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

Friday - March 04, 2011

From: Llano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Freeze damage on Barrel Cactus in Llano TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I believe my barrel cactus has freeze damage. The flesh turned yellow and is now turning dark. The base is still green. If I cut off the damaged top portion, leaving the green base, should it survive? This would take off 3/4 of the plant, leaving only about 3 inches above the soil. It is a single barrel, not branched.

ANSWER:

There are several plants with the common name "barrel cactus." Of these, Thelocactus setispinus (Miniature barrel cactus) is shown on its USDA Plant Profile  as growing in Travis County, which is relatively close to Llano. Another is Ferocactus wislizeni (Candy barrelcactus), which grows in Texas but only in two isolated counties, one in very far West Texas. Both cacti are indicated to be hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11. Travis County is considered to be Zone 8a and Llano County appears to be the same, so your cactus may be slightly out of its hardiness zone.

On this Arizona Cooperative Extension article on problems for cacti, scroll down to Page 5 where freezing problems are discussed. We found no conclusive advice on what to do with the damaged area; we would suggest you wait it out, see if the plant begins to put on new growth. Then, you can cautiously (those are SHARP spines) trim off the area you consider damaged beyond repair.

\

 

From the Image Gallery


Miniature barrel cactus
Thelocactus setispinus

Miniature barrel cactus
Thelocactus setispinus

Candy barrel
Ferocactus wislizeni

Candy barrel
Ferocactus wislizeni

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Should I remove the flowering stalk from my Dasylirion leioiphyllum?
March 23, 2009 - We transplanted a plant that is new to us but going through your photos on your website, it appears that we have a Dasylirion Leiophy. My question is this.. Are we supposed to cut the 6' stem that f...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012 - i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
view the full question and answer

Seeds of agave attenuata from San Diego CA
April 16, 2012 - After the agave attenuata bloom dried up there are seeds like thing hanging on the foxtail; do I leave it until it dies or do I chop that down. Are those seeds for propagation. The leaves of the plan...
view the full question and answer

Loss of bloom stalk on Yucca filamentosa from Scotch Plains NJ
April 27, 2013 - We have 3 Yucca filamentosa L. planted together, in NJ. A friend of ours was helping to remove the weeds, little did she know and removed the blooming stalk from the plants. By the time I saw, it was ...
view the full question and answer

Need to have an Agave plant removed in Austin, TX.
July 01, 2015 - I was wondering where or who could I have come to my business and buy my century agave plant. As it is growing crazy and we would like it removed.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center