When winter arrives and the weather gets colder and icier, prickly pear and cholla get progressively droopy and sad-looking. Both plants are in the same cactus family of opuntia, so I guess they respond similarly to the cold.
By the end of winter, this is what one of my favorite chollas looked like:
By May when the weather was warming up, even though we had some late freezes, the cholla had perked up and looked like this. The yellow pieces at the ends are what’s left from the blooms from last year:
Buds are now forming, and in a few weeks, it will look like this picture, taken in May of 2012:
So don’t give up on these plants, thinking they have succumbed to the cold weather. Be patient; in what seems like overnight, they will have up-righted themselves and look good again. They will need a little pruning and shaping, but they will reward your efforts with flowers and robust growth in the new season.