Planting Cactus Outside - Knowledgebase Question

Boyceville, WI
Avatar for ckarnick
Question by ckarnick
May 2, 1999
Can cactus be planted outside in Wisc?

Answer from NGA
May 2, 1999
Most cactus don't tolerate freezing temperatures. When we have freeze warnings in Phoenix (yes, more often than you might think!) it's common to see various tall, columnar-type cactus wearing white styrofoam cups on their growing tips as protection, sort of like snow hats.

Having said that, there are a few naturally occuring cactus in Arizona at elevations of 6,000-7,000 feet, where it does get cold and snow, although the soil is still well draining. However, these cactus tend to be scrawny, not terribly attractive prickly pear (I'm a cactus lover, by the way) that seem to just barely survive. I've never seen them for sale, because there are so many more attractive species.

I know it's fun to experiment with plants, so if you try, good luck!

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