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Echinocereus coccineus (Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Echinocereus coccineus Engelm.

Common Names

Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus, Mexican Claret Cup Cactus, Arizona Hedgehog, California Hedgehog, Claret Cup Cactus, Cream Flower Hedgehog, Golden Rainbow Hedgehog

Synonyms

Echinocereus triglochidiatus subsp. coccineus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. coccineus, Cereus hexaedrus, Echinocereus krausei, Echinocereus melanacanthus, Echinocereus roemeri, Mammillaria aggregata

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Pachycereeae
Genus: Echinocereus

Description

Echinocereus coccineus is a clumping cactus that forms large colonies of up to 100 thick stems on each plant at maturity. Stems are semi-erect, dark green, up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. They can vary from almost spineless to wildly and densely spined. Spines are yellowish and turn grey after a number of years. Flowers are up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and appear in spring. Flower colors range from near orange, scarlet and pink to deep crimson shades.

Hardiness

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

How to Grow and Care

If you can successfully grow other globular cactus, you can most likely grow Echinocereus well. One of the key factors in success with these is avoiding any hint of wet soil. Because their root systems are weak, they are especially prone to root rot, which will eventually kill your plant. Otherwise, they thrive on a program of strong, bright light, slight water and a steady diet of light fertilizer. These cacti are vulnerable to mealybugs and aphids.

Echinocereus are slow growing cacti that should only need repotting every other year or so. You can prolong the time to repotting by removing plantlets and potting them up in their own pots. When repotting a cactus, carefully remove it from its pot and knock away any clumped soil. These plants tend to be shallow-rooted with weak root systems, so take care not to damage their roots.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Echinocereus.

Origin

Echinocereus coccineus is native to southwestern United States (Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California) and Mexico (Baja California, Sonora, Coahuila, Chihuahua).

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