If you like plants, the desert, or just being outside in general, take a look at the adorably ferocious Teddybear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii).
In this article, we will explore the characteristics and habitat of the Teddybear Cholla, as well as its cultural significance and potential uses.
in this article:
About Cylindropuntia bigelovii
The Cylindropuntia bigelovii (Teddybear Cholla) is a slow-growing, small erect tree-like cactus commonly found in the Southwestern United States. It is easy to grow and drought tolerant. This cactus is known for its distinctive appearance, with its dense covering of spines resembling a teddy bear’s fur. It is also recognized for its unique ability to detach from its stem and attach to animals or any unsuspecting passersby, earning it the nickname “jumping cholla.”
A mature plant will have a few central stems that are covered with short, stiff bristles that form dense clumps along its length.
Teddybear Cholla Care
The Teddy Bear Cholla is a slow-growing plant that requires little maintenance. Amateur cactus enthusiasts can grow the Teddy Bear Cactus in a container or garden bed.
In its natural habitat, it receives direct sunlight for most of the day, with little protection from the hot desert sun. As a result, the cactus has adapted to thrive in these conditions and can tolerate extended periods of direct sunlight.
t is best to provide a well-draining soil mixture that mimics its natural habitat in a domestic setting. A cactus potting mix, which is readily available at most gardening stores, would be a good option. Alternatively, you can create your own mixture by combining equal parts of sand, loam, and compost.
It is important to avoid using heavy, clay-based soils, as they retain too much moisture and can lead to root rot.
During the growing season, which typically occurs from spring to fall, the cactus should be watered deeply and allowed to dry out completely before watering again. In the winter, when dormancy is in full swing, watering can be reduced to once every few weeks or as needed to prevent the soil from completely drying out.
The best temperature for a cactus is between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees, it will begin to lose its color and stop growing.
The Teddybear Cholla is native to the desert, where humidity levels are low for much of the year. As a result, the cactus is adapted to grow in these dry conditions and does not require high humidity levels to thrive. High humidity levels can lead to problems, such as root rot, which can harm the cactus.
Cactus fertilizer is specially formulated to provide the cactus with the essential nutrients it needs in a form that is easy for the plant to absorb.
It is typically applied at half the recommended strength and applied every 2-4 weeks during the spring season. It is important to avoid overfertilizing the cactus, as this can lead to excessive growth and other problems.
The Teddybear Cholla is a slow-growing cactus and does not require frequent pruning. In fact, it is best to avoid pruning the cactus unless it is necessary. If pruning is necessary, it should be done carefully, using a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears.
Potting and Repotting Teddybear Cholla
The Teddybear Cholla is a slow-growing cactus and does not require frequent repotting. In fact, it is best to avoid repotting the cactus unless it is necessary, as this can stress the plant and hinder its growth. If repotting is necessary, it should be carried out carefully in the spring, when the cactus is starting its new growth cycle.
How to Repot (Step-by-Step)
- Water the cactus thoroughly the day before repotting to make removing it from its current pot easier.
- Gently remove the cactus from its current pot and shake off any excess soil.
- Trim any damaged or diseased roots using a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears.
- Place the plant in a new pot slightly larger than its current pot, using a well-draining soil mixture such as a cactus potting mix.
- Firm the soil gently around the plant to secure it in place.
- Water the plant thoroughly after repotting, and then place it in a location that receives plenty of sunlight.
- Monitor the plant closely for the first few weeks after repotting, and water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Propagating Cylindropuntia bigelovii by Stem Cuttings (Step-by-Step)
The Teddybear Cholla can be propagated through stem cuttings. To propagate the cactus through stem cuttings, follow these steps:
- Using a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears, take a stem cutting from a healthy portion of the Teddybear Cholla, making sure to include at least two segments with a joint.
- Allow the cutting to dry out for a few days until a callus forms over the cut end.
- Fill a small pot with a well-draining soil mixture, such as a cactus potting mix.
- Plant the cutting in the soil, making sure to bury the joint at least 1-2 inches deep.
- Water the cutting thoroughly, and then place it in a location that receives a good amount of sunlight.
- Monitor the cutting closely and water as needed to keep the potting medium slightly moist but not soggy.
- Once the cutting has rooted and established itself in the soil, it can be gradually acclimated to direct sunlight and treated as a mature Teddybear Cholla plant.
The Teddybear Cholla is known for its beautiful, showy flowers, which bloom in the spring and summer. The flowers are typically yellow or green in color with a dash of purple mixed in. They are produced on the ends of the cactus’s stems and are surrounded by a ring of spines, which provides protection for the flowers.
The Teddybear Cholla is not known to be toxic to humans or animals. However, it is imperitive to note that the plant’s spines can be sharp and can cause irritation or injury if they come into contact with the skin.
NOTE: This page is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. The toxicity of an ingested substance varies depending on the amount ingested, the animal’s weight, and its sensitivity to specific allergens. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance.
The Teddybear Cholla is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, like other cacti, it can be susceptible to attack by certain pests, such as mealybugs and aphids, which feed on the plant’s tissue and can cause damage.
These pests can be treated with rubbing alcohol or neem oil solution. If using insecticide, it is important to apply it carefully, making sure to cover all areas of the cactus and avoid disturbing the plant’s flowers or fruit.
Additionally, regular cactus monitoring can help identify pest infestations early, allowing for timely treatment and preventing the pests from causing significant damage.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy