Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 prickly pear
Opuntia fragilis

Low prickly pear
Opuntia humifusa

Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Problems with Agave americana in Comfort TX
November 09, 2009 - We have lost a huge agave americana and are not able to find out what to do for our others. The one we lost was rotted or eaten (beetles?) at the base and the whole thing just fell over. We have a l...
view the full question and answer

How can I eradicate 20 acres of cactus?
April 28, 2010 - Cactus eradication. I have about 20 acres that are covered to the point that it is not safe to walk on the property. What can I do? Are there classes out there for eradication?
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of yucca plants in Blanco, TX
May 12, 2009 - How does a person get rid of Yucca plants? We have four fig trees that do not bear figs, what do we need to do? We live in SE Blanco County, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Night-Blooming Cereus not Blooming
September 04, 2014 - I have a plant called a night-blooming cereus, which during the warm season, is supposed to have blooms that come out at night and close up but don't fall off when morning approaches. But my cereus h...
view the full question and answer

Succulents, wildflowers and grasses for Austin
June 09, 2010 - I live on a bluff over Lake Travis and am replanting two beds in front of my driveway with Mexican Feathergrass and Agave. What other grasses or wildflowers could I mix in with the Mexican Feathergra...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.