What do cacti do when it freezes in the desert?

Wear top hats, of course.

On this particular day, I was on my way back from the family outing in Cave Creek, Arizona. It was very cloudy and rainy that day but when we arrived at the Veteran's Cemetery, the sun was shining through the clouds. I thought that was quite fitting. We then went to lunch at a cowboy restaurant in Cave Creek and by that time, it had begun raining again. We all decided to head home instead of driving around looking at property.

It had begun hailing on my drive back but I had to stop at this cactus nursery to get this photo. Hopefully, you can see white specks in the photo. That's the hail. Naturally, I stayed in the car.

There are some people who put styrofoam cups on top of their cactus in the winter in case of a freeze. This really doesn't happen often but the cups are kept on for a couple of months. A freeze can kill some plants and will cause frost bite on cactus. I've never done this but I no longer live in a house with desert landscaping. But even when I did, I never did this because I think it's very wasteful and just puts more styrofoam in the landfills. Styrofoam is not biodegradeble. All of the cactus nurseries do this because they can't sell a damaged cactus.

About pam

I am retired from real 9 to 5 jobs. I do my artwork and occasionally write poetry. In September 2010, I moved to Fargo, ND after spending 60 years in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, five years later, July 2015, I'm back in Arizona. And yes, I love the heat!
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48 Responses to What do cacti do when it freezes in the desert?

  1. PainterWoman says:

    Oh, Angeliki, and when the bacteria starts in….what a horrible smell! :yuck: The cactus at my old house did pretty well. We also had two huge palo verde trees and their overhang protected the cactus.

  2. zetorres says:

    First phto it's great with so many cactus! :):)Second photo, what a lovelly cowboy restaurante! :):):)My trees are a save of freeze! :):)Great post Pamela! ;):):):)

  3. PainterWoman says:

    Thank you, Ze. We have many cactus and also many of these cowboy restaurants. We love them. It's not all just beer, steaks and potatoes. I had a chicken taco salad. Yummy!:D

  4. ellinidata says:

    I love it when I learn new things!thanks Pamela for this post!this is what I did find: " Most cactus are not killed by the cold, but when the water inside the plant freezes it expands and splits the outer layer of skin, this allows bacteria to enter the plant and kill it. In the winter I listen to the weather report if we are to get rain then a freeze, I will cover my more tender ones with a box or tarp (not plastic) to help keep them dry."more on cacti :http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/trees/cactus.html so the cold does not kill them the bacteria do…who knew? amazing info , thanks! :heart:

  5. zetorres says:

    Hummmmmmmmmmmmm :happy::happy: sounds great Pamela! Those restaurants here only in the American movies! ;););)

  6. gdare says:

    Nice post Pam. For a moment made me feel like a member of pistolero gang, walking there with silver spurs on my boots :cool:Btw, cactuses are my favourite plants :up:

  7. PainterWoman says:

    Ze, maybe I should open a cowboy restaurant in Portugal.:D Pam's Wild West Saloon….how's that? πŸ˜† Thanks Darko. There's still a few men who wear those kinds of clothes but it's getting less and less frequent that I see them. I'm glad there are places that are keeping the wild west alive. There was one place called Rawhide that used to have fake shootouts right in the middle of the town, hayrides and campfire picnics. There's another place here where many western movies were filmed. Can't think of the name at the moment.

  8. PainterWoman says:

    Here is a site that has a list of western movies filmed in Sedona, Arizona:http://www.arizonamoviestudio.com/index.php?page_id=7I'm still trying to think of the name of the other western town.

  9. zetorres says:

    Pamela if you let me work in your restaurant! would be great! A new job! :happy:

  10. PainterWoman says:

    Ze, of course! That would be a blast! πŸ˜€

  11. PainterWoman says:

    That's a fairly recent one too Darko. A couple of years ago maybe? I've never seen it so it goes on my list.

  12. gdare says:

    Wow, nice link Pam. "3:10 to Yuma" was a cool movie, one of the best western movies ever :up:

  13. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks Scott, I didn't know it was a remake. I'll have to see both.

  14. I_ArtMan says:

    nice post pam. after my little visit to arizona i appreciate it even more… 3:10 to yuma is an old movie…they just remade it last year πŸ™‚ they're both real good.

  15. I_ArtMan says:

    the first one has glenn ford in it… very suspenseful. maybe the new one is a little more exciting. πŸ™‚

  16. Dacotah says:

    Hi Pam πŸ™‚

  17. BabyJay99 says:

    Very interesting. Thank you Lady Pam πŸ˜‰ In Singapore the cactus used umbrella because its too hot πŸ˜† πŸ˜† na just kidding :doh: hmm are there any here? :sherlock:

  18. PainterWoman says:


  19. ricewood says:

    What to do with cacti when it freezes? Well, to be honest I never gave it a thought :smile:No wonder though, when you consider the fact that I live in a part of the world where there are no cacti at all – except sometimes in people's window sills.Here in our northern parts, we use more radical ways of protecting our plants. We have to – otherwise we'll have to import far too much. When I drive back to my city at night, I enjoy watching the clouds artificially lit from underneath by landscape-sized greenhouses. It looks like somebody painted the sky in orange. But having seen cacti with hats on your blog made quite an impression, too πŸ™‚

  20. gdare says:

    I meant the old one from 1957. πŸ˜€http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050086/

  21. PainterWoman says:

    Me too!

  22. ricewood says:

    When Opera does that to me, I just press the "refresh" button, that way I'll see whether my comment's been added or not.

  23. PainterWoman says:

    Lea, your comment reminded me of umbrella hats: http://www.umbrellahat.net/ I have seen a few people where these here. They're sort of funny looking. I have even seen guys wear them….mainly as a joke. Allan, I like the texture in the roof of the greenhouses. We need something like that in the summer.Darko, as soon as Scott mentioned Glen Ford, I remembered seeing the old one as a kid. Now I wonder if both versions were filmed in Sedona. I also wonder why it wasn't filmed in Yuma? Probably not picturesque enough. p.s. Opera is farting this morning. Every click takes me to 'webpage not found'……let's see if this goes through.

  24. PainterWoman says:

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† I guess it did! Now let's see if I can delete a few of these. Funny that it has a memory of all the times I tried.

  25. PainterWoman says:

    I did many, many times. Every click, including 'submit' kept taking me to a white page or a 'webpage not found', then clicked 'refresh', same thing. However, it kept the memory of all those times then when it finally was back to normal, there were seven! Wasn't able to get into anyone else's blog either.

  26. ricewood says:

    I see. Well, nothing you could do to help it, then.It's a long time ago that Opera had strange bugs – I sincerely hope this is not something we'll have to struggle with again!

  27. BabyJay99 says:

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† Saw that here in Singapore mostly by the tourist from Japan. :up:

  28. PainterWoman says:

    I'd like to get one just to get my kids' reactions. πŸ˜†

  29. BabyJay99 says:


  30. edwardpiercy says:

    Styrofoam? Haven't they ever heard of stocking caps? I mean, c'mon…So, what did you have for lunch there?

  31. PainterWoman says:

    A chicken taco salad. It was really quite good.

  32. studio41 says:

    Cactus salad is a fave of mine! I just love cactus!!

    Haven't they ever heard of stocking caps? I mean, c'mon

    :lol:I just don't understand why only the top must be covered, don't get it. Did you get hail damage on your car?! Interesting post, Pam. πŸ™‚

  33. wickedlizard says:

    :sst: If you don't mind my saying so, but those cacti look like they have condoms on… πŸ˜†

  34. PainterWoman says:

    Jill: You'd think living in Arizona I would have tried cactus salad or even prickly pear jelly. Have tried neither one. The tops of the cactus get affected by frost like certain plants do. Issy: I thought so too and almost titled my post 'Always Wear Protection' but then figured there'd be some comments I'd have to delete. :eyes:

  35. wickedlizard says:


  36. BabyJay99 says:

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† Lady Issy :up: πŸ˜† πŸ˜† Lady Pam :yes:

  37. PainterWoman says:

    Ed, that's a good dressing for sure. I've also mixed cottage cheese and salsa for a dip. It's delicious but gross to look at.

  38. wickedlizard says:

    ROFL! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† I'm sorry was I being inappropriate? ? πŸ˜† :up:Have a Great Weekend! :heart:

  39. edwardpiercy says:

    Taco salad. Good choice — a little bit of everything, really.You know if you take a jar of your favorite salsa and mix it with sour cream, it makes an excellent dressing.

  40. BabyJay99 says:

    Have a great weekend to you too Lady Issy and everyone here πŸ˜‰

  41. studio41 says:

    I love guacamole. Have you tried cottage, farmer's (the soft spreadable one) and an envelope of Italian dressing or something like that.Pam, please try cactus, I think it is incredible! I would like to know if you like it. The way I have had it it is marinated in something first… then red onion, lettuce, mexican cheese… to die for.

  42. PainterWoman says:

    Jill, what kind of cactus in the salad? I've heard of prickly pear cactus being used before in different things. Not sure if I've ever seen it in the grocery store though.

  43. studio41 says:

    http://www.mexgrocer.com/1200.htmlsomething like this… as I mentioned, it was marinated always prior to serving… I think in some kind of Italian dressing, lol. But it is so addictive! let me know if you try it.

  44. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks for the link Jill. I'll see what I can find in the stores here.

  45. studio41 says:

    I'm not sure I've tried that brand, but something in a can or jar– I rinse first, seems to be in a brine or too much salt, too little flavour… and maybe marinate in salad dressing you like– I forgot two important ingredients to the salad, tomatoes and cilantro (the onion is critical!) πŸ™‚ Hope you like it as much as I do… I have a craving!

  46. Suntana says:

    I would think that wind often knocks off the top hats?Or are they held on by the thorns / needles? Or how ARE they held on?

  47. PainterWoman says:

    I think the needles must hold them on. Some cactus have pretty long needles.

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