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Echinocactus

Description

Echinocactus is the barrel cactus genus of the Cactaceae family.  It is native to Arizona, Texas, and Mexico.  The genus is known for its rounded, ball-like shape that may elongate with age.  Many cultivars exist with unusual knobby or fasciated growth.

These plants grow best in full sun, but they can tolerate a little bit of shade.  They prefer dry soil and low humidity and need a good cactus mix with extra grit for drainage.  It can be easily grown as a houseplant in a container, and it is tolerant to a wide array of conditions.  

Quick ID:

  • Ball-like or barrel-like shape
  • Clearly defined rows of vertical ribs with long, sharp spines
  • Wool-like fuzz at the top of the stem where the flowers emerge
  • Funnel-shaped flowers with numerous petals

 

VIDEO Created by Laura Barth for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

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Tags:
#heat tolerant#houseplant#drought tolerant#perennials#succulent#easy to grow#tough plant#spines#rounded#cactus#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#desert plant#low humidity tolerant#easy to grow houseplant#cacti#hsc#hsc-c
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heat tolerant#houseplant#drought tolerant#perennials#succulent#easy to grow#tough plant#spines#rounded#cactus#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#desert plant#low humidity tolerant#easy to grow houseplant#cacti#hsc#hsc-c
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Echinocactus
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Succulent
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    more than 20 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Flowers emerge from the top of the plant, the buds forming a ring. The brightly colored flowers are usually funnel-shaped with numerous petals.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Insignificant
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Shape:
    Acicular
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has spines, which are modified leaves, that are long and recurved. They can be densely packed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The apex may grow a wool-like fiber, creating a ring where the flowers emerge.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns