Plants - Perennials

Cold-hardy cacti

These prickly plants are tough enough for Canadian gardens

Hardy cacti to try
These cacti are both cold-hardy and moisture-resistant. (Some hardy types, notably those from South America, cannot tolerate winter moisture.)

Name: Brittle (Opuntia fragilis syn. Cactus fragilis) ZONE 2
Flower Colour: yellow, sometimes red
Height x Spread: 5 to 10 x 15 to 20
Description: Golf ball-shaped pads; spines generally long, viciously barbed (sometimes without true spines, but with glochids); forms dense mats; sparse bloomer; native

Name: Eastern (O. humifusa syn. O. compressa) ZONE 4
Flower Colour: yellow
Height x Spread: 7 to 10 x 15 to 90
Description: Round, flat pads tinged purple in fall and held horizontally; semi-prostrate habit; few to no spines, but glochids are present; blooms well; native

Name: Grizzly bear (O. x columbiana syn. O. erinacea var. Columbiana) ZONE 3
Flower Colour: yellow, sometimes pink
Height x Spread: 10 to 30 x 20 to 90
Description: Sausage-shaped, dark green pads; spines vary in shape and colour; native; to ensure hardiness, look for a locally grown clone

Name: Pincushion plains (O. polyacantha) ZONE 2
Flower Colour: yellow, sometimes pink
Height x Spread: 10 to 30 x 20 to 150
Description: Dense, spreading clumps of flat, round pads; spines vary in colour, but often white; native

Name: Red-flowered (O. ‘Rutilans') ZONE 3
Flower Colour: deep pink
Height x Spread: 15 x 45
Description: Long, club-shaped pads, sometimes with tinges of purple; often spineless, but with prominent yellow glochids

Name: Tuberous-rooted (O. macrorhiza) ZONE 4
Flower Colour: yellow
Height x Spread: 15 to 30 x 15 to 30
Description: Very large, rounded, fleshy, flat pads; semi-
prostrate; long, white, downward-pointing spines; edible red fruit

Name: Beehive pincushion (Escobaria vivipara var. vivipara) ZONE 3
Flower Colour: pink
Height x Spread: 3 to 15 x 5 to 60
Description: Ball-shaped mother plant forms offsets; becomes a dense, low-growing mound over time; covered in small spines; easy to grow; native

Name: Claret cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) ZONE 4
Flower Colour: pink
Height x Spread: 10 to 30 x 45
Description: Ball-shaped, eventually producing offsets to form large, round mounds; typically very spiny; edible red fruit

Name: Tree cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata syn. Opuntia imbricata) ZONE 5
Flower Colour: Pink, purple, sometimes orange
Height x Spread: 75 to 60
Description: Upright, branching, shrubby; treelike in mild climates (where it can reach 4 m tall); tubular branches; silvery yellow spines

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