Sorry, George, for the precarious positioning

Opuntia fragilis (ex: Lake of the Woods, Canada)

Ball Cactus

Plant Type:


Opuntia fragilis (ex: Lake of the Woods, Canada) – This is a most interesting tiny ball type cactus with relatively long spines which comes from the Canadian Plains purportedly hardy to the sub-Arctic. That’s astonishing! We have yet to see it flower but would imagine its blooms will be yellow, but we do not know for sure. It’ll be a conversation piece in the stone garden and is small enough for a trough where it will gradually spread, clump and mound armed with surprisingly long brown spines. This Ball Cactus is from the Central Canadian Plains. Clumping with moderately fast increase. Opuntia fragilis (ex: Lake of the Woods) is offered as pot grown from divisions - full pots.


2 in


3 to 7(8?)
What is my hardiness zone?

Characteristics and Attributes for Opuntia fragilis (ex: Lake of the Woods, Canada)

Season of Interest (Flowering)

  • Late Spring / Early Summer

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Four Seasons

Nature Attraction

  • Honey Bees & Native Bees
  • Deer Resistant


  • Full Sun


  • Rock Garden
  • Border
  • Railroad Garden
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Potted Plant
  • Evergreen
  • Trough
  • Small / Miniature
  • Specimen

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Medium


  • Calcareous
  • Draining
  • Impoverished
  • Scrabbled
  • Sandy
  • Average


  • Central North America
  • Canada

Propagated By

  • Division
  • Bare Root

Genus Overview: Cacti

Common Name: Cactus

All cacti are architectonic naturals settled into a stone and gravel garden. Hardy cacti require full sun in very well-drained conditions – this is especially true when planted in the damp, humid eastern U.S. John Spain, guru to cacti growers in New England and beyond, has amended his growing mix to 90% sand and crushed stone to 10% good compost. Raised beds or planting on a south-facing slope are very helpful; low lying areas that hold onto moisture between rains are an anathema to cacti culture. In that there are fungi that can ravage colonies we are offering cultivars that have been completely or relatively disease-free in northeastern Connecticut. Beware the glochids!!! Those are the nexi where the spines emerge. Handle all with care for even those that are spineless can inflict little fiber optic-like hairs which when stuck in the skin may drive you crazy for as long as a week! When cleaning up or propagating I arm myself with my handy Felco pruners in one hand and pliers in the other – for all you classic 50s sci-fi buffs, a modern day Robby the Robot!