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

Saturday - November 03, 2012

From: rockville centre, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Planting, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Took a cutting of a prickly pear cactus from my daughters garden in Harker Heights, Tx. Her plants are 5'ht.& wt. Set it into a 10" pot with garden mix soil. Early July 2012, brought it home to Long Island, N.Y. Doing well, doubled in size, still in pot. Can I plant it in my garden, will it survive snowy, low temps. of this region? What can I do to help it along. Thanks,

ANSWER:

Prickly pear cactus is in the genus Opuntia, and there are  over 40 species of Opuntia listed in Texas. I am supposing that the one you have may be Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri (Texas pricklypear) which was designated by the Texas Legislature as the state plant of Texas in 1995.

One solution is to leave it in the pot, and  move it inside during the winter months, but it will soon get to big for that. The plant is used to growing in USDA hardiness zone 8 (average minimum temperatures from 10 -20 degrees fahrenheit). Long Island is in USDA Hardiness zone 7 (average minimum temperatures of  0 - 10 degrees fahrenheit) so that would present a problem. If you can plant it in a protected area i.e. south side of the house, and cover it during the coldest nights, it might survive. Be sure that it has well drained, slightly acidic soil.

The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes by growing native plants where they are native.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas prickly pear
Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri

Texas prickly pear
Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

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

Dying cactus plants
December 16, 2007 - Two large cactus plants on the grounds of our condominium complex have begun to turn yellow and appear to be dying. A "staple" of our landscaping, this is the first year that they have developed th...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming of an apparent yucca in Ohio
March 09, 2009 - I have what looks like a yucca plant in my flower bed. but in the 3 years we have lived here it has never bloomed. It did get a little bigger and has always been green. If it is a yucca, is there any ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming back Agave havardiana
June 05, 2008 - Hi.. thanks for all the great information on Agaves. We have a number of Agave Havardiana (blue) that love where we planted them. Several have gotten HUGE. So much so that they are starting to ge...
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

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