Echinocactus grusonii (commonly known as Golden barrel cactus) is one of the most popular cacti with a single slowly growing globe-shaped stem that became elongated (barrel-shaped) in maturity, up to 90 cm in height and spread. Cultivated usually only grow to around 30 cm. The stem is pale green and heavily ribbed with numerous areoles sprouting radial, yellow spines. Flower are diurnal, vivid yellow, 4-5 cm wide and form a circular ring at the top of the plant, but are not very visible being small in relation with the size of the barrel, and lost into the creamy colored wool at the plant apex. The flowers are produced from end of spring to summer only on larger mature specimens receiving enough full sun.
Scientific Name: Echinocactus grusonii
Common Names: Golden barrel cactus, Golden ball or, Amusingly, mother-in-law’s cushion.
How to grow and maintain Echinocactus grusonii:
It grows well in full sun or filtered shade locations. Plants that do not get enough sunlight will grow more slowly and fail to thrive.
It prefers any rich, well-drained soil such us clay, pumice, lava grit, and only a little peat or leaf-mold. Or use a cactus soil mix is ideal.
Echinocactus grusonii prefers average temperatures between 50 degrees Fahrenheit – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 10 degrees Celsius – 24 degrees Celsius are ideal but not below 40 degrees Fahrenheit / 5 degrees Celsius and avoid frost.
Water moderately, during the growing season. Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out before watering again. During the winter season, do not water the plants but just keep them moist otherwise they will rot.
Fertilize your Echinocactus grusonii plant once a month, during the growing season, with a weak liquid cactus fertilizer.
Echinocactus grusonii can be propagated by seed. To seed a cactus, plant the seeds shallowly in a cactus mix and keep them warm and very slightly moist.
It is best to re-pot at the start of the developing season, or summer. To re-pot cacti, ensure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently expel the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you re-pot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.
Pests and Diseases:
No serious pest and diseases problems. Watch for infestations of mealybug, scale insects, and spider mite. Expel mealybugs by dipping cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and dabbing them or spray the golden barrel thoroughly with insecticidal soap once a week until they’re gone.