Amazing Cold-hardy Opuntia Cactus Flowers

The aesthetic of these Opuntia cactus blossoms is reminiscent of roses, making it difficult to discern their origin from a prickly plant if viewed independently.

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Wow! Have you taken the time to appreciate how beautiful cactus blossoms are? I had caught a glimpse of them before, but didn’t give them much thought until I attended the Cactus Chat event at Waterwise Botanicals.

In April 2016, those passionate about cactus, especially those living in cold climates, were filled with glee as Waterwise Botanicals in Escondido released a range of frost-resistant cacti. These plants, available on Mountain Crest Gardens’ website, featured striking blooms.

Tom Jesch, the manager of Waterwise, is an enthusiastic cactus enthusiast who has grown up in the Sierra Nevadas. His great knowledge of cacti has enabled him to collect a variety of them, the highlight being the ‘Baby Rita’, which he created himself. It was a great experience being able to see all that he has collected and I’m very excited to show you.

At the same event, Debra Lee Baldwin spoke about her newfound appreciation for cacti and their blooms. These prickly plants are beginning to win people over, and it’s easy to see why – they’re truly remarkable!

columnar, globular and branched.

In her presentation, Debra highlighted a fact that I had not previously considered: cacti can generally be classified into three morphological categories: columnar, globular, and branching.

    Paraphrase: Round objects or shapesCircles, Globes, Disks

I had no idea that the cactus conversation was mainly about Opuntias, which are paddle cactus. It’s amazing how much one can learn in such a short conversation!

I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Kelly Grummons of Cold Hardy Cactus, the individual who is responsible for producing many of these incredible Opuntias with their magnificent colorful flowers. I was able to gain some insight into the cactus he has been cultivating.

He has done an incredible job of breeding these plants together, and you can expect to see some remarkable cacti on the market in the coming years!

The cacti in these pots, many of which were grown by Kelly, are on display both in front of and behind us.

The great thing about this particular species of Opuntia, as well as many other Opuntia varieties, is that they are tolerant of cold temperatures, with some even being able to withstand frost. I obtained some from Tom a few years ago and they have been able to withstand long periods of time with significant snowfall covering them.

If you happen to live in a hot and dry climate, such as those found in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, then Opuntias are a great choice for creating a waterwise garden. These plants can withstand extreme heat and will remain healthy even if they go weeks without water.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Opuntia cacti that are known for their resilience. You can purchase some of these varieties from Mountain Crest Gardens.

At Looking Sharp Cactus, customers can find a range of different cactus pads for sale, although shipping is not available during the summer. While the selection may not be as vast as the varieties seen below, there are still plenty of wonderful options to choose from!

My favorite cactus is the ‘Pina Colada’, which is truly amazing! On the first day it blooms in yellow with a red stripe, then changes to a pink hue on the second day – it’s so incredible! I’m absolutely smitten with it.

This Desert Skies painting is so beautiful with its vibrant pink hue, as well as its hints of orange that make it reminiscent of a sunset.

The shade of Opuntia ‘Party Favor’ was hard to accurately portray. It’s a nearly luminescent purple that looks even more incredible in real life.

This year, the release of Opuntia ‘Red Gem Miniature’ was delayed, but this delightful cactus is expected to be released soon. It is not only cold hardy and has an attractive flower, but it is also very suitable for growing in containers.

I was fortunate enough to obtain a few packs of these and I am thrilled to add them to my collection. I look forward to seeing how they perform in my containers during the colder months.

You’d be forgiven for mistaking these flowers for roses, they are simply stunning! Here are a few more for you to appreciate. Isn’t it incredible how these blooms can grow on cactus pads?

I trust that this post has increased your admiration for cacti! They are truly impressive members of the succulent family. To check out the entire lineup of new Opuntias at Waterwise Botanicals, simply click here.

For those of us living in cold climates, we should be thankful that these plants can tolerate freezing temperatures. I’m certainly thankful!


What is the most cold hardy Opuntia?

Opuntia stricta, which is native to as far north as North Carolina or Virginia, is the tallest and the largest of the cold-tolerant prickly pears. The fruit of this plant can reach up to 3 inches in length and 2 inches in width.

How cold is too cold for prickly pear cactus?

The prickly pear cactus is tolerant of colder temperatures than other cacti, able to survive down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will thrive in warm, dry conditions and produce larger blooms.

Are all prickly pear cactus cold hardy?

The prickly pear cactus, like other cacti, prefers warm and dry conditions. While it is more tolerant of cold temperatures than other cacti, withstanding temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, it will thrive and produce more blooms when raised in warmer temperatures.

Does Opuntia cactus flower?

Prickly Pear (Opuntia basilaris P.) is more than just a plant with spines – it is also well-known for its stunningly beautiful flowers.

Which Opuntia are cold hardy?

Eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) is tolerant of cold temperatures and is native to the Eastern United States. This cactus can withstand conditions as low as -30° F in zone 4, which means that it can be grown and its fruits harvested in areas other than the desert.