A rose cactus is a type of cactus that resembles a shrub. It is found from Mexico to South America, but may also be grown in the southern United States. The plant has pink flowers that first appear in early spring and last throughout the summer. Other names for this plant are Pereskia grandifolia, Ora Pro Nobis, or Pray-For-Us.
Unlike most other types of cactus, a rose cactus has a bushy appearance. It can grow anywhere from four to 20 feet (1.22 to 6.1 m) high. This cactus can also spread up to 10 feet (3.05 m) wide. It is a deciduous plant, which means leaves are shed in the fall.
The leaves of an Ora Pro Nobis are usually dark green and waxy. This cactus has long, pointed thorns which protrude from the stems of the plant. For this reason, it is often difficult to pick the flowers or prune a rose cactus to the desired size or shape.
Blooms and new leaves first appear at the beginning of spring. These blossoms are pink, red, or occasionally white. They are characterized by four large petals and a yellow center. In autumn, these flowers turn into pointed, knobby fruit that somewhat resemble an apple or pear. The fruit contains seeds that can be replanted in order to grow new specimens.
Although a rose cactus prefers full sunlight, it can also thrive in areas that are partly shaded. It does well in both acidic and alkaline soils. Due to the size of the plant, it should not be planted near buildings, other large plants, or power lines. Unlike most varieties of cactus, this species needs to be watered regularly. For best results, the area around the plant should stay damp but not soaked.
The rose cactus is native to countries in Central America, South America, and Mexico. It also grows well in warmer areas of the southwestern United States. Other areas of the world with warm and dry climates may also be suited to growing this type of bush.
A rose cactus is a hardy plant that tolerates a variety of conditions. Also a fast-growing shrub, it can soon get out of hand if not cut back often. The fact that it grows to be very tall and has spiked thorns could make it ideal for planting around the perimeter of a garden to keep away unwanted animals. Doing so might also produce the added benefit of bringing bees and butterflies to an area to pollinate flowers and vegetables.