pruning well. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus will grow to be about 8 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 5 years.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided. This is a selection of a native North American species. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Baby Rita Prickly Pear Cactus is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Rock  Garden  Groundcover  Container 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture 
Ornamental Features