Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Joseph's Coat, Irish Mittens
Opuntia monacantha var. variegata

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: monacantha var. variegata
Additional cultivar information: (aka Maverick)

Synonym:Opuntia monacantha f. variegata
Synonym:Opuntia vulgaris f. variegata
Synonym:Opuntia vulgaris var. variegata
Synonym:Opuntia vulgaris f. monstrosa

One vendor has this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By KactusKathi
Thumbnail #1 of Opuntia monacantha var. variegata by KactusKathi

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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Opuntia monacantha var. variegata by Xenomorf

By KactusKathi
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There are a total of 18 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Sugi_C On Sep 11, 2014, Sugi_C from Stockton, CA wrote:

My mother had this plant growing in all kinds of pots and in the ground in her yard at her new house. They looked interesting to me -- really colorful -- so I took about 5 cuttings of this plant home and stuck them into gritty mix.

That was about a year ago.
They've since been split into two different pots, and one pot has since been repotted yet another time. They are MASSIVE growers, adding great color to your landscape without any fuss at all. From afar, they are just rather magnificent, and up close, it's a tad ugly but mighty interesting.

Be forewarned, if you even skim by this plant, you'll end up with a whole school of little thorns in your hand, clothing or whatever. I wear two rubber gloves on each hand to even begin messing with this plant.

Also note that while this plant is now growing rapidly in a zone 9 area that also hits 100+ almost daily over the summer, I had it previously in San Francisco. The growth rate, naturally, was nowhere near as fast, but it never even once seemed to flinch from the cold and cloudiness.

Hardy little thing with a massive root system. You can just snap off sections and stick it in another pot, and sooner rather than later, it's rooted and growing a "pup".

Negative Krskac04 On Oct 19, 2013, Krskac04 from Peoria, AZ wrote:

A friend bought me a josephs coat cactus to begin my "friends" garden. At first it did really well..several months it seems to be really drooping and the stalks (?) bending over with a puckered look. I would think it's not getting enough water?? I live in Goodyear AZ which gets very little water year round. How much and how often should I be watering this cactus since I can't rely on rain water? Phoenix and the east side get a lot of rain but we only get 2-3" of rain a year if that.

Neutral RICAD01 On May 31, 2013, RICAD01 from Downingtown, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Just acquired about a dozen of these plants kind of strange looking large sturdy plants. They look relatively healthy. Have planted 2 already and will plant the rest to see how they fare in Southeastern Pennsylvania weather...

Positive JohnLFox On May 13, 2012, JohnLFox from Mesa, AZ wrote:

We bought a small plant from Home Depot about 4 years ago (2008). It was planted in our front yard and gets full Arizona sun, which can be quite distressing to plants in the summer. The plant was very slow growing, and very often I thought it was on the edge of dying as the pads would wrinkle. I'd give it a healthy dose of water and it would seem to revive. My guess is that it needs to build up reserves in what become the stems. Once that process is completed, the natural rain that occurs in Mesa was enough to keep it healthy, which is about 6-7 inches per year. It gets no other source of water at this time.

This year was the first year it bloomed and produced a few very delightful small yellow flowers. We are probably going to relocate it further back in the yard this fall as I did not realize it has the possibility of getting so tall.

At first, my wife thought it was quite an ugly little cactus. But now that it has matured and developed a nice stem system, and started to flower, she has changed her mind. I always thought it was a very nice cactus, I only mention it to note that it does change character a bit once it develops.

I find the variegated pads quite a nice contrast to our other cactus, and when the new pads come in they have beautiful edge of striking red buds aureoles where the new spines eventually develop. I think this cactus is a nice addition to our garden which needed a little color. It is not overwhelming in it's color, just a nice extra touch.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona
Chandler Heights, Arizona
Goodyear, Arizona (3 reports)
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Carlsbad, California
Pleasant Hill, California
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
Stockton, California
Bartow, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Lucedale, Mississippi
Dallas, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
Seadrift, Texas

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