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?


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

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


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,


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

Why has yucca not bloomed from Sacramento CA
May 03, 2012 - I looked for an answer to my question on your list but did not find one. We have had a yucca plant that has never bloomed since we planted it about 8 years ago. I has grown tall (6-7 feet) and we ha...
view the full question and answer

Care of Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana) after blooming
May 27, 2007 - I live in Austin and have a 5 ft spanish dagger in my backyard. Now that it has bloomed and the flowers have withered in May, should I cut off the center stalk or will it bloom again from the same st...
view the full question and answer

Branches of yucca being blown down in Torrance CA
August 19, 2010 - I have a Yucca tree about 30 ft tall. Lately when the wind picks up in Torrance we have had about 3 branches fall out of the tree. Can you help me with this. I don't want to cut all of the branches...
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

Repotting non-native Agave ghiesbreghtii from Spring TX
June 03, 2012 - I've recently purchased an Agave ghiesbreghtii, and will need to re-pot it soon. I have some cactus soil mix as well as a few rocks to put in the bottom of its new pot. There seem to be roots comi...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center