Echinocactus grusonii, commonly called mother-in-law’s seat, golden ball, golden barrel, or hedgehog cactus, is a species belonging to the Cactaceae family. The small genus to which it belongs, Echinocactus, together with its related genus Ferocactus, is commonly known as barrel cacti.
Golden Barrel Cactus typically reaches 3 feet high by 2.5 feet wide, ribs 21 to 37. It is fairly quick growing at first, and then the growth rate slows right down. So you can expect to wait about ten years for the cactus to reach 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. It gets its common name from its barrel-like shape.
It is found in central Mexico that extends all the way from Tamaulipas up to Tamaulipas to the State of Hidalgo, and despite being among the most sought-after cacti species in cultivation, they are thought to be extremely rare and are classified as endangered in their natural habitat.
The globular cactus is more or less spherical. Generally solitary, although basal shoots can sprout from adult specimens. In the wild, it can reach more than 1 m in height, but since it grows quite slowly, it can take many years, which is not a problem, given the longevity of this species, more than 100 years.
The species can be easily propagated through seeds that germinate within 5 to 7 days. with the plants growing to 10 centimeters in diameter within the first or second year of sowing.
The majority of Echinocactus are tolerant to cold typically up to -7degC. so long as they’re healthy and the conditions of dry soil are maintained.
How to Grow a Barrel Cactus from Seed
The barrel cactus is a unique and beautiful addition to any garden or flower bed. It’s a succulent that thrives in warm, dry climates and its distinctive shape is a delight to look at. The plant does well outdoors and in pots or containers as well. It grows best when you start it from seed. Here is a handy how-to guide to help you get started with growing your own barrel cactus from seed.
Step 1 – Collect Seeds
The seeds of the cactus Barrel are discovered in the pods just a few months after the flower is gone and dies. The seed pods should develop on the plant and take them out just as they are completely dry.
Step 2 – Remove the Seeds from the Pods
Utilize a safety razor, or craft knife, to slice through on top and then cut along the other end inside the pod. The seeds will be exposed. Scrape off the seeds from the pod using the thin end of a teaspoon.
Step 3 – Soak the Seeds
To prepare the seeds for germination, soak them in water overnight. This softens the outer protective layer and allows nutrients to flow throughout the seed. It also activates a process called imbibition, which allows water to be absorbed into the plant’s embryonic root and shoot cells when conditions are right.
Step 4 – Prepare the Soil
A mix of peat moss, vermiculite, and coarse garden sand in an approximate ratio of 3:2:5 would create a perfect potting mix. You can place a portion of the potting mix in the trays for germination.
Step 5 – Put the seeds
Barrel cactus seeds are tiny and they can be difficult to handle. Using an eyedropper to put them in each cell is the best way to avoid damaging them. But if you don’t have one, you can use a straw or a long piece of string. Make sure the string is strong enough not to break.
Step 6 – Distribute Seeds
Using the pipette (or straw), transfer the seeds to the germination trays as evenly as possible. If you use a drinking straw, you’ll probably find that you’ll pick up two or three seeds at a time.
Step 7 – Wait for Germination
The trays need to be placed in full sunlight until the seeds sprout. In the five or six-week germination time make sure that the soil is constantly moist.
Step 8 – Transfer to Pots
Once the tiny seedlings have sprouted tiny pink spikes, move the seedlings into pots that are filled with soil that is similar to the mix that you used in the germination tray. This can be accomplished using the help of tweezers, or tiny teaspoons. The primary goal is to take care of the seedlings because they are fragile and susceptible to damage.
Step 9 – Final Positioning
After about three years the seedlings will have developed enough spines to protect them from most insects and beetles and can be transplanted to their final location. After transplanting, it is wise to maintain a watering schedule until the plant becomes well established.
“The barrel cactus is a very slow-growing plant and it will be six or seven years before it has all the characteristics of an adult version and the first wrinkles start to emerge.”
How to Care for a Barrel Cactus?
But before you go out and buy one for yourself, be sure to know how to care for the plant so that it will grow happily in its new location.
As with most succulents, the Golden Barrel Cactus grows best in full sun. If grown indoors, it should be kept in a bright room or conservatory. During the warm months, you should water your Golden Barrel cactus regularly whenever you begin to notice the soil drying out. The roots need to stay moist at all times since they are primarily responsible for storing water for the plant’s use during dry spells. In winter, cut back on watering slightly (this will slow down growth as well) but never allow the soil to completely dry out.
Temperature: warm, cool 40-50ºF when inactive, mature plants withstand colder.
How Do I Get My Barrel Cactus to Flower?
The key to getting your barrel cactus to flower is patience. As long as you provide them with the correct conditions, your plants should begin flowering when they are ready. The first step to doing this properly is choosing an appropriate location for your plant.
Barrel cactus need full sunlight throughout spring and summer to produce the beautiful flowers that reside on top of the plant, but flowering can be delayed when the plant is not properly acclimated.
A good way to do this is by placing the barrel cactus outside over summer and allowing it to experience several weeks of direct sunlight every day before bringing it back indoors. If you don’t have room outside for your barrel cactus, try a sunny window instead.
What Does a Barrel Cactus Need to Survive?
A barrel cactus does best in a very sunny window, perhaps a southern exposure. Full sun to light shade, but avoid highly reflected light environments and western building exposures. Plants that don’t get enough sun will grow slowly and not succeed. Outdoors, grow it in a location that gets full sun, but it will also tolerate some shade.
How Do You Care for an Indoor Barrel Cactus?
Barrel Cactus indoors (Echinocactus species)
- Vegetable food. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer when the plant is actively growing.
- Watering. Allow the soil to dry out between deep waterings.
- Floor. Light and well-drained soil.
- Performs best in light, well-drained soil. Allow the soil to dry out between deep waterings.
How Often Should the Barrel Cactus Be Watered?
They are indigenous to the arid desert regions, and generally require only rain to satisfy their needs for moisture. The barrel of cactus should be watered each week throughout the summer. Cactus that grow in barrels do not require much water during winter when it is in dormancy. water once in December between December and February.
How Long Does a Barrel Cactus Live?
The barrel cactus may live up to 100 years of age. The buds of the barrel cactus usually start blooming in April, with an orange or bright yellow flower.
Does the Barrel Cactus Have Deep Roots?
Saguaro cacti have deep roots to support their size. The roots of a barrel cactus are shallow and spread out from the base of the plant. …, and spreads out laterally from the bottom of the barrel.
The barrel cactus is native to the North American desert and requires very little water to survive. As a result, its root system is designed to absorb as much water as possible when it does come. The roots of a barrel cactus are shallow and spread out from the base of the plant, ensuring that every last drop of moisture gets taken up before it evaporates back into the air.
“The root system of a barrel cactus is shallow, usually only about 2 inches below the soil surface.”
Are Barrel Cacti Poisonous?
People call them to barrel cacti or fishhook cacti, and they are some of the most dangerous plants in the desert. They have vicious spines that can easily puncture human skin and cause nasty infections, even when treated properly. If you get one stuck in your foot, it can easily lead to a nasty infection that may take months to heal with antibiotics. The liquid inside of them is poisonous if ingested, so don’t be fooled into thinking you can store alcohol in one like a beer peg.