Plant DetailShow Menu

Barrel Cactus Echinocactus

Description

Barrel cacti are in the Cactaceae family and are native to Arizona, Texas, and Mexico.  There are 6 spieces in this family and many varieties. The genus is known for its rounded, ball-like shape that may elongate with age.  Many cultivars exist with unusual knobby or fasciated growth and all have many spines. They vary greatly in size and are much smaller when grown in a pot. The popular Golden Barrel Cactus can grow up to 35 inches across in its native habitat. They will produce offsets with age.

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

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems

 

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

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
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#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#hsc#hsc-c
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Echinocactus
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SW USA and Mexico
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Succulent
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
    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
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    fruits may be dry and wooly or fleshy and round.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    more than 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    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 Type:
    Simple
    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
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns