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Name: Ruud
The Netherlands
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Dec 18, 2016 12:48 PM CST
Part of gardening fun is growing plants that would not grow in your region without help. Still that does not mean you can grow anything anywhere but sometimes you can be surprised. I was at least very surprised to find Opuntia growing outside in Copenhagen botanical garden, unprotected on the sunny side of a sandy hill. Here were I live (the Netherlands) they would not last a single winter. Not so much for the frost but they drown. The continuous wet winter weather around freezing point can kill many plants including many alpine plants let alone cactaceae. So people who do grow Opuntia here outside have a roof over them from September onward. But no such construction in Danmark. The slightly better climate conditions compensate for the even northerner location. O.k., they may not grow out there to price winning show pieces but they do survive and even flower.

(my excuses for some pictures, I had sometimes to photograph the plants growing below me, walking above them, which is not easy for good photographs)

Some examples:

Opuntia fragilis:
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/3fda57

Opuntia humifusa: this one was labelled O. h. var. robustior, but that name seems not to exist
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/ea3cac

Opuntia macrorhyza:
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/bf6caa

Another plant with a non-existing name:
Opuntia macrorhyza var. riograndensis:
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/324874
Perhaps an O. macrorhyza or O. pottsii??

This one was labelled Opuntia cymochila, which is now O. macrorhyza:
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/dfa9a3
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/eb1c39

Opuntia phaeacantha var. camanchica
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/8092d0

Opuntia polyacantha:
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/454cba

And finally Opuntia pottsii:
Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/e7bbcc

Thumb of 2016-12-18/RuuddeBlock/10cb64

There were some Cyclopuntia too,


Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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Dec 18, 2016 1:42 PM CST
Beste Ruud,

Very cool, you'd be surprised though at the range that some of these Opuntias grow in - some occur in nature in Alberta - gets very cold, but usually very dry.
And others grow well east of the Rocky Mountains.
Most of the Opuntia you show pictures of occur in places where it can get really cold and also wet (but as you say probably only rarely wet as long as things stay waterlogged in the Netherlands), but are all characterized by extremely well draining soil (or just very little soil that can retain water for a long time).

Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Mar 31, 2017 1:21 PM CST
That's so cool! I've realized Opuntias can survive outside where I am too. At least the 2 that I've found so far.

O. monacantha, variegated. Purchased @ a store. As far as plants go, it's so purple. I just love it!
Thumb of 2017-03-31/purpleinopp/b69440

Need a newer pic of the other one - will add soon.
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