Spineless Cactus, Spot #5

Mr. Burbank wrote that his work with cacti was "the most elaborate, the most expensive, the most painful and physically difficult, and most interesting single series of experiments I ever made.." (Harvest of the Years)
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The Large Spineless Cacti Display

Here we are at Spot #5. The large paradox walnut tree is directly behind us. Although this looks like one huge cactus, there are several actual plants in this area. Both major types of cactus, fruiting and forage, are represented here.

Much More About Cacti!!!

Although the Spineless Cactus didn't work out, it is still an amazing plant. In fact, in some restaurants during Luther Burbank's time, cactus was "trendy" food! To find out some absolutely amazing facts about the spineless cactus, click here!

Why Spineless Cactus?

Luther Burbank experimented for over 20 years, creating many new types of cacti (plural for cactus), trying to find the perfect spineless cactus. He thought that a cactus without spines would make excellent food for cattle. Cactus thrive in hot climates, so Luther Burbank thought that growing spineless cactus would be a great way to use the desert. Sad to say, this set of experiments never really worked out. Why? Well, Mr. Burbank did all his cactus experiments in Santa Rosa, which has a higher annual amount of rainfall than any desert. To grow, his spineless cacti wanted a lot more water than they would get in the desert.

Growing Your Own Spineless Cactus!

Spineless cactus are very easy to grow (if you have enough water!). To start a spineless cactus, you need one of the pads(officially called "thalli"). Plant the pad so that one third of its "bottom" is in well-drained soil. (It can be planted in a container, but after the cactus is established, it should be transplanted to the ground within a year's time.) Being a cactus, the plant needs a sunny, but not super hot, location. Don't water until the pad shows new green growth. When you do water from this point, do deep watering infrequently. With proper care, you'll have a spineless cactus in no time! (Planting info courtesy of Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Bob Hornback, Historical Horticulturist - 1990)

You have several tour options at this point. Click on your next destination from the list of locations given below:

Drought-Tolerant Garden, Spot #6

More Raised Beds, Spot #4.3

Info on the Lattice Fence

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