Cacti thrive in Minnesota
COTTAGE GROVE - Barb Arntzen, of Cottage Grove, said people believe cacti can only grow in deserts in the Southwest. To prove her point that they also grow in Minnesota, she carries a photograph in her purse of the prickly pear cacti that bloomed...
COTTAGE GROVE - Barb Arntzen, of Cottage Grove, said people believe cacti can only grow in deserts in the Southwest. To prove her point that they also grow in Minnesota, she carries a photograph in her purse of the prickly pear cacti that bloomed in her yard in 2004.
Now, she has further proof and more pictures because, for the second time, the cacti are blooming their heads off under her front windows.
Arntzen got her first prickly pear from a friend in St. Paul. They are propagated by removing a "paddle" or top portion of a stem from a plant, and letting it dry out before planting, according to Arntzen's brother, John.
Arntzen, who said her brother knows a lot about plants, said the prickly pear paddles need to be planted in crummy dirt, at least by Minnesota standards where fertile, black dirt is prized for agriculture.
"They don't need potting soil," she said.
John believes having the plants under the eave on the front of the house protects them from pelting rain. It also keeps them drier than plants in the rest of the yard.
"They grow into Canada," said John. "I've also seen them in North Dakota."
Barb and John are excited the plants are teeming with yellow flowers, but they believe they can help the plants go to the next level.
Using Q-tips, they are gathering the pollen in the blooms and putting it in the center of the flower.
Both hope the plants will pollinate and yield real prickly pears like they do in the desert.
Pears, with carefully removed skins, are used in jellies and drinks, according to Wikipedia.