How to Care for Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus (Hedgehog Cactus Guide)

How to Care for Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus

Care Of Echinocereus Engelmannii

Echinocereus engelmannii, also known as Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus or strawberry hedgehog cactus, is a species of flowering cactus in the Cactaceae family. This cactus is primarily found in the desert regions of the United States, including areas near Mexico, Sonora, California, and Arizona.

Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti are very popular in their natural habitat and are very often used as ornamental landscape plants. Their adaptability to any environment and easy-going nature have earned them a solid reputation.

Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti are native to semi-arid habitats where they grow alongside other kinds of desert plants. Their ability to withstand extreme temperatures is also another reason why they continue to be popular.

The Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus is a beautiful, multi-stemmed succulent that many gardeners grow in pots, planting them in well-draining and aerated soil and providing them with plenty of warmth and light. With loving care, these beauties can be great companions for years.

It’s important to provide ample space for it to spread out; one small cactus can easily turn into a crowd. However, if you’re short on space or don’t want your plant to get too big, it will bloom best when it’s pot-bound (i.e., when its roots are growing through the holes of the pot).

The spines on the stems of this cactus are fragile but sharp, so it’s best to handle it with gloves or tongs.

  • Hedgehog cacti are found in a wide range of arid habitats, from near sea level to elevations of up to 2,400.0 m (2,400 ft). They are widespread and plentiful.
  • Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus is a prickly plant native to the southwest, which has a unique way of attracting fruit-eating birds to spread its seeds. Its fruit are said to taste like strawberries and are very attractive to birds and rodents, but the spikes that protect it from larger predators make it impossible for them to reach.
  • Seed-dispersing birds have learned an easy way to access the delicious treat: by pulling on the cactus spines, they can pluck the fruits right off their stems. The birds swallow the fruits whole, take the seeds out in their droppings, and then either eat or discard the rest of the fruit, which means they’re helping to disperse seeds far from the plant’s original location.
  • Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus, one of the most popular houseplants due to its combination of low-maintenance needs and bold coloration, thrives in direct sunlight year-round. These cacti prefer a shady spot when young and full sun when fully grown. Strong sunlight promotes spinal production.
  • Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti thrive in lots of warmth and even extreme heat, but some varieties can be quite frost tolerant in the short term. They can only flower if they have wintry conditions suitable for a dormant period.
  • Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) will grow in a variety of conditions and thrive in the warmth. In fact, they prefer some heat in their environment and can thrive with temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit—and they are pretty much immune to short-term freezing temperatures. They need lots of sun and don’t appreciate being planted in too shady an area.
  • Hedgehog cacti grow mainly in well-drained deserts, grass, chaparral, mountain ranges, and also rocky, sandy, or gravel slopes.

  • In deep planters with drainage holes at the bottom, hedgehog cactus flourish. These containers will facilitate drainage and assist her enlarged roots in more easily assimilating into her new growing medium.
  • Although hedgehog cacti (Echinocereus engelmannii) are not toxic to humans, their spines can cause injury if handled or ingested by children or pets.

Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus features at a glance

  • The genus Echinocereus contains the species of hedgehog cactus. There are around 70 different kinds of ribbed or cylindrical cacti there. They range in size from little to huge. They often have enormous flowers that are followed by edible fruits.
  • Slowly growing Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti develop a big, open clump of prickly stems. The clumps can expand to a height of 1.0 m (3.9 ft).
  • Anywhere between 3 and 60 branches can be produced by these clumping columnar cacti. Between 11 and 14 flattened, low-obtuse tubercle and tubercle ribs with somewhat wavy crests make up their structure.
  • The stems of these plants are mainly light green and cylindrical. They can reach heights of 1.5 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) and widths of 2-10 cm (5-10 cm).
  • The central and radial spines of Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti can be different sizes and hues, such as B. white, gray, yellow, reddish, or brown. In each areole, they develop in pairs of 8–20, growing straight, twisted, or crooked.

    When hedgehog cactus are in their spring blooming season, their blooms last for around five days. They close at night and open again in the morning.
  • Pink flowers on hedgehog cactus plants can range in hue and can reach a height of 7 cm. In some types, you might also discover hues like purple, lavender, or vivid red.
  • From May to July, Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti are spherical, reddish-orange, and mushy. They come in stunning red, pink, and white combinations.

Growing Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus

Strawberry hedgehog cactus

Your Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti require constant, direct sunlight. When these spiky cactus are first planted, they should be placed in an area that will get a lot of direct sunshine. Hedgehog cactus should be grown indoors in the brightest areas of your house, such as B. next to south or west windows. Because they are less established and might suffer considerably from full sun exposure, younger plants need daily mild shade. In the summer heat, hedgehog cactus outdoors thrive when shaded from the sun.

Engelmann’s hedgehog, like many desert cactus species, thrives when it absorbs as much heat as it can. This cactus can withstand exceptionally high temperatures and can withstand frigid temperatures down to -10°C over brief periods of time. Bring your hedgehog cactus indoors and maintain it in a warm location till spring if you live in an area with harsh winters or colder temps.

Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus plants

Because they are prone to root rot, hedgehog cactus require soil that drains well. The optimal growing medium for these cacti is a loose, specially prepared potting soil for succulents and cacti. You can increase drainage by incorporating some perlite or stones into the substrate.

Hedgehog cactus naturally grow in poor soil and don’t require a lot of nutrients to survive. During the active growing season, fertilize them with a liquid fertilizer high in potassium to accelerate their growth. Once a month should be more than enough to fertilize them.

Echinocereus Engelmannii

Repotting is only necessary to give them a new growing habitat because of how slowly they develop. Once a year, in the spring, you can repot your hedgehog cactus into the same container with the right potting soil. Transplant the plants to a little bigger container when they outgrow the one they are in.

Although your hedgehog cactus are mostly free of pests, mealybugs and spider mites may occasionally bite them. Spend some time checking the stems of these cacti for bug infestations when caring for them. Neem oil sprays, a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol, or the proper insecticides and pesticides can all be used to treat the afflicted regions.

Watering the hedgehog cactus

Desert plants known as Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti can withstand dry conditions and little water. Depending on the environment in which these cacti are cultivated, the frequency of watering can change. In order to avoid overwatering your plants, make sure to always check the soil between soakings. Your cacti may be thirsty if the soil is fully dry; this is a common sign.

For the duration of its active development period, hedgehog cactus require watering every two weeks. Your cacti might need to be watered more frequently than usual throughout the summer or when it is really hot outside. In the winter, they also go dormant, need less watering from October to the beginning of April.

Hedgehog cactus multiply

Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti can be grown at home by cuttings and seeds. And if your cacti have more than one fruit or small branches, why not make more babies as gifts for a loved one?

To start, you will need to know how to take care of your cactus. Although they are easy to grow and maintain, it is important to know how to keep your plants happy and healthy. If you want the best results in growing these beauties, please read: How to Grow Cactus from Seeds or Cuttings.

 If you are growing them indoors, place the potted plants in indirect sunlight. If you are growing them outdoors make sure that they are placed in a bright location with protection from full sun during the hottest hours of the day.   

The plants must be pruned back when they are at their strongest, which is in the spring or summer. With a sharp, sanitized knife, carefully remove any healthy detritus from the mother plant’s base. Before transplantation, the offshoots should dry for a few days in a sunny, warm location. In a pot that has been drenched with a moistened cactus mix, put the cut cactus cuttings. The pot needs to be put in a bright area. Until the soil is dry enough to support a robust root system, water the offsets.

To grow Engelmann’s hedgehog cacti from seed, you must first separate them from their fruit. The seeds can be sown directly on the potting soil when the temperature is 20°C. They take 14 to 28 days to germinate. Put the propagation container in a location where it will germinate once it has emerged because seedlings are sensitive to light and drought.


In the end, we think hedgehog cacti are great additions to any home or office. They have very few requirements, and can even stand to be somewhat neglected for a little while. Provided you water them every week or so, they should be perfectly fine without any additional care.

They are happy in nearly all lighting conditions, which makes them a good pick for many spaces. Their spines are soft enough to not be irritating, but still sharp enough to give them a charming appearance.

After seeing the pictures of the blooms and fruit on these cacti (and getting over the ‘weirdness’ factor of seeing fruit on a cactus), we think it’s safe to say that you’ll want one too!

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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