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Echinocereus pectinatus (Rainbow Cactus)


Scientific Name

Echinocereus pectinatus (Scheidw.) Engelm.

Common Names

Rainbow Cactus, Texas Rainbow Cactus, Purple Candle Cactus, Lace Cactus, Comb Hedgehog


Echinocactus pectinatus, Cereus dasyacanthus var. minor, Cereus dasyacanthus var. neomexicanus, Cereus pectinatus, Echinocactus pectiniferus, Echinocereus pectinatus subsp. pectinatus, Echinocereus pectinatus var. pectinatus, Echinopsis pectinata

Scientific Classification

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


Echinocereus pectinatus is a cactus with globose to cylindrical, usually solitary stems almost hidden by the short interlocking spines. The stems grow up to 14 inches (35 cm) tall and up to 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter. Spines are yellow, pinkish, or brownish. Flowers are diurnal, borne on the sides of the stems, intense pink (but also magenta, lavender or yellow to near-whitish) with a greenish-white base. They are funnel-shaped, up to 3 inches (8 cm) long, and about the same in diameter.

Echinocereus pectinatus - Rainbow Cactus

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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.


Native to Mexico and the United States.


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