En Español

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

Monocarpic plants for Indiana
October 06, 2005 - We were in Hawaii this summer and became acquainted with the Silversword. This plant (according to what we were told) blooms only once in it's lifetime (of 50-70 years). Are you aware of any other pl...
view the full question and answer

Black rot at center of Agave from Clovis CA
May 12, 2013 - We have some beautiful variegated "Green & Cream" Agave plants in our cactus garden. One in particular has done quite well for several years and is the largest, about 18" tall & across, it has neve...
view the full question and answer

Root depth of opuntia
May 15, 2007 - What can you tell me about the depth of roots of the opuntia? Does it vary with different varieties or is there formula to estimate the depth according to the mature size or to the culture - garden ...
view the full question and answer

Winter damage to yucca in Winona MN
April 23, 2009 - This past winter was hard on my established yucca plant and most of the foliage has discolored and it is not very pleasing to look at. What should I do about the discolored portion? Should I remove ...
view the full question and answer

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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center