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WINTER HARDY CACTI

Click here for the Winter Hardy Cacti care guide.
Click here for indoor/outdoor cacti care guide.

Cacti grow as far north as British Columbia and in all but five of the states within the United States. In Wisconsin many varieties of cacti will grow outside year round (USDA Zone 4/5). Varieties we grow and sell do very well if certain criteria listed in the winter hardy cacti care guide have been met. 

CACTI NAME: Echinocereus Triglochidiatus

Common name: Claret Cup, Strawberry Cactus, King’s Crown Cactus

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: May thru June

Flower Color: Scarlet red

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy, very well drained

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Very xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 12” high & 6” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Forms clusters of many stems up to 2’ wide.

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: A favorite. Long bloomer. Flowers will not usually bloom for three or more years once established.

 

 

CACTI NAME: Echinocereus Viridiflorus

Common name: Green-flowered Hedgehog, Green-flowered Torch cactus

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Late May and early June

Flower Color: Lime green. Fragrant

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 8” high & 5” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. May forms clusters of two to three stems.

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: This cactus has never been found west of the Rocky Mountains. It thrives in the mountain foothills, Great Plains grasslands, and desert grasslands.

 

CACTI NAME: Escobaria (Coryphantha) Leei

Common name: Lee’s Dwarf Snowball

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Late spring

Flower Color: Salmon Pink

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 2” high & 6” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Will cluster quickly, forming 20 to 40 pure white stems

Growth Rate: medium

Notes: A very rare species. Plant on a south or west facing slope wedged between some rocks where it can receive sharp drainage and maximum sunlight.

 

CACTI NAME: Escobaria (Coryphantha) Missouriensis

Common name: Plain’s Pincushion Cactus

CACTI FACTS                                                                                   

Bloom Time: Late spring                                                                  

Flower Color: Yellow

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun or some shade

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 2” high & 10” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Forms clusters

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: Long blooming and easy to grow.

 

CACTI NAME: Escorbaria (Coryphantha)Vivipara

Common name: Beehive Cactus, Spiny Star

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Late spring                                           

Flower Color: Pink

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy, very well drained

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Very xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 4” high & 4-6” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Forms clusters

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: Dense gray and white spines obscure the clustered stems and help highlight the large magenta flowers. Easy to grow. Native to western grasslands. Found from Western Texas north to Canada.

 

CACTI NAME: Opuntia Fragilis

Common name: Brittle Cactus, Fragile Prickly Pear

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: June

Flower Color: Yellow to yellow green

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy or gravelly soils

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: Individual pads. 13/4” high & 1” wide

Cacti Shape: Pad. Egg shaped. Forms mats of many pads up to several feet wide.

Growth Rate: Fast

Notes: The most northernmost cactus in North America crossing into Canada near the Arctic Circle. Strong barbed spines on pads that readily detach. Native to Wisconsin. See it growing at CACTUS ROCK (Poppy’s Rock) New London, Wisconsin.

 

CACTI NAME: Opuntia Humifusa (Compressa)

Common name: Prickly Pear, Devil’s Tongue

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: June to July

Flower Color: Yellow. Sometimes red center

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy or rocky soil

Sunlight Preference: Full and or light shade

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: Individual pads 4.5” high & 3.5” wide

Cacti Shape: Pad. Forms mats up to 4’ or more wide and 12” high.

Growth Rate: Fast

Notes: Native to Wisconsin. Easy to grow. Prolific bloomer. The edible fruits are called tunas, are reddish green and 2-3” long. The pulp is ruby red and tastes a little like watermelon. The tunas are very popular everywhere except the U.S. In fact, annual worldwide commercial production is more than twice that of strawberries, avocados, or apricots! The pads, called nopales, are a popular vegetable in Mexico and Central America. They are usually cooked but can be eaten raw. They taste a little like green beans. The skin and spines of both tunas and nopales must be removed before eating.

 

CACTI NAME: Pediocactus Simpsonii

Common name: Mountain Spiny Star

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Early May to June

Flower Color: Pink

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy, very well drained

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun or                                                                       

some shade

Moisture Preference: Very Xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 12” high & 6” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Seldom clusters

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: Likes a pure mineral soil with no organic matter. Wide spread species found in scattered locations throughout the mountains of the western U.S. Found at altitudes of up to 10,000 ft. Can be short lived if growth requirements and site location is not suitable.

 

CACTI NAME: Opuntia Polyacantha

Common name: Many Spined, Plains Prickly Pear

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: May and June                                                   

Flower Color: Many. All colors and mixed

USDA Growing Zone: 4

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: Individual pads very in size from plant to plant. Ave. 6” high & 4” wide.

Cacti Shape: Pad. Forms mats several feet wide & 6” high.

Growth Rate: Fast

Notes: Many, Many varieties available. Names such as: “Utah Sunset”, “Pink Delight”, “Red Glory”, “Crystal Tide”.

These are easy cactus to grow and they have some of the most unique flower colors. Spines are 1-4” long and are white or black. Flowers are large.

 

CACTI NAME: Opuntia Macrorhiza

Common name: Plains Prickly Pear

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: June to July

Flower Color: Yellow

USDA Growing Zone: 3

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: Individual pads 6 ” high & 4-5” wide

Cacti Shape: Pad. Forms mats up to 3’ wide & 12” high.

Growth Rate: fast

Notes: Has a tuberous root. Native to Wisconsin. Edible fruit used for candies and jam

 

CACTI NAME: Opuntia Whipplei

Common name: Rat-tail Cholla

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: June

Flower Color: Yellow

USDA Growing Zone: 4 or 5

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Xeric

Mature Size: 2’ tall & 3’ wide

Cacti Shape: Mat-forming or erect shrub. Cylindrical stem segments.Individual joints 6” long & 1” wide

Growth Rate: medium

 

WARNING

Cactus spines are easy enough to avoid, but watch out for the glochids (located around the areole), those tiny hairlike bristles that occur in little tufts.  They are barbed and treacherous.  Click to view parts of the cactus.

 The following list of cacti grow in Zone 5.  The Fox Cities area is unique because the area is situated on the border of Zone 4 & 5.  By following strict growing requirements and having mild winters these cacti should grow fine.  This is not a complete list and updated material will posted periodically.

 

CACTI NAME: Echinocereus fenderi v. kuenzleri

Common name: Fendlers Cactus

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Late spring, summer

Flower Color: Magenta

USDA Growing Zone: 5

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Very xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 5” wide & 6” high

Cacti Shape: Ball. May forms clusters of three to four stems.

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: Has huge edible burgundy-red fruits that smell like strawberries. Large flowers.

 

CACTI NAME: Echinocereus reichenbachii v. albispinus

Common name:

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Late spring, summer                       

Flower Color: Pink                                  

USDA Growing Zone: 5

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Very xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 8” high & 3” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Forms clusters of many stems.

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: Pure white comb-like spines. Dependable bloomer with large flowers. Rare to find.

 

CACTI NAME: Echinocereus reichenbachii v. baileyii

Common name: Bailey’s Lace Cactus

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Late spring, summer

Flower Color: Pink

USDA Growing Zone: 5

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Very xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 6” high & 6” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Slowly clusters.

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: Long brown or pink spines arranged in neat comb-like rows. Large flowers for 2-3 weeks.

 

CACTI NAME: Echinocereus reichenbachii v. caespitosa

Common name: ‘White Lace Cactus’

CACTI FACTS

Bloom Time: Late spring, summer                            

Flower Color: Pink

USDA Growing Zone: 5

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Very xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 6” high & 4” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Forms multistemed clusters

Growth Rate: slow

Notes: Spines are short, comb-like and are held closely against the ribs of the stems. Large showy flowers

 

CACTI NAME: Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Common name: ‘White Sands’ Claret Cup

CACTI FACTS                                                                     

Bloom Time: Late spring, summer

Flower Color: Scarlet red

USDA Growing Zone: 5

Soil Type: Sandy

Sunlight Preference: Full and afternoon sun

Moisture Preference: Very xeric

Mature Size: Individual stems 3’ high & 24” wide

Cacti Shape: Ball. Forms clusters of  many stems.

Growth Rate: medium

Notes: Largest of all Claret Cups.

 

For Cactus Rock information click here.