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Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus)


Scientific Name

Echinocactus grusonii Hildm.

Common Names

Golden Barrel Cactus, Golden Barrel, Golden Ball Cactus, Golden Ball, Mother-in-Law's Cushion, Mother-in-Law's Seat


Echinocereus grusonii, Echinocactus corynacanthus, Echinocactus galeottii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Echinocactus


Echinocactus grusonii is a cactus with a slow-growing, usually solitary, globe-shaped stem that became barrel-shaped in maturity. It grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall and about the same in diameter. The stem is pale green and heavily ribbed with numerous areoles sprouting yellow radial spines. Flowers are yellow and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. They appear in summer around the crown of the plant, but only after 20 years or so.


USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Golden Barrel Cactus is fairly quick growing at first, and then the growth rate slows right down. So you can expect to wait about ten years for the cactus to reach 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. Like most cacti, it is drought tolerant and needs very little care and attention to grow well. Not enough sunlight and overwatering are common mistakes. When handling, it is best to use gloves to protect your hands from the prickly spines.

When it is young and growing, it is best to repot your Golden Barrel Cactus once a year, in a slightly bigger container during spring. Once they mature, repot maybe every 2 to 3 years or when necessary.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Echinocactus.

You can sow Golden Barrel Cactus seeds outdoors in warm climates, but sowing them indoors is easier and will result in a higher germination rate. Expect the seeds to germinate in one to two months.

Learn more at How to Grow Golden Barrel Cactus from Seed.


Echinocactus grusonii is endemic to east-central Mexico.


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