Growing Cacti and Other Succulants in Wet Zones 5/6

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Super Moderator
Staff member
A few weeks ago I ordered a book recommended By Steve Brack, owner of!
It is written by
Leo J. Chance
"Cacti and Succulents for Cold Climates (274 Outstanding Species for Challenging Conditions)

I ordered it from Chapters, but Amazon has it too!
It is an excellent book with lots of much needed information that is hard to come by even online dealing with colder wet zones!!
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Super Moderator & vegemm
Staff member
Here's a few surprises after having quite a few nights below freezing!
These Titanopsis are very determined to bloom whenever they get the chance on warm afternoons!
During the summer they opened around 4pm and stay open during the night, closing at sunrise. But now, November 15th, they opened around noon and will probably close once the temps drop this evening! I'll check and see this evening....
No frost damage!
these are soooo cool looking
First off. Hello. First post here. I stumbled upon the forum searching for cacti for zone 5(just outside Chicago) in my never ending quest to bring a bit of my beloved New Mexico home.
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Kya D

Active Member
Hi there
I too live in zone 5 (west central Utah) I grow some cactus and succulents. Ron knows ton so he will probably jump in here.
Welcome and I am glad you found us.
Ask questions and put in you ideas.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Hey Threecats!
Welcome to our forum!
I've always had the desire to grow hardy cactus and now that is exactly what I'm doing now!
I start all mine from seed, and find it very rewarding to grow them from seed, and then grow them outdoors in pots, then plant them out in the garden where they will grow on.
If a species doesn't survive their first hard winter then they are not winter hardy.
If you have any questions, pease feel free to ask.
I will gladly walk you through the process of researching, ordering, seed starting and so on....


Super Moderator
Staff member
Update time:
All the south african succulents did not survive our nasty winter but most of the cacti seedlings did!
Still need to check on which ones were not winter hardy but that won't take long once I go through the number of species that did survive!
I was somewhat disappointed, but with the deep freezes we got with no snow cover, I'd say more then half made it through, some with a just a bit of damage!
With the new seedlings I started indoors I was was disappointed. Had an infestation of soil/fungus gnats that killed a a number of the seedlings per pot. My solution was to put out small trays of vinegar with a few drops of olive oil to catch the adult flies. It worked very well and now I see only a few adults flying around, and there was no more seedling loses.
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Super Moderator
Staff member
Agave update:
None of the species I selected to try, they did not survive the deep freeze in late January!
Hesperaloes look mostly mushy and dead, but I think one may have survived but I'm waiting to see if any growth starts!
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Super Moderator
Staff member
With my wide selection of cactus, at this time of the year, they are all settled in for the winter!
The opuntias, in all their various forms have reduced their moisture content and look shriveled, and limp, and are covered with the first fall of snow.
The ball and barrel shaped species have also reduced their moisture content, all look happy, a few species have shrunken down so they are covered by the stone-gravel mulch.
One has completely disappeared with just a few spines sticking through the mulch!
The usual reduction in size of the plants is around one quarter to one third depending on species!
Now is the time to plan and research more species to try.
Again Im ordering from!

Here is my new order I will be starting in early January 2014:

191.22-coccineus v toroweapensis SB1758 Washington Co, UT
221.4-X lloydii SB1082 /17/ Brewster Co, multicolored fl
247.71-reichenbachii JRT202 Woodward Co,OK, black-red sp,magenta fl
247.712-reichenbachii JRT205 Major Co,OK, long black lace,purple fl
247.714-reichenbachii JRT214 Reagan,OK, white-peach-purple sp
247.716-reichenbachii JRT301 Barber Co,KS, black orange-red spines
247.717-reichenbachii JRT302 Morton Co, KS, silver-grey banded sp
250.52-reichenbachii v albispinus /18/ Troy, OK, all white spines
250.603-reichenbachii v baileyi DJF1308 Granite, OK, shaggy spines
250.65-reichenbachii v comanchensis JRT221 Kiowa Co,OK, white-pink
250.67-reichenbachii v major 'teddy bear' fat stem, tight white sp
250.727-reichenbachii v perbella JRT207 Ellis Co, OK, chocolate sp
250.729-reichenbachii v perbellus JRT210 Beckham Co, OK, colorful sp
250.74-reichenbachii v perbellus Wenoka, Woods Co, OK, brown spines
250.742-reichenbachii v perbellus DJF1331 'purpureus' Sweetwater, OK
250.802-X roetteri AG12P /18/ Jarilla Mts, huge dark red flower
250.816-X roetteri AG12P51 red and pink petals with dark fine line
260.65-triglochidiatus El Paso Co, COL, far north habitat
278-triglochidiatus v mojavensis SB1973 /18/ Beaver Dam Mts, UT
283.64-viridiflorus DJF1673 /18/ Black Mesa, OK, fat stems

Lobivia, (South American species)
523.927-atrovirens v haefneriana KK973 Challapata 4000m, nice red fl
536.742-haagei KG66-87 Humahuaca-Aparzo, 3800m, salmon fl
539-haematantha v rebutioides /17/ variable flower color, short sp
546.4-thionantha /17/ powdery grey stem, black sp, yel.or red fl

1104.16-imbricata /18/ Cimarron Co,OK, purple fl
1104.19-imbricata SB99 /18/ Manzano Mts, NM, dark purple flowers

1170.45-simpsonii v robustior BB92-4 Pueblo Pk,OR, huge shaggy stems

All of these are very cold hardy, and tolerant to various amounts of wet conditions if planted in soils that drain quickly. Some will survive their first winter while others will not!
Some have a good adaptation abilities to wet winter conditions, so it is all trial, and try again, with other cultivars and species!
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Super Moderator
Staff member
This winter was brutal on most of the cacti I started last year, and even then, species I started 2 and 3 years ago just could not handle the intense cold from the polar vortexes we experienced. It was colder here then it was at the north pole!!
Lost a good 2/3 of them......they can handle a zone 5 and 6 winter, but not the zone 1 or 0 conditions we suffered through!
This past winter was one of the coldest in 55 years, so was not surprised to lose so many species.
Will be compiling a list of what I lost and the ones that survived!


Super Moderator
Staff member
Ron I understand about loosing more plants last winter. We had several cold snaps that took out some of my plants. I lost asparagus ferns that I wintered over in zone 5 here in zone 8. I think it was because they took the cold snap but then as they started growing again it froze again and then as they were growing again it froze really hard and they never came back. My cactus made it though.


Super Moderator
Staff member
I have a whole new batch of species under my grow lights that I will be trying to see how winter hardy they are....most are from higher elevations and farther north! I'll keep trying!
Most of the opuntias made it through the winter, especially the ones that are in their 4th and 5 year, so will have lots of pads to cut to propagate more of them. The spiny species did better then the ones without spines with some winter burn. I'll remove the damaged pads on my eastern prickly pear once the pads start to swell up again.....the bush chollas still look limp and I'm hoping they perk up!
Since it was the coldest winter in 55 years I will buy more seeds of the the ones that didn't make it and try them again next year.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Sounds like a plan. I have a spineless prickly pear out front by the driveway. It has been run over time and again but it is growing new pads this spring and starting over. Poor thing is probably in the wrong spot.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Here are a few of the escobaria in bloom: Escobaria vivipara - clustering and single species. The green flowering one is echinocereus viridiflorus



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