Horse Crippler (Echinocactus texensis) is an attractive, stout barrel cactus, which solitary when young and very rarely slowly clustering in age. The stem is pale grey-green to grass green with numerous ribs, above-ground portion, flat-topped, hemispheric in old age but usually deep-seated, flush with soil surface 30 cm in diameter, 20 cm tall. The spines are small but strong, pale tan, pink or reddish to grey. The flowers are range from white through rose-pink to pale silvery-pink, with red throats in late spring and can appear on plants around 10cm in diameter. The Fruits are scarlet or crimson, spheric to ovoid, fleshy, up to 5 cm long and up to 4 cm in diameter.
Scientific Name: Echinocactus texensis Hopffer
Synonyms: Echinocactus courantianus, Echinocactus lindheimeri, Echinocactus platycephalus, Homalocephala texensis.
Common Names: Horse Crippler, Devil’s Pincushion, Horse Crippler Cactus, Devil’s Head, Candy Cactus.
How to grow and maintain Horse Crippler (Echinocactus texensis):
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.