Prickly Pear Cactus: Detect and combat diseases and pests

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No matter how robust prickly pears are, they are not immune to diseases and pests. But if you act fast, you can save the plants.

Prickly pears are not immune to disease

The prickly pear comes originally from America and was previously a cultivated plant of the Aztecs in today's Mexico. It is a robust plant that is not very susceptible to diseases and pests. Nevertheless, care mistakes can creep in or even make pests wide. As a rule, however, you get these problems quickly under control again. You just have to act on time.

Careful care - healthy prickly pear cactus

Decisive for a healthy and strong growth are the right location and moderate watering. Since it is a desert plant, you should avoid so much wetness! The prickly pear cactus needs dry, warm air to maintain its resistance. If the plant substrate is too moist or the humidity is too high, it can lead to rot and mildew. A tried and tested antidote: invert the prickly pear cactus. Before it gets into new substrate, let the root ball dry out in the air.

Casting and fertilizing the prickly pear - That's how it's done

What to do with brown and white spots?

Occasionally brown or rusty stains form on the leaves. The spots are visually not beautiful, but harmless to the plant. Keep an eye on the discoloration. However, if the discolored areas are whitish and feel soft, a fungus may be the cause. Mostly, too much moisture is at fault.


In a mushrooming the prickly pear is often beyond salvation. You can still try it with a special mushroom remedy, but the chances of recovery are unfortunately low. Better: remove one or more cactus ears as cuttings and grow new plants.

This is how you recognize and combat mealybugs

If you take good care of your prickly pear, a pest infestation is unlikely. If you want to prevent it, keep it dry, warm and sheltered, as too much moisture in the soil will affect its resistance. But beware: In winter quarters, the prickly pear cactus is often at particular risk if the humidity is too high or the room is too poorly ventilated. If, despite your efforts, lice spread on the cactus, there are effective countermeasures that you can take.

In an infestation with wool lice spread on the plant spiders, which resemble a cotton ball. That's where the name "Wolll├Ąuse" comes from. These suck out the sap and at the same time release a poison into the prickly pear cactus. The leaves then turn yellow and shrivel. In addition, the plant increasingly loses vitality.


Isolate the prickly pear so that the infestation can not spread to other plants. The best antidote is a plant protection product that contains neem oil. Such as. Bayer Organic Pest Free Neem (available here). This will prevent the lice from reproducing. The application must be repeated after two weeks. Only then can you be sure that all lice are destroyed.

Those who prefer to work with natural methods, use predators: ladybugs, parasitic wasps and lacewings eat lice and safely rid the prickly pear cactus.

This helps against sciarid mosquitoes

Scarids can cause damage to the young prickly pear cactus. The tiny mosquitoes initially feed on the soil and then attack the plant.


In a mosquito-infestation, a simple trick helps: with a layer of sand on the substrate, you prevent mosquitoes from settling and multiplying. In older prickly pears, however, this danger does not exist.


  • dry and warm location
  • little moisture
  • Repot cactus mold and let it dry out
  • Predators and neem oil against mealybugs
  • Sand layer against scary mosquitoes

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