Opuntia Species, 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


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona

Chandler Heights, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona(3 reports)

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Carlsbad, California

El Cerrito, California

Long Beach, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.... read more


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 time....now 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.


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...


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... read more