Cacti That Are Hardy In
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Compiled by the Ottawa and Area Cactus & Succulent Group

Name Initially Verified By* Also Verified By Location
of Origin***
(LO)
Cylindropuntia leptocaulis Ken Hancock (occasional winters only)    
Echinocereus coccineus Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley (SB 747) (LO) Manzano Mts, NM (Mesa); [note that (SB 1631) Taos Co, NM was tried but 100% losses]
Echinocereus coccineus v. gurneyi Rob Huntley (JM 112) (LO)   Eddy Co, NM (Mesa)
Echinocereus davisii Kristl Walek (Gardens North)    
Echinocereus engelmanii Rob Huntley    
Echinocereus engelmanii v. chrysocentrus Rob Huntley (SB 695) (LO)   Mohave Co (Mesa)
Echinocereus engelmanii v. variegatus Rob Huntley (SB 481) (LO)   Houserock Valley (Mesa)
Echinocereus fendlerii Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley (SB 297) (LO) Mud Mts, Sierra Co (Mesa)
Echinocereus reichenbachii albispinus Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley (LO) Troy, OK (Mesa)
Echinocereus reichenbachii baileyi Rob Huntley (LO) Ken Hancock (LO); Paul Wise (LO) Lawton, Comanche Co, OK (Mesa)
Echinocereus reichenbachii caespitosus Rob Huntley (DJF 801.29) (LO)   Taylor Co, TX (Mesa)
Echinocereus reichenbachii perbellus Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley (SB 259) (LO) Eddy Co, NM (Mesa)
Echinocereus triglochidiatus Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley (SB 1598) (LO) Otero Co, NM (Mesa)
Echinocereus triglochidiatus v. gonacanthus Rob Huntley    
Echinocereus triglochidiatus var inermis Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Echinocereus triglochidiatus var melanacanthus Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Echinocereus triglochidiatus v. mojavensis Rob Huntley (DJF 1276) (LO)   ne San Bernardino Co (Mesa)
Echinocereus triglochidiatus v. mojavensis f. inermis Rob Huntley (SB 686) (LO)   Mesa Co (Mesa)
Echinocereus viridiflorus Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley (DJF 932.1) (LO1) & (SB 876) (LO2); Paul Wise 1.Weld Co, CO (Mesa); 2.Chaffee Co, WY, on rolling plains (Mesa)
Escobaria leei Rob Huntley (SB 397) (LO)   Eddy Co, NM (Mesa)
Escobaria minima Rob Huntley (SB 423) (LO)   Brewster Co,TX (Mesa)
Escobaria missouriensis Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Escobaria missouriensis caespitosa Rob Huntley (LO)   Madill, Marshall Co, OK (Mesa)
Escobaria sneedii Rob Huntley (SB 730) (LO)   Eddy Co, NM (Mesa)
Escobaria vivipara Ken Hancock (LO1) Rob Huntley (SB 981) (LO2); Kristl Walek (Gardens North) 1.Oak Lake, Manitoba; 2.Laramie Co, WY (Mesa)
Escobaria vivipara v. arizonica Kristl Walek (Gardens North)    
Escobaria vivipara v. bisbeeana Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley  
Escobaria vivipara v. kaibabensis Rob Huntley (SB 906) (LO)   Kaibab Plateau, AZ (Mesa)
Escobaria vivipara v. neomexicana Rob Huntley (SB 129) (LO)   Manzano Mts, NM (Mesa)
Escobaria vivipara v. radiosa Rob Huntley (SB 388) (LO)   Kimble Co, TX (Mesa)
Escobaria vivipara v. rosea Rob Huntley (SB 1754) (LO)   Millard Co, UT (Mesa)
Mammillaria wrightii Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley  
Opuntia arenaria Ken Hancock (LO) Paul Wise (LO); Rob Huntley (LO) El Paso County, TX
Opuntia basilaris var aurea (yellow flowers) Ken Hancock Rob Huntley; Lynda Muckle; Paul Wise  
Opuntia basilaris var heilii Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia bulbispina Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia cymochila Ken Hancock Rob Huntley (SB 1047) (LO) Hartley Co, TX (Mesa)
Opuntia davisii Ken Hancock    
Opuntia erinacea var Columbiana Ken Hancock (LO) Rob Huntley (LO); Paul Wise (LO) Columbia River Valley, WA
Opuntia fragilis Paul Wise Ken Hancock; Rob Huntley; Lynda Muckle; Kristl Walek (Gardens North)  
Opuntia fragilis (Cache Creek) Paul Wise (LO) Ken Hancock (LO); Rob Huntley (LO); Lynda Muckle (LO) Cache Creek, BC
Opuntia fragilis (Dunvagan) Ken Hancock (LO)   Dunvagan, AB
Opuntia fragilis (Kaladar) Ken Hancock (LO) Paul Wise (LO); Rob Huntley (LO) nr Kaladar, ON
Opuntia fragilis (Lake of the Woods) Ken Hancock (LO) Paul Wise (LO); Rob Huntley (LO) Lake of the Woods, ON
Opuntia fragilis (Lauder Sandhills) Ken Hancock (LO)   Lauder Sandhills, MB
Opuntia fragilis (Nepean) Hilda Maxwell (LO) Ken Hancock (LO); Paul Wise (LO); Rob Huntley (LO) Fallowfield Road, Nepean (Ottawa), ON (none remain at this site)
Opuntia fragilis (Peace River) Ken Hancock (LO) Rob Huntley (LO) Peace River, AB (most northerly cactus location in the world)
Opuntia fragilis (pink flowering) Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Ken Hancock  
Opuntia fragilis var denudata Lynda Muckle Ken Hancock  
Opuntia humifusa Ken Hancock (LO) Rob Huntley; Paul Wise (LO); Lynda Muckle (LO) Point Pelee, ON
Opuntia humifusa 'Lemon Spreader' Paul Wise (LO)   Cavendish Perennials
Opuntia hybrid (O. fragilis x O. erinacea v. Columbiana) Ken Hancock Rob Huntley  
Opuntia hybrid (O. fragilis x O. polyacantha) Rob Huntley (LO1) Ken Hancock (LO2); Paul Wise (LO2) 1. seed from AB - has not flowered yet (2004), parent plant red-flowered; 2.Columbia River Valley, WA
Opuntia hybrid 'Alma Mater' Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia hybrid 'Andreas Sokolov' Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia hybrid 'Claude Arno' Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia hybrid 'Gigi' Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia hybrid 'Namao Rose' Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia hybrid 'Nikolaj' Ken Hancock Rob Huntley  
Opuntia hybrid 'Numu' Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia hybrid 'Piefke' Ken Hancock Rob Huntley  
Opuntia hybrid 'Pont' (fuchsia flowers) Ken Hancock Rob Huntley; Paul Wise  
Opuntia hybrid 'Pony' Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia hybrid 'Smithwick' Kristl Walek (Gardens North)    
Opuntia imbricata Ken Hancock Rob Huntley; Kristl Walek (Gardens North)  
Opuntia kleinea Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley; Paul Wise  
Opuntia macrorhiza Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Ken Hancock  
Opuntia phaeacantha Ken Hancock (occasionally only)    
Opuntia phaeacantha v. camanchica Rob Huntley Ken Hancock  
Opuntia polyacantha Hilda Maxwell (LO) Ken Hancock (LO); Rob Huntley (LO); Paul Wise (LO); Lynda Muckle (LO) Lethbridge, AB
Opuntia polyacantha 'Crystal Tide' Kristl Walek (Gardens North)    
Opuntia polyacantha 'Orange Nebraska' Presumed hardy - not verified    
Opuntia polyacantha v. hystricina Rob Huntley (DJF 1138) (LO)   Bernalillo Co, NM (Mesa)
Opuntia polyacantha v. juniperiana Rob Huntley (DJF 1631) (LO)   Keams Cyn, AZ (Mesa)
Opuntia polyacantha v. utahensis Lynda Muckle Ken Hancock  
Opuntia polyacantha (fuchsia flowers) Kristl Walek (Gardens North)   Nebraska
Opuntia pottsii var montana Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia rhodantha Rob Huntley (LO) Paul Wise N Palmetto, NV (Mesa)
Opuntia rutila Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Ken Hancock  
Opuntia sulphurea Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia tortispina Rob Huntley (DJF 1497) (LO)   Comb Ridge, UT (Mesa)
Opuntia trichophora Said to be hardy in Zones 3 and 4 (US)**    
Opuntia viridiflora Ken Hancock Rob Huntley  
Opuntia whipplei Ken Hancock Rob Huntley, Paul Wise  
Pediocactus nigrispina Ken Hancock    
Pediocactus simpsonii Kristl Walek (Gardens North) Rob Huntley (SB 1851) (LO) Grouse Creek Mts, UT (Mesa)
Pediocactus simpsonii v. nigrispinus Rob Huntley (MDF 95.027) (LO)   Jefferson Co, OR (Mesa)
Sclerocactus parviflorus 'contortus' Rob Huntley (RP 29) (LO)   San Juan Co, UT (Mesa)
Sclerocactus spinosior Rob Huntley (SB 740) (LO)   N. Sevier Co, UT (Mesa)
Non-cactus succulents (Agave & Yucca species only listed - many other succulents are hardy in Ottawa)
Yucca baccata Rob Huntley (LO)   Rio Rancho, NM (Mesa)
Yucca filamentosa not verified by club member   Commonly available at nurseries
Yucca filamentosa (variegated form) Rob Huntley   Commonly available at nurseries
Yucca glauca Presumed hardy - not verified    
Yucca harrimanae Kristl Walek (Gardens North)    
*Grown over at least one winter.
**In Where Cactus Grow, David Sierer - but not verified in Ottawa
***Location where the original or parent plant was found in the wild, or where seed source/ancestry information from seed catalogue or other information is known (some collections numbers provided). This information is provided to assist future growers in selecting candidate specimens or seed.

Glossary of Abbreviations:

  • (Mesa) = Mesa Garden, Belen, New Mexico (seed supplier)
  • (LO) = records for which the "Location of Origin" column information applies. If more than one "Origin", then (LO1), (LO2), etc.
  • Codes in parentheses are collection numbers given with catalogue purchased seed.


Brief Reports From Members

Winter 2003/2004
It was a severe winter in Ottawa for cacti and we were all expecting losses. For most, losses were not catastrophic. However, Ken Hancock reports that it was the worst winter ever for his collection.

Late November & early December had several weeks of -20C temperatures and no snow cover. This was followed by about 2 weeks of mild weather and significant rainfall with nowhere for the water to run off through the solidly frozen ground. Areas of low slope/drainage had standing water which then froze as the weather turned cold again. Sufficient snow cover finally arrived in January and the temperatures fell to -30C to -35C range with wind chills in excess of -40C. (RH)

Ken Hancock - This was the worst winter ever for my hardi cacti:

Details Total No Damage Died Light
Die-Back
Medium
Die-Back
Heavy
Die-Back
Previously over-wintered 32 14 10 2 4 3
Expected to be hardy but only planted outside in Summer 2003 5 4 1 - - -
Hardiness Experiment 3 - 3 - - -
  • Opuntia fragilis from all locations unaffected.
  • Unexpected light to medium die-back in both O. humifusa plants and both O. polyacantha plants.
  • All three "hardiness" experiment plants died (Paul Wise's Cylindropuntia; Echinocereus species from seed; Opuntia leptocaulis).
  • Opuntia arenaria grown outside since 1999 died.
  • Escobaria vivipara (from 2 different locations) grown outside since 2000 died.
  • Opuntia imbricata grown outside since 2000 died.
  • Large Opuntia cymochila grown outside since 2000 died.
  • Large Opuntia basilaris grown outside since 2000 died.
  • Opuntia rutila grown outside since 2002 died.
  • Opuntia fragilis var denudata grown outside since 2002 died.
  • Opuntia polyacantha var. utahensis (HC 052) started outside August 2003 died.
  • Opuntia davisii grown outside since 2000 died.
  • Opuntia whipplei grown outside since 2000 died.

Rob Huntley - most things doing very well - just reporting the negatives below:

  • Opuntia cymochila - 1 survived - 2 lost.
  • Opuntia whipplei - one almost completely gone (restarted from a tip); second plant just the opposite and growing very well.
  • Opuntia viridiflorus - hardly grown over 2 winters - just one small joint.
  • Opuntia imbricata - virtually no growth over 2 winters but still alive.
  • Opuntia kleinae - grew well in second year (2003) but this spring just a stump left, still alive but not growing.
  • A number of the species listed in the above table were in fact 1st winter survival of 1st year seedlings. The summer of 2003 showed very little growth in many of these. Some losses occurred to a number of these young specimens in this, their second winter. The following are no longer represented after the second winter but may be worthy of trying again considering the harshness of this winter, the fact that they did survive their first winter, and the very early age at which they were planted: Echinocereus engelmanii v. chrysocentrus (SB 695), Echinocereus engelmanii v. variegatus (SB 481) (may be 2 alive or may be skeletons), Sclerocactus spinosior (SB 740), Escobaria minima (SB 423), Echinocereus triglochidiatus (SB 1598). I hope to provide more detailed accounting of seedling trials at a future time.
  • Pictures (and eventually further information on my experiences with winter hardy cacti) can be found at my web site.

Kristl Walek (Gardens North) - The following have been in the garden for about 5-6 years:

  • Pediocactus simpsonii - no losses ever.
  • Escobaria vivipara - no losses ever.
  • Escobaria vivipara arizonica - no losses ever.
  • Echinocereus viridiflorus - no losses ever. Has been the most prolific flowering Echinocereus.
  • Echinocereus coccineus - some plants rotted.
  • Echinocereus fendleri a few losses.
  • Echinocereus reichenbachii albispinus - no losses ever.
  • Echinocereus reichenbachii perbellus - no losses ever.
  • Echinocereus triglochidiatus - some rotted, only one left.
  • Opuntia imbricata - winter killed 2 years ago down to one small joint. This was lost this past winter.


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Ottawa and Area Cactus & Succulent Group
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada