Cold Hardy Cacti

The Ultimate Drought Tolerant Plant

Cacti grow in all climates; cold hardy cacti are found in arctic drought stricken windswept plateaus in high altitudes where these fascinating plants make their homes.

Their habitats consist of conditions the most challenging of any plant, and their abilities to withstand long dry periods are legendary.

They are also renowned for their cycles of bloom, triggered by the end of a drought.

Once the rains come, the cold hardy cacti plump up their cells, and open their tissue paper flowers, usually in huge numbers.

There are many places in North America where this is an eagerly anticipated event; groups of cactus lovers watch the weather forecast for signs of rain in their area of interest, and then descend on it when the required amount falls.

The sight of hundreds or even thousands of cactus blooms all opening at once is worth seeing. Insects flock in the millions to glean the pollen and nectar.

Rare orange flowered Opuntia

Opuntia species with rare orange flowers

All the specimens seen here are grown in Rock Creek, British Columbia and will be hardy to Zone 4 on the Canadian Plant Hardiness map (or colder).

Opuntia phaeacantha v. camanchica

With xeriscaping on the forefront of all knowledgeable gardeners’ minds, cold hardy cacti make a good choice for interesting textures, their ability to go for long periods in hot summers without moisture and to endure cold snowy winters with poise.

Opuntia 'Purple Pad'

Opuntia 'Purple Pad'

Cold hardy cacti are generally slow growing, and come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the mat forming Opuntia fragilis, so called because of its loosely attached pads which can stick to an animal’s fur and be transported elsewhere, to the Cylindropuntia whippleii, with its green prickly arms. The textures of these interesting plants combine perfectly with each other, and with other hardy succulents.

Other genus and species in your collection could include some of the following:

Opuntia polyacantha 'Purple Pad'

O. polyacantha, yellow flowered from Phoenix area

O. basilaris aurea (yellow flowers)

O. Namao Rose

O. fragilis (red flowered)

O. fragilis (yellow flowered) among others.

O. rutilans - club shaped growth, not flat pads like most other of the genus.

You may get some other genus and species as available.

Plant them in your succulent garden for perfectly adapted desert landscaping.

These plants are shipped as pads, which can be rooted easily once they reach their destination.

Ideal soil will be sandy or silty with a good proportion of gravel mixed in for drainage.

Never fertilize these plants, or use manure or peat based soils, as this is not something they can adapt to. Good drainage is absolutely essential, and attempting to grow these plants in poorly draining soil is an exercise in futility. Having said that, some growers have reported good success with using compost tea to fertilize their plants, which respond with vigorous growth and good health. Use your discretion!

In the worst case scenario if your soil is clay or poorly drained, they will be quite happy in a raised bed to get their roots well out of any damp areas.

They also need the most sun exposure possible, for as many hours a day as you can.

Use the button below to order yours now; for more than one collection simply increase the quantity in the shopping cart; I can't promise that you won't get duplicate types or species, but will try to give you as many different ones as possible.

This item currently out of stock.  Check back in Spring 2015


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