Jumping Cholla- It Bites, But It`s Adorable

Jumping Cholla Cactus

In a cacti world, there are some pretty spiky species. Then, there are ones to go off their way to defend themselves. One of those species is Cylindropuntia Fulgida, also known as Jumping Cholla cactus. Native to the Colorado Desert, the Sonoran Desert and some parts other parts of South West USA, this succulent is one of the spikiest and most dangerous looking ones we learned about so far.

Jumping Cholla– Taught Survivor

Jumping Cholla Cactus Flower

Jumping Cholla is a tree-like one, with a main cylindrical trunk holding numerous, low drooping branches. It can grow up to 15 feet (4.5 m) tall and get up to 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter. The entire body of Jumping Cholla is covered in wart-like projections. Instead of leaves, this cactus has 1 inch (2.5 cm) long spines coming out of areoles. The plant looks like it has spines over spines over spines because there are 6 to 12 of them in each areole. Thanks to the extremely thin sheath, spines reflect light which makes Jumping Cholla’s appearance more interesting with gold, silver, tan or white hues. This spine coverage acts as a defense mechanism against predators, but also as a protection from overheating in the harsh desert sun.

Jumping Cholla blooms in February and March with yellow-green flowers shooting up from the edges of the branches. After flowering, the plant produces pear-shaped, red, wrinkled fruits with few spines on them. The common name of this cactus originate from the ease the stem can break off and “jump” at anything near the plant. This can also be perceived as a defense mechanism. Predators in its natural habitant really don’t like the spikey Jumping Cholla all over their fur. Therefore, you won’t like it either. Since this cactus is so defensive, you should be extremely careful when handling it.

Grow and Care Tips

Since Jumping Cholla is a typical desert species, it will thrive on neglect. It doesn’t need a lot of care and you’ll do this best if you forget about it. All you have to do is provide a perfect soil. Here`s where this cactus is particularly picky. Jumping Cholla needs a well-balanced soil mix, since its quite prune to root rotting. One that’s too acidity or alkalinity will destroy the roots and kill the plant. When picking the soil for planting, go for the mix with between 6.0 and 7.5 pH.

Every else growing condition is pretty easy to achieve. Jumping Cholla loves full sun and it will do best in at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Also, its very drought-resistant. Youll have to water it lightly during the summer and go in with a few drops every now and then during the winter. Jumping Cholla will also appreciate little extra help with growing and staying healthy. You can add some mild granular fertilizer from time to time to keep it happy.

Jumping Cholla Cactus Stuck On The Shoe


Remember that “jump” thing we talked about? When the stem breaks off? That’s the reason Jumping Cholla propagates so easily. Some will say a bit too easily. However, with this cactus, you won’t even need to make a cut or deal with a whole bunch of painful spikes for too long. All you have to do is break off the piece of brunch and place it in fresh soil with a little bit of moisture. There’s no need for you to wait for the part to callus. In their natural habitat, Jumping Chollas paper propagating like crazy just by sending off the pieces of the branches. Therefore, you should be careful not to end up with an invasion of this cactus. Make sure you remove all of the “jumpers” you don’t want to see growing up to mature plants. 

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