Prickly Cactus bloom a ‘jewel box of colors’


Spring has been pleasant this year. We have enjoyed some milder high temperatures, along with our constant breezes.

Together, they have made it nice to be outside, but now, into the first week of May, you know it is going to warm up quickly.

This year we enjoyed a long blooming season of our native “Yucca Treculeana”.

It seemed like their huge blooms of cream colored flowers lasted for well over a month this year and are now at the fruiting stage. Four-inch-long seed pods will provide a lot of food to our birds and other wildlife.

Our next colorful show along our highways will be the cacti that are now starting to bloom.

Throughout the state of Texas, these “Prickly Pear” cactus normally bloom yellow every year, but along highway 100, we get a special treat of a jewel box of colors that are blooming in reds, pinks, peach and sunset gold & yellow.

A week ago, after a pretty good rainy day, I was driving in between Laguna Heights and Laguna Vista and the colorful cactus blooms, against the bright blue sky background mixed with new green colors of fresh new foliage of all of the native trees made a beautiful sight to enjoy.

In that same stretch of highway I also see that our native “Agave Americana” aka Century plants are going into bloom next. They are sending up the large bloom spikes and will soon unfurl several yellow blooms.

Since we have been so dry lately, the one rainy day that we had last week did a lot for our native plants to continue growing and blooming and also helped all other landscape plants and trees in our neighborhoods to catch a break from our dry soils.

In fact, many larger plants, especially newly planted palm trees, are really having a serious problem with our soils being so hard and dry.

Many palm trees that have been put in over the last year as replacements for other palms that froze in the February 2021 freeze are suffering greatly from lack of water. Many of the suffering trees that I am talking about are the expensive, now popular “Phoenix Sylvesteris” palms that are cold hardy and it was evident that they survived the 2021 freeze last year as they showed that they can take some tough weather conditions, but they are suffering now from neglect.

New palm tree owners of the Phoenix Sylvesteris and the Texas tough Sabal palms along with many tropical Foxtail and Royal palm are not realizing that when a large plant like those, with root balls that range from one and a half to three feet in size, need to have water down to those same depths once they are planted.

The majority of the homeowners trust their automatic sprinkler systems to be taking care of this and they are not.

A sprinkler system will only keep the top three to five inches of soil wet. This is great for turf grass and smaller one and five gallon plants, but to water to the depth of two to three feet deep it takes a slow, deep soaking to provide this.

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