Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Century Plant woes
May 04, 2016 - My century plant was fine two weeks ago. Tonight I seen this. Not sure what is happening. It 9 years old. IMG_4716.JPG
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a New York, NY apartment?
August 14, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What are some native Mid-Atlantic/New England plants that can be grown well indoors? I live in an apartment in New York City and have recently realised that the plants I'v...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
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

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
view the full question and answer

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