Shirley Bovshow - Edible Succulents & Cactus

Shirley Bovshow tells us about succulents and cactus plants that look great indoors and are also nutritious, delicious, and edible.

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)

It's high in fiber, antioxidants and known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Indeed, prickly pear cactus is popular in many areas of the world, particularly Latin America, where it is a native plant. The edible parts are the leaves or paddles, flowers, stems and fruit. Prickly pear cactus leaf is known as a “nopal” and is eaten whole (boiled or grilled).

Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra)

The elephant bush succulent plant is native to South Africa where it can grow up to 20 feet tall and is a favorite food of elephants! But why let the elephants enjoy all the omega 3 benefits! The elephant bush plant offers more omega 3 acids ounce for ounce than salmon! Don’t confuse this plant with the jade plant- they are from totally different families.

Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus Undatus)

Dragon fruit harvest season and I’m going to show you how to propagate this exotic plant and care for it indoors! The dragon fruit plant grows as a climbing epiphyte plant in the tropics, so although a cactus plant, this is not a desert plant! It has beautiful, fragrant white flowers that bloom for one night only! When pollinated, it grows an exotic, low sugar, high fiber fruit with white flesh and black seeds, or magenta flesh with black seeds. Dragon fruit can cost 5 dollars each but you can grow for much less! People love it in their smoothies!

How to Grow Dragon Fruit:

Use the wood tomato supports because they are strong. When starting new dragon fruit plants you can also use a sturdy wood stake.

  • Cut a leaf stem at the joint that is at least 8” inches or more. You will then set the leaf aside for a week so it can form a callus where it was cut.
  • Mark an up arrow on the leaf with a marker so you know what way is up and mark the type of fruit- red or white.
  • Submerge the prepared cuttings about 2 inches deep in a large container filled with moist potting soil.
  • Tie the cutting to the stake and add another one or two to grow together
  • Ready to take and grow indoors!

Care Tips for Dragon Fruit:

Place your dragon fruit plant indoors in a room with temperatures 65-80 degrees -away from direct sun (roots in 1 month)

  • Water when soil starts to feel dry to touch
  • After the plant roots, place indoors in a room with no direct sunshine (can burn leaves)
  • Grow indoors until spring then take outdoors. Place in full sunspot and fertilize once every 2 months with a balanced fertilizer with numbers like “6-6-6”

Fruit can grow in the first year!

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