Giant Barrel Cactus is a slow-growing cactus It can reach sizes up to 8.2 feet (2.5 m) tall, up to 5 feet (1.5 m) wide and can live over a hundred years. Their stems are grayish blue and the straight, rigid spines are black. The apex of the cactus is flat and covered with a yellow felt-like substance. They are heavily ribbed and have large areoles. The flowers are diurnal, tubular, vivid yellow, up to 2 cm in height, up to 3 cm broad and bloom at the end of spring to summer. The fruit is about 3 cm long and is covered by hairy wool.
Scientific Name: Echinocactus platyacanthus
Common Names: Giant Barrel Cactus, Giant Viznaga, Large Barrel Cactus
Synonyms: Copiapoa macracanth, Echinocactus arachnoideus, Echinocactus aulacogonus, Echinocactus edulis, Echinocactus ghiesbreghtianus, Echinocactus grandis, Echinocactus helophorus, Echinocactus ingens, Echinocactus irroratus, Echinocactus karwinskii, Echinocactus macracanthus, Echinocactus minax, Echinocactus oligacanthus, Echinocactus platyceras, Echinocactus saltillensis, Echinocactus tuberculatus, Echinocactus viznaga, Echinofossulocactus helophorus, Echinofossulocactus karwinskianus, Echinofossulocactus macracanthus, Echinofossulocactus platyceras, Melocactus ingens, Melocactus platyacanthus, Melocactus tuberculatus.
How to grow and maintain Giant Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus platyacanthus):
It grows well in full sun. Echinocactus do best in a very sunny window, perhaps a southern exposure. Cactus 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 if you use a regular peat-based mix, be sure to add sand or extra perlite to enhance drainage and repot the plant when the soil begins to break down. Or use a cactus soil mix. is ideal.
Echinocactus prefers average temperatures between 50 degrees Fahrenheit – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 10 degrees Celsius – 24 degrees Celsius is 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 plant once a month, during the growing season, with a weak liquid cactus fertilizer.
Echinocactus 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:
It has 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 cactus thoroughly with insecticidal soap once a week until they’re gone.