The cactus bed: what survived?

I haven't looked at the cactus bed in a post since the end of February, and it's now pretty much clear which of the plants made it and which succumbed to the winter cold, and more importantly with cactus, the moisture level when it was cold.

We'll be looking at nine different plants today, so let's just jump in. I'll start with the ones in the foreground of this photo (the east end of the bed) and move down the line looking at Opuntias.


First up, one that didn't survive:

Opuntia macrocentra. It was heavily damaged when we saw it in that last post, apparently fatally.

There were two separate plants, but they both died. I really liked the form and color of this one too.

Let's not dwell on our losses though, and quickly move on to a survivor:

Opuntia aurea ‘Coombe’s Winter Glow’ (I'm not 100% certain about all of the names in this post, but should know more as the spring progresses).

This plant really likes to spread out, but that's partially due to the way I had to plant it. I wonder if it will go a bit more vertically with the new growth?

This little guy was nibbling the spines (is that the right word at this stage?)... he took a ride into another part of the yard.

Next up, Opuntia 'Dark Knight':

This one has such a deep purple color -- I'm glad it survived! This plant was flat on the ground in February, so I'm amazed that it is vertical again.

Opuntia rhodantha hybrid ‘Hanksville Rose’:

It was flat, shriveled, and a strange color in February and now: perfect!

I like seeing new pads emerging from the lower parts of the plant.

This next one I was never worried about, Opuntia macrorhiza:

It's got the most new buds of any of the plants I think:

Surely some of these will be flowers? I didn't get any blooms last year, but now since they've been in the ground for a year it's almost guaranteed, right?

This is the part of the bed where ID gets tricky. The foreground and background plants in this next photo are supposed to be the same, although the front plant shows more purple:

I think those might be Opuntia basilaris x humifusa. Or perhaps Opuntia phaeacantha x pinkavae ‘Nambe Sunrise’? Whichever one it is, this next plant was the other one:

And now I'm really confused, because I'm out of names on my list, but there's one plant left:

This one insists upon growing at the ends of the "arms" only:

Why can't you grow upward a little bit? I could use a little more height here, especially since all of the Opuntia cacanapa 'Ellisiana' that were down here are gone:

I really wish I had kept a pot of this one in the garage this winter. Sigh.

So that's a look at the Opuntias I'm currently growing.

I lost three types, but still have six. Thirty-three percent mortality isn't great, but nine different Opuntia in a bed of this size was probably too much to start with, as many of these want to spread out and form big patches.

If you're wondering how the other cactus fared -- the ones that I grew from seed -- you'll have to wait for tomorrow's post. Here's a hint though: I might be looking at 100% survival!


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danger garden  – (May 8, 2014 at 11:58 PM)  

Wow! I think your success rate is pretty fabulous and yes, I see that planting area filling in and becoming a crazy (dare I say bad-ass) opuntia wonderland!

Mark and Gaz  – (May 9, 2014 at 2:39 AM)  

Not a bad success rate at all Alan, and what did survive did so graciously, looking good after going through the winter. Curious growth pattern though but I suppose that makes Opuntias unique.

Lisa  – (May 9, 2014 at 5:54 AM)  

I would love to plant a cactus bed but worry that our visiting granddoggers would leap into it and it would result in a $600 vet bill getting the pricklies out! Your look so cool though, it's tempting!

Alan  – (May 9, 2014 at 7:59 AM)  

Loree: I sure hope so! Up the street my neighbor's front yard is 1/2 full of one species which is a bit much for me, but fantastic when blooming!

Mark and Gaz: I'm really looking forward to seeing it after the new pads come in. :)

Lisa: that's a fair concern, although I admit I had to read "granddoggers" quite a few times before I realized what you meant -- early morning comprehension issues. :)

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM)  

Considering how crazy your winter was, I'd have to echo what everybody else has already said: I'd count this as a success story, in spite of the losses.

Ben J  – (May 14, 2014 at 4:37 PM)  

Did you have any non-spiny cacti that made it through the winter? I want to try growing some ones without all of the hairs, as the ones I have are all super thorny and covered in the hairs.

Alan  – (May 14, 2014 at 5:20 PM)  

Ben J: Nope. I only grew two. One is not cold-hardy at all and was kept indoors, while the second was the Opuntia cacanapa 'Ellisiana' that is pictured dead in the second-to-last photo. That plant survived milder winters, but not this last brutal one.

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