En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - February 11, 2009

From: Warren, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Yuccas and prickly pears for Warren MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What type of yuccas and prickly pears will survive in the Detroit, Michigan area? Also, can I grow Santa Rita prickly pear in a pot?

ANSWER:

Last question first: Opuntia santa-rita (Santa Rita pricklypear) can grow to 7 ft. tall, in a large clump, and needs full sun. It is cold tolerant to the mid to low teens. Warren appears to be in USDA Hardiness Zones 5a to 6b, which means the average minimum temperature can range from -20 deg. to 0 deg. So, it would have to be in a BIG pot, indoors, in full sun to survive. For further information, see this Master Gardeners of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension website Santa Rita Prickly Pear. One thing we learned from that is that the glochids of this plant are very loosely attached and fly off when the plant is handled. The loose glochids are an irritant, can get into clothes and even be a breathing hazard. Frankly, we wouldn't want to be anywhere around that, indoors or out. It is native to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

We searched our Native Plant Database for species in the Opuntia genus, and found 23 species, of which two, Opuntia fragilis (brittle pricklypear) and Opuntia humifusa (devil's-tongue) are considered to be native to Michigan. Follow the links to each plant's page in our Native Plant Database to learn more about each one. At the bottom of the page, there will be a Google link to that plant, and you can search for more information.  

Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) is the only yucca we are aware of that is considered to be native to Michigan. It is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9, so you're safe there. See this Ohio State University website Yucca filamentosa for more culture information.

 

From the Image Gallery


Santa rita prickly pear
Opuntia santa-rita

Brittle pricklypear
Opuntia fragilis

Devil's-tongue
Opuntia humifusa

Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
April 07, 2012 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
view the full question and answer

Will a cut back yucca grow back in Lockbourne OH?
October 28, 2009 - I live in Ohio and recently I cut back all my plants to prepare for winter. I am wondering if my Yuccas will grow back. I cut them to ground level so only a little bit of the leaf is showing. I was...
view the full question and answer

Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
October 05, 2013 - How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?
view the full question and answer

Lesions on Agave Leaves in Spring Branch, Texas
January 14, 2011 - I have a giant Agave americana that was beautiful until recently. Several of the leaves have lesions, some of them quite drastic, on the last third of the leaf. What is causing this?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012 - I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center