Opuntia macrocentra: How to Grow and Care for Black-spined Pricklypear, Purple Pricklypear

Opuntia macrocentra Black-spined Pricklypear, Purple Pricklypear

Scientific name: Opuntia macrocentra

Common name: Black-spined Pricklypear, Purple Pricklypear

A large cactus shrub spreads out before growing tall in an outdoor garden. There are large green pads with purple stems. The pads can turn purple when stressed out. There are red flowers in the Spring.

Quick Look at Opuntia macrocentra

  • Full sun
  • Typical water needs for a succulent. Keep dry in the Winter
  • Plant grows up to 3′ (90 cm) tall
    Plant grows up to 6′ (180 cm) wide
  • Zone 11a (Minimum 10°F | -12.2°C)
  • Not cold hardy
  • Propagation by stem cuttings and seeds
  • Generally non-toxic to people and pets. Be careful around spines
  • Winter Dormant

General Care for Opuntia macrocentra “Black-spined Pricklypear”

Opuntia macrocentra “Black-spined Pricklypear” is an excellent rock garden. Its flowers attract hummingbirds.


Opuntia macrocentra “Black-spined Pricklypear” has typical watering needs. The “soak and dry” method will allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Where to Plant

The black-spined Pricklypear can be cold hardy down to 10F. It does well in both full and partial sun.

You can plant in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, place a room that gets a lot of sunlight near a southern-facing window.

How to Propagate Opuntia macrocentra “Black-spined Pricklypear”

Stems or seed can be used to grow the Opuntia macrocentra.


To grow a black-spined prickly pear, use a sterile knife or pair of scissors. Allow the main plant’s stem to callous for several days before placing it on well-draining soil. Water whenever the soil has dried out.

To learn how to properly grow cacti, take a look at this post.


To grow Black-spined Pricklypear from seeds, sow your seeds in a well-draining soil. If you live in a zone above 9a you can grow Opuntia seeds outdoors. If you live in a cooler area, you can sow indoors under a grow light or on a seed mat.


  1. Opuntia macrocentra (Black-spined Pricklypear, Purple Pricklypear) – Wikipedia

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