Opuntia 'Desert Skies' is a select form of Opuntia x castorea produced by Tom Jesch at Waterwise Botanicals. We are lucky enough to sell some clones from them. Plants get their name 'Sandstone' because flowers are red like the Desert sandstone in SW Utah. Opuntia x castorea is a natural hybrid between Opuntia erinacea and Opuntia macrorhiza. Some invalid names associated with this type of opuntia is opuntia woodsii which has no valid taxonomic name. We have had this plant in our garden for 25 years, they have proven cold hardy taking -17F and only getting damge once in all that time. We removed the pads and they got a better bloom than in other years. Plants can get 2ft tall and 3ft wide. In colder climates they will not get the height. Rooted pads in 5" pots.
I do not guarantee these in a zone 5/6 because everyones growing conditions are different but this would be a good trial plant to grow in your cold outdoor garden. Try to plant outdoor 90 days before 1st hard freeze.
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