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

Thursday - December 27, 2012

From: Rockville Centre, NY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Prickly pear doing poorly on Long Island NY
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

First, thanks for your reply on 11-3-12, re.Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY. The plants were set before a southern window in the attic, temp. range 50-70 degs. All seemed well, but the plants are developing blotches, shades of white, green, black, real ugly. Help! what's afoot? Have a blessed, peaceful, healthy, prosperous Holiday Season.

ANSWER:

It is hard to diagnose plant maladies when you have the plant in front of you, but doing it long distance is almost impossible. 

The temperature sounds a little low, but may be just about right for the season. The light in a south facing attic window is probably too low for a desert plant that likes full sun. What about water and soil conditions? Plants growing in sub-optimal conditions are often susceptible to attack from bacteria and fungi.

I am including links to a couple of sources that might prove helpful.

 A plant disease handbook from TexasAgriLife Extension .

"Cactus Diseases", an article from the Cactus Museum

There is an affiliate of the New York Cactus and Succulent Society on Long Island whose members should be able to give advice on growing Opuntia in New York City.

I’m sorry that your prickly pears are doing poorly, and the thought just occurred to me; maybe they are “home sick”.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Arizona ash tree with brown leaf tips in Las Vegas NV
August 01, 2010 - We've had an Arizona Ash Tree in our yard for over 7 years it was doing fine until last summer, the tree seems to be struggling with the heat, its leaves look like they are burning up and turning bro...
view the full question and answer

Weeping live oak and beetles in Elgin TX
April 24, 2011 - I have a live oak that I just noticed is weeping from a small spot about 3' above ground, foamy and smells like beer, several beetle species attracted. Also some very small insects in the foamy area.
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Tex-ash in Tucson AZ
December 02, 2011 - I planted a mature (15') Tex-Ash about a year ago. Lately more and more leaves seem to be browning and it has never filled out. I am concerned I am going to lose it if I don't get it something befor...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Gregg's mistflower from Fredericksburg, TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Something is wilting the tops of my Gregg's mistflower, Conoclinium greggii. I cannot see bugs on the plant, so I am wondering if it's a disease. The problem is widespread to...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

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