Return to the Cacti & Succulents Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Posted by lutya 5a/NY (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 2, 08 at 21:52

Last fall I got a pad of spineless prickly pear (opuntia). I kept it in a pot all winter and in the spring it grew 4 new pads. I transferred it into the ground (a fairly raised, dry area) about a month ago and cut off 2 of the largest new pads. I planted them in new pots and they have since rooted. I did this in case the original doesn't make it through the winter, so I'll still have some left.

I am wondering what I can do to help the original one make it through the first winter outdoors. I know that many people do have prickly pears outdoors in my area. But should I put one of those plywood teepees over it to keep the snow off? Or should I let the snow cover it for insulation? I live in the Hudson Valley of NY so we do get a good amount of snow but there are times when it dries out too. Thanks for any tips!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Snow should not bother your cacti; it is what happens when the snow melts that might be a problem. Make sure your plants are somewhere that drains when the snow melts in the spring (or temporarily in the middle of the winter). My Opuntias here in Minnesota have made it through snowless and snowy periods, probably colder than what you will see, and seem not to be bothered.

If you were to make a teepee, you will effectively have insulation when it snows - the cactus will be in a little insulated pocket under the teepee under the snow. I don't think it would be necessary, though.


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Many will make it through the winter no mater where they live. Perhaps dig it up for the winter and put under an overhang, or under a tree in dry mix. Pile pine needles on top, and let the snow cover them. Ask the Botanical Gardens in NY
Get two building blocks, and put a 8 mm plastic that is hard and made for green houses on them, put plant under the plastic. or use a piece of glass on a slant against a wall to make a tent, close up each side with 8 mm soft plastic, keep the plant very dry, no water during the winter, the only way to kill an opuntia is to give it to much water. These are only suggestions, I don't live in New York, but I do know they need to be dry and in very rocky soil, coarse sand from a stream, with no peat moss.Just remember that they are desert plants, and do accordingly. if they are young then you must toughen them up by starging now holding up water, it okay for them to wrinkle up, and it's okay to give them just a little water, use your judgement, I just gave you ideas here that may apply. Only you can make that judgement. I hope you are using clay pots. They dry out faster. Norma
Norma


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Lutya,

I started mine as two single pads right in the ground a few years ago. We get lots of bitter cold, some winters we get a fair amount of snow, other winters not so much. I've never done anything to protect my cactus. The patch started to get so big, I moved it into a raised bed next to my house, where it's really spreading out...

Now, last winter was a tough winter. We had quite a bit of snow and more than usual very low temps. This year, it took the cactus a little longer to make their comback (they usually look like death warmed over by spring!) and I didn't get NEARLY as many blooms as I usually do. But now they're looking like a million bucks and, if we have a more normal winter this year, I'll bet I have a bazillion blooms next June!

Denise in Omaha


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

When I was a kid, I was playing with some friends in the neighborhood. We ran through a backyard that had a pile of Prickly Pears that had been ripped up by their owner. The owner let me take one. So, I ran home with my friends and got distracted. I dropped the pad in the grass and wouldn't you know that the thing rooted! It has survived ever since. My parents live in the snow belt in Ohio. The plant is planted in clay soil. It is never fussed with or fed. It literally has everything working against it. Yet, it thrives!
So, I guess that my advice would be to leave it alone. You may be very surprised!! You have already taken the proactive approach by saving a few pads in case it dies. As with some cactus plants, it may be best to not fuss with it and even "neglect" it.


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Lutya..I'm confused..I notice you're in zone 5a..are you saying any Prickly Pear/Optunia will grow in our zone?
Toni


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Toni, I have seen a bed of Prickly Pear at a friend's apartment complex that is about 20 feet long by 4 feet deep. It thrives with blossoms and everything. And as you can see by the post above, Denise in zone 5 has also had success with this. I think some varieties of Opuntia are hardier than others but I'm hoping mine lives!

Thank you all for your advice! I guess I will just leave it alone and hope for the best. At least I'll have back ups in case it doesn't make it. I really hope it does take off and multiply; I have a bearded dragon that I would love to feed it to if I eventually have enough.

How does it spread out on it's own? Without removing pads and rooting them in the ground. Thanks again!


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Next spring I'm going to start pads from my PP's, root and place in the garden..
The hardy PP that lived in our garden for 'x' yrs, grew horizontal. Imagine a PP tree growing outdoors, w/fruit and flowers..Whoopee! Thanks so much
BTW, we never covered ours..the only reason we lost ours is, someone or thing came by and either dug up (helped themself, it wouldn't be the first time) or an animal munched for dinner. I wish you luck, and keep me posted how it does. Toni


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

For Toni:

There are hundreds of kinds of prickly pears. Most of them are from the deserts in North and South America, quite a bit south of here, and the large majority of these won't take winters that get too much below freezing. However, there are several species that are quite cold hardy, and even native - there are native cacti in all states in the US except for Alaska, Hawaii and northern New England. There are a few prickly pears that can grow as cold as in Zone 2!

The hardy species have been propagated variously, so there are more varieties than species. Nevertheless, there are several dozen forms of prickly pear that can live in cold climates, and I have five of them living here in Minnesota in the zone 3 to zone 4 boundary.


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

I live in Missouri I would love to have a start of pp. Thanks Connie


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Opuntia macrorhiza, imbricata, phaecantha, polyacantha, viridiflora, fragilis, compressa, humifusa, are all species that have hardy members for zone 5 or colder at times. Excellent drainage is a must though!

Dave
Milwaukee


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

I bought an Opuntia Ellisana August 2012. I planted it and it flourished....until the heavy, heavy snow we got this year. It was covered by 3.5 ft and when it melted just days ago I noticed that 2 paddles partially ripped off and 2 others are wicked loose. Any suggestions? Right now I have rigged them up, supported by Velcro planting tape. I need to know if I should cut the paddles off, should I do anything special with the original plant and should I somehow cover it in the future to prevent snow damage?


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

I bought an Opuntia Ellisana August 2012. I planted it and it flourished....until the heavy, heavy snow we got this year. It was covered by 3.5 ft and when it melted just days ago I noticed that 2 paddles partially ripped off and 2 others are wicked loose. Any suggestions? Right now I have rigged them up, supported by Velcro planting tape. I need to know if I should cut the paddles off, should I do anything special with the original plant and should I somehow cover it in the future to prevent snow damage?


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Where ever the paddle touchs the ground new roots will form. They are almost like weeds here. Too much water or laying in water will kill them. Thrugh the winter months, they look dead and dryed up. Come spring they come back to normal. Mine are up a hilly terrace under a Blue Spruce Tree. It is mostly sunny and very dry due to the tree. The bottom branches are trimmed off the tree as far as you can reach.


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Can someone guide me? I bought 3 prickly pear pads, middle of June, I am going to keep one indoors just in case but I'd like to plant the other 2 outdoors by my garage wall that faces northeast, where I live is zone 3a, we usually get our first snow around Halloween and our last middle of April. This year our spring didn't seem to arrive until the end of May. Please guide me with anything you know about PP. and, Should I cover my PP in the fall for the winter?


 o
RE: Tips for a Prickly Pear's 1st winter outdoors?

Can someone guide me? I bought 3 prickly pear pads, middle of June, I am going to keep one indoors just in case but I'd like to plant the other 2 outdoors by my garage wall that faces northeast, where I live is zone 3a, we usually get our first snow around Halloween and our last middle of April. This year our spring didn't seem to arrive until the end of May. Please guide me with anything you know about PP. and, Should I cover my PP in the fall for the winter?


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Cacti & Succulents Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here