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

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

Problems with recently planted trumpet vine from Worcester MA
October 20, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about my recently planted Trumpet Vines. First of all, I live in Massachusetts, zone 6. The soil is perfect for the two vines, which I bought from a local nur...
view the full question and answer

What kind of beetles are attacking cedar trees on Cape Cod, MA.
May 17, 2010 - I live on Cape Cod, MA and my cedar trees are being attacked by some kind of beetle & killing them. I would appreciate knowing what this could be and how to treat this. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Recovery of damaged fuchsia plant in hanging basket
July 23, 2007 - I had a beautiful fuchsia plant hanging on my porch. The hanger gave way and the plant fell straight down into another flower bed. The fuchsia seemed ok. I put it back in the pot put up new strong ...
view the full question and answer

Problems on Prickly Pear Cactus in Illinois
November 19, 2014 - I have a fungus on my prickly pear cactus that is not a bug. I tested it and my fingers didn't turn red when I squeezed them. So how do I get rid of this as it is spreading to my other cacti?
view the full question and answer

Old oak tree dropping leaves in Hazlet Township NJ
July 08, 2013 - I am 84 yrs old and have a 50 year old pin? oak. No more acorns, but the leaves are falling in clumps and are still alive. Every day I fill a huge garden bag with them. I live on a fixed income and...
view the full question and answer

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