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

Use of Century Plant bloom as indoor decoration
December 09, 2008 - Mr. Smarty Pants, After living in Arizona and now San Antonio, I am in search of a Century Plant Bloom. I cannot have an evergreen because my cats climb them. I would shellac the stalk and blooms a...
view the full question and answer

How do cacti stay in ground
February 25, 2005 - How do cacti stay in ground? I know that flowers stay in the ground by their roots but what about cacti?
view the full question and answer

Succulents for 9150 feet in New Mexico
March 04, 2008 - What succulents could grow in Angel Fire, New Mexico, at an altitude of 9150 ft.in a northwestern windy exposure in rocky-ish soil? Are there any that are perennials? Thank you.
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

Eliminating yuccas from yard in Woodinville, WA
August 21, 2008 - My plant areas are being overrun by Yucca plants. They are also growing and destroying my asphalt driveway. How can I get rid of some of them permanently?
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