Cold Hardy Cactus and Succulents 2022


Cold Hardy Native Oklahoma Cactus and Succulents will be marked with a *.

Well, here is my list of cactus and succulents that should survive our Oklahoma winters.

If you would like to see what these plants look like do a Google search for the name of the plant and you’ll find some nice photos. Sorry to say I’m not a user of common names, because one common name may relate to a dozen different plants. Please let me know if you have something to add to the list. Big Thank you to everyone the helped put this list together!


These markers are from the results many grower’s experiences with these plants.

Plants not native that have survived with little to no cold damage marked with a ^.

Plants not native that handled the cold but really don't like our winter moisture marked with a ^^.

Plants not native that handled the cold, not sure of our wet winters ^?.

Plants that die back to the ground @ 10F may come back. ^#


^ Agave ovatifolia 

^ Agave parryi

^ Agave parryi var. huachucensis

^ Agave scabra (also known as Agave asperrima)

^ Agave lechuguilla

^^ Agave nevadensis (also known as Agave utahensis var. nevadensis)

^? Agave salmiana ssp. ferox ‘Green Goblot’ (A selection of Agave salmiana var. ferox that grows to 4 feet tall by 5 feet wide with wide dark green leaves that are slightly bluish at their base. This selection was made by Yucca Do from near the Sierra Chiquita Mountains in Mexico. This plant was selected because it is a more compact and greener plant within a population of plants that were more open and blue-green. Yucca Do Nursery notes that this plant was not damaged at 15 F and Tony Avent at Plant Delights Nursery notes it is hardy to the single digits though care should be used not to allow it to remain too wet in winter.  The information that is presented on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations we have made of it in the nursery's garden and in other gardens we have visited, as well how it performs in our nursery crops out in the field. We incorporate comments that we receive from others as well and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they know of cultural information that would aid others in growing Agave salmiana var. ferox 'Green Goblet'.)

^ Agave x gracilipes 'Culberson Kids' (hybrid offered by Plant Delights Nursery)


^?Austrocylindropuntia subulata is a species of cactus native to the Peruvian Andes. The Latin specific epithet subulata means "awl-like", referring to the shape of the rudimentary leaves. It is also known by its common names as Eve's pin and Eve's needle.


*Cylindropuntia davisii (also known as Opuntia davisii)

*Cylindropuntia imbricate (also known as Opuntia imbricate)

*Cylindropuntia imbricate ssp. arborescens (also known as Opuntia arborescens)

*Cylindropuntia kleinae (also known as Opuntia kleinae)

*Cylindropuntia leptocaulis (also known as Opuntia leptocaulis)


^ + ^Dasylirion texanum (Is a spectacular Southwest native that is the hardiest of the green sotols. Related to yucca, Dasylirion texanum is a handsome drought-tolerant desert plant that is a structural addition to any garden. The long, narrow, light-green leaves are serrated and slightly twisted. Each plant makes a 3' tall x 4' wide clump. This sotol collection from 2,000' elevation just west of Dryden (Terrell County), Texas.)


^ + ^Dasylirion wheeleri (Sotol is a long-lived native of the native Chihuahuan desert. Its attractive evergreen succulent forms a large rosette of toothed blue-green leaves that beautifies the landscape year-round. 3-5 ft. tall x 4-6 ft. wide. Once mature, the plants bloom with a tall, pole-like flower spike that holds on the plant for through the winter. Sotol is very long-lived and the plants will eventually form a short woody truck and may even grow multiple rosettes after several decades.)


^ + ^^Delosperma cooperi  (Is a hardy ice plant a dwarf perennial plant native to South Africa. It forms a dense lawn with abundant, long-lasting flowers. It reaches sizes of approximately 10–15 cm (4–6 in) tall, with fleshy leaves that are linear and simple and can grow up to 1.5 inches long and a trailing stem that hangs down. These fleshy roots help provide the ability for the plants to recover and grow rapidly if a disturbance has occurred. Unlike many ice plants, this species is hardy to −20 °F (−29 °C), successfully overwintering at locations such as Denver, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois.)


^ + ^^Delosperma nubigenum (This is an outstanding ground cover and rock garden plant recommended for its vigorous carpeting growth habit. The foliage is succulent and evergreen, with a bright red winter color. Blooming for a month in late spring, the plant covers itself with hundreds of yellow many petaled blooms. Not as heat tolerant as Delosperma cooperi because it comes from colder, higher mountains in South Africa. Excellent for use in areas like Vail, CO and other mountain towns. (cutting propagated) Cannot tolerate foot traffic.)


^Echinocereus coccineus ssp. coccineus (Usually clumping, often in large colonies of as many as 50-100 (500)-thick stems on each plant at maturity. Stems can vary from almost spineless to wildly and densely spined.Hummingbird-attracting, colour ranges from near orange, scarlet , and pink to deep crimson shades, with rounded petal tips length and width averaged 80 mm and 30 mm, respectively, stigma with 7 or 8 lobes.)

^Echinocereus coccineus var. paucispinu


*Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. baileyi

*Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. caespitosus

*Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. baileyi

*Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. baileyi

*Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. baileyi


^Echinocereus triglochidiatus (The flowers are a beautiful deep red, with many petals that form the shape of a cup. They bloom from April through June, and are the first to bloom in the desert.)


*Echinocereus viridiflorus


*Echinocactus texensis (also known as Ferocactus texensis or Homalocephala texensis)


*Escobaria missouriensis (also known as Coryphantha missouriensis, Mammillaria missouriensis, Escobaria similis)


*Escobaria vivipara (also known as Coryphantha vivipara ssp. vivipara)


^ + ^Gymnocalycium bruchii (This is one of the most cold-tolerant South American species. It can grow outdoors, and is hardy to -15° C or less.)


^ + ^Hesperaloe parviflora = Red yucca (which is not a yucca) in the Agavaceae faimly is a stalwart in the landscapes of Texas and the southwest. Its dark green rosette of long, thin leaves rising fountain-like from the base provides an unusual sculptural accent, its long spikes of pink to red to coral bell-shaped flowers last from May through October, and it is exceedingly tough, tolerating extreme heat and cold and needing no attention or supplemental irrigation once established, although many people remove the dried flower stalks in the fall. Unlike yucca, the leaves are not spine-tipped, and have fibrous threads along the edges. Red yucca is native to Central and Western Texas. A yellow-flowered form has recently become available in nurseries, and a larger, white-flowered species native to Mexico, giant hesperaloe (H. funifera), which has only been found in one location in the Trans-Pecos, is also available. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers.


*Mammillaria heyderi ssp. hemisphaeria


*Nolina greenei (Woodland beargrass, is a plant species native to the United States. It is widespread in New Mexico and also reported from Colorado (Las Animas County), Texas (Deaf Smith and Garza Counties) and Oklahoma (Cimarron County).[2][3] Nolina greenei grows in rocky locations such as limestone outcrops and old lava flows, often in grasslands or in pine-oak woodlands at elevations of 1200–2000 m. It is a perennial rosette forming plant with an underground caudex. Leaves are long and narrow, sometimes over 100 cm long but rarely more than 1 cm wide. They sometimes have sharp teeth along the margins. Flowering stalk is up to 20 cm high, with a large panicle of white flowers with purple midveins. Fruit is a dry, inflated capsule up to 5 mm across.)


*Nolina lindhiemeriana (Is a subshrub shrub of the genus Nolina. Its duration is perennial which means it will grow year after year. Great for rock gardens. Floral region is North America US Lower 48, specifically in the state of Texas.)


^Nolina microcarpa (Bear grass is similar in appearance to yucca and clumping grass, but is neither. Usually found growing in high desert areas, along cliffs and rocky slopes. Thin succulent grasslike yellow-green leaves emerge from a trunkless center, are pointed and sharp edged. A plume-like inflorescence with many tiny cream colored flowers emerges early summer. Very Cold hardy, drought and heat tolerant.)


^Nolina texensis (The Devil’s Shoestring (a type of beargrass) has mounding, grass-like foliage that over time can reach 6’ or more across, but is often half that size, with a height of a couple of feet. It is a superb native species that grows in the form of an evergreen vase of grassy, cord-like foliage. Clusters of creamy to greenish-white flowers are produced on short stalks in the spring to early summer. This species occurs naturally from central Texas and New Mexico into Northern Mexico.  Great in rock gardens or spaced out for groundcover. It is outstanding on ledges or in containers where its long, wiry foliage can drape. This tough plant can be used like an evergreen grass. Its form echoes that of agaves and yuccas. Extremely hardy; to at least



*Opuntia compressa ssp. humifusa

*Opuntia compressa var. macrorhiza (also known as Opuntia macrorhiza or Opuntia cymochila)

^Opuntia cacanapa ‘Ellisiana’ (Not sure on the ID of this Opuntia that I’m growing. But, it looks similar to the one I liked. I’ve been growing it over 35 years here in Midwest City, Oklahoma. It came to me as a Collage Station hybrid. It’s very cold hardy. Dose best planned in the ground.)

*Opuntia engelmannii ssp. engelmannii

*Opuntia engelmannii ssp. lindheimeri

*Opuntia fragilis

^Opuntia fragilis (debreczyi) ssp. denuda (‘Potato’ Particularly globe-shaped, spherical stems make this selection unique. Virtually spineless and occasional deep yellow flowers in June. 3" high by 12" wide. A favorite of rock and trough gardeners. Pads turn purple in winter. Ideal as a root stock to use in grafting of difficult-to-grow species. Zone 4. Origin unknown. Typical of forms on the Colorado Plateau north into south-central Wyoming. A "must" for every cold hardy Opuntia collection.)

*Opuntia phaecantha ssp. camanchica

*Opuntia polyacantha


^Opuntia schottii (also known as Grusonia schottii. ‘Dog Cholla’ low growing mat forming plant with large yellow flowers.)


^Sedum (Sedum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, members of which are commonly known as stonecrops. The genus has been described as containing up to 600 species, subsequently reduced to 400–500. They are leaf succulents found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, but extending into the southern hemisphere in Africa and South America. The plants vary from annual and creeping herbs to shrubs. The plants have water-storing leaves. The flowers usually have five petals, seldom four or six. There are typically twice as many stamens as petals. Various species formerly classified as Sedum are now in the segregate genera Hylotelephium and Rhodiola.


^Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce' (Blue foliage, clusters of bright yellow flowers in summer. Winter foliage color is silvery-purple. A very popular groundcover, great for rock gardens and ledges. I found they would like a little shade in the Oklahoma summer heat, but very cold hardy.)

^Sedum spectabile = Hylotelephium spectabile (syn. Sedum spectabile is a species of flowering plant in the stonecrop family Crassulaceae, native to China and Korea. Growing to 45 cm (18 in) tall and broad, it is an herbaceous perennial with alternate, simple, toothed leaves on erect, unbranched succulent stems and has a tuber root rhizome. The leaves are usually arranged opposite or in threes, simple and more or less wedge-shaped at the base, and frosted blue above; they are 2.5 to 10 cm long and 0.8 to 5 cm wide. The leaf margin is smooth or serrated towards the tip. Stipules are missing. Easy way of saying it the tops died back in the winter and grow back in the spring. Great for our cold winters. This has many hybrids that I’m sure you would like to have in your Cold Hardy Cactus and Succulent Gardens.

^Sedum spurium (Is a spreading evergreen perennial with alternate, simple, fleshy leaves on creeping stems. The flowers are pink, borne in spring through fall. Do a Google for Sedum spurium and check out all the beautiful this one!  

^Sempervivum sp. (Sempervivum is a genus of about 40 species of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, commonly known as houseleeks. Other common names include live forever and hen and chicks, a name shared with plants of other genera as well. They are succulent perennials forming mats composed of tufted leaves in rosettes. When I was growing these I found the some Sempervivum species and hybrids were more cold hardy then others. Some don’t the Oklahoma summer heat, so some afternoon shade would help them out.)


^Thelocactus mcdowellii (Is a summer grower species and does not require any special treatment. Water regularly from Spring to Autumn, but do not overwater. Requires full sun or light shade and careful watering to keep plant compact with strong spines. It will stand as much sun as you can give it, as long as there is good air circulation. Needs good drainage and very porous potting mix, it can become too elongated if compost is too rich. It will flower much better if it has a cool resting period during the winter. Frost Tolerance: Hardy to -7° C. Mexico (Nuevo León, Coahuila)


^#Yucca aloifolia (Is native to the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States from southern Virginia south to Florida and west to the Texas Gulf Coast, to Mexico along the Yucatán coast, and to Bermuda, and parts of the Caribbean. Normally Yucca aloifolia is grown in USDA zones 8 through 11. Yucca aloifolia is a popular landscape plant in beach areas along the lower East Coast from Virginia to Florida.)


^Yucca baccata (Known as the banana yucca, is a common species of yucca native to the deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, from southeastern California north to Utah, east to western Texas and south to Sonora and Chihuahua. It is also reported in the wild in Colombia. The species gets its common name "banana yucca" from its banana-shaped fruit. The specific epithet baccata means 'with berries'. Banana yucca is closely related to the Yucca schidigera, the Mojave yucca, with which it is interspersed where their ranges overlap; hybrids between them occur.)

^Yucca baileyi (It is native to UtahArizonaNew Mexico and Colorado but has been cultivated elsewhere.  Much of its native range is within the boundaries of the Navajo (Diné) Reservation, hence the common name "Navajo yucca." The Navajo people make extensive use of yucca fibers to make a wide assortment of useful and ceremonial items. They also use the roots as soap. It is not considered to be threatened, as it has a large range and an overall stable population. Yucca baileyi is a relatively small species, usually acaulescent but sometimes with a short leafy stem. It can produce as many as 15 rosettes. Flowering stalk is up to 150 cm tall, with greenish-white to slightly purplish flowers.)

^Yucca constricta (Common name "Buckley's yucca". It is found in rocky limestone hills of central and eastern Texas, and also in Coahuila, Mexico. Yucca constricta is usually acaulescent (trunkless), sometimes growing in clumps, spreading by trailing stems. Flowering stalks reach as high as 50 cm (20 inches) with pendent, greenish-white flowers. Fruit is a dry capsule with shiny black seeds. Yucca constricta is relatively abundant, and although it has local threats, its population appears to be stable overall.)

^Yucca elata (Is a perennial plant, with common names that include soaptreesoaptree yuccasoapweed, and palmella. It is native to southwester, western TexasNew MexicoArizona, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and northern . Yucca elata is widely distributed, although its population appears to be decreasing.)


^Yucca filamentosa  (Is a species native to the southeastern United States. Growing to 3 m (10 ft) tall, it is an evergreen shrub valued in horticulture for its architectural qualities. Yucca filamentosa is closely related to Yucca flaccida and it is possible they should be classified as a single species.  

^Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' (Is a dramatic architectural plant with rosettes of spear-shaped leaves of creamy yellow and green. The leaf edges often have curly hairs or filaments on their edges and they take on tinges of pink to coral in winter. In summer, mature plants are topped by 6' or taller stalks of creamy white flowers that are loved by hummingbirds. This evergreen perennial forms basal offsets and may eventually form a very large clump. Yucca 'Color Guard' makes a wonderful specimen plant and is easily grown in containers.)

^# + ^Yucca filamentosa var. smalliana = Yucca smalliana

*Yucca flaccida (It is native to south-central and southeastern North America, from the lower Great Plains eastward to the Atlantic seaboard in Virginia, south through Florida and the Gulf states.[6] Its natural habitat is in sandy open woodlands and fields. It is a stemless evergreen shrub growing to 55 cm (22 in) tall by 150 cm (59 in) broad. It has a basal rosette of sharply pointed, swordlike leaves up to 55 cm (22 in) long. In summer, 150 cm (59 in) long panicles of bell-shaped creamy white flowers are held above the foliage. Populations in the South Central Region of the United States with unusually narrow leaves have been segregated as Y. louisianensis by some authorities. This entity is found in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.)

*Yucca glauca (Is native to central North America: occurring from the Canadian Prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada; south through the Great Plains to Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma in the United States and south in to Mexico.)


*Yucca gloriosa (Also known as syn. Yucca recurvifoliaYucca gloriosa ssp. recurvifolia), It is often grown as an ornamental plant, and is native to the southeastern United States, from coastal southeastern Virginia south through Florida and west to Texas. In contrast to Y. gloriosa var. tristis, the leaves of Y. gloriosa var. gloriosa are hard stiff, erect and narrower. 


^^Yucca harrimaniae ‘Nana’ (A tiny, clustering Yucca native to the Great Basin desert in Utah between 1600 and 2400 m. It forms compact rosettes of narrow, bluish-green leaves with filiferous edges and older plants develop a short, thin trunk. It is easy in cultivation, very hardy to drought and freezes and suitable for dry, temperate areas in USDA Zones 5 to 10. This form is separated by some as a distinct species, Yucca nana, but is generally considered to botanically fit well within the variable Y. harrimaniae.)


^# + ^Yucca linearifolia Is a slow growing tree-like yucca up to 3.5 m tall, that has hundreds of narrow pliant pale blue-green leaves up to 40 cm long in a globular head standing above the ground on a stout trunk that can reach to 1,2-3.5 m tall with time. It is one of the most beautiful yucca and in the past has been considered a form of Yucca rostrata (Yucca rostata var. linearis), but recent treatment has placed it in its own species noting that its distinctive combination of fleshy fruit and narrow, linear, denticulate leaves sets it apart from all other yuccas. The species is the only fleshy-fruited Yucca with narrow denticulate leaves.)


^ + ^ + ^Yucca rostrata (Is a slow-growing tree-like yucca with upright stems and beautiful shimmering topknot of slender grey-blue foliage. The leaf-margins are minutely toothed, translucent yellowish. Large clusters of white flowers bloom on yellow-orange coloured stalks that rise above the foliage on mature plants in late spring. The specific epithet 'rostrata' means "beaked" in reference to either the shape of the flower buds or appendages on the fruit. Yucca rostrata, particularly the larger plants, is perhaps the most handsome yucca.


^Yucca rupicola (The twisted-leaf yucca, this is a small, acaulescent plant with distinctive twisted leaves. It is native to the Edwards Plateau region of Texas and also to northeastern Mexico (CoahuilaNuevo León). Yucca rupicola forms colonies of rosettes, lacking trunks above-ground but producing a branched caudex under the surface. Leaves are narrowly lanceolate, slightly succulent, twisted, up to 60 cm long but about 40 mm wide at its widest point. Flowers are pendant (drooping), bell-shaped, white or greenish. Fruit is a dry capsule up to 6 cm long.)

^Yucca schottii (Is another of the spectacular tree yuccas, usually reaching Sasquatch-like proportions of 10-15' tall. The rigid, steely-blue leaves, to 3' long, form a truly structural, as well as imposing, clump...sure to put fear in the neighborhood kids. From near the summit of the Chiricahua Mts., a hardy yucca with very blue-gray leaves, to 3' long and sharply pointed, both stiff and more flexible than other "tree" yuccas. For sun to part shade. An excellent garden species, both very drought tolerant and very frost hardy, accepting temperatures to -10 °F.)

^ + ^Yucca thompsoniana (Is perhaps just a smaller northern and eastern variant of Yucca rostrata (Beaked Yucca), a generally taller, more robust plant with wider, longer, bluish-green (glaucous) leaves found in southern Brewster county. Closely related, the two forms easily intergraded and young plants and even populations are often difficult to satisfactorily separate. As a result, some botanists consider Yucca rostrata a synonym and merge those plants under Yucca thompsoniana.)

^# + ^Yucca treculeana var. canaliculata (Although no longer recognized by herbarium taxonomists, Yucca treculeana var. canaliculata is quite distinct from typical Y. treculeana in its Sasquatch-like proportions. This giant is made up of stiff 5' long glaucous green leaves (3.5' is typical) radiating out from the massive 1' thick trunk. This giant form hails from the Rio Grande region of south Texas, where it forms monster-sized clumps along the Texas-Mexico border. In the garden, our 7-year-old deer-resistant clumps are 10' tall x 11' wide. Mature plants are topped with massive globes of white that open to reveal the white bell-shaped flowers. If you need to stop trespassing deer this is your plant!)