Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cactus a Beautiful Colorado Native Flower by Ed Powers

Native Colorado Prickly Pear Cactus

I have been a Cactus fan since I was 9 years old when I moved to western South Dakota.  We lived in a very open area where we hand acres of open land.  Of course where did you find me out there looking for cactus. This is my favorite outdoor plant. 
Beehive Cactus, Spiny Star Cactus
We are lucky to have several native cacti (plural for cactus) in Colorado.  Colorado State University has done extensive research in this area.  Cactus bloom from late June until August there flowers come in a variety of beautiful colors and the plants come in many shapes.  The can grow in a singular plant to clumping plants.  They come in a round, linear and flat leafy shape.  They grow in mostly desert to arid climates but extend over to more moist areas.  We can find cactus anywhere from the mountains to the plains in Colorado they tolerate many temperatures.  I have a small native cactus garden where I live at 7700 feet.  The Temperatures range anywhere from -25 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  My native cactus garden survived these and I lost none of them.  The major challenges have been when we have wet summers such as the last two (but I will take it) we needed the moisture.  They are plants have a strong protection with their modified leaves which form needles which are painful when you are stuck by them. My cactus bloom less during the period than they do when it is dryer.  They propagate by seeds, plant spreading and rooting or parts dropping off and rooting.

 Cholla, Opuntia acanthocarpa
I have had cactus indoor for many years.  They include cactus from all over the world including Colorado. But all my Cactus go outside for 4 months each summer because I have found that indoor cactus do better when outside for a short period of time as long as they can tolerate the temperature.   
Colorado Hookless Cactus

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