Opuntia engelmannii ssp. engelmannii "Most Cold Hardy form"
Opuntia engelmannii most cold hardy form is from the Canadian Escarpment near Las Vegas, New Mexico. This is the furthest north location in New Mexico. This area has historically gotten to -30F. These plants im sure are sheltered from that extreme of temperatures but they have survived -17F in our garden several winters with zero damage. These are slower growing than most opuntia but they still get pads 20" across or larger. The plants do like extra water when growing in the heat of summer, assuming you live in an area of 10" of rainfall or less. They seem relaible as flowering plants and the fruit ive used several times to make Prickly-pear syrup. Thes plants flower typical yellow flowers that fade to orange-red in the heat of the day. These are slow for us to make pads that is why they cost more. Also it took us years of trialing plants to find a very good clone. Try at your own risk.
Next year we will be introducing our own line of colorful hybrids based on these cold hardy Opuntia engelmannii.