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Ferocactus glaucescens (Blue Barrel Cactus)


Scientific Name

Ferocactus glaucescens (DC.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Blue Barrel Cactus, Glaucous Barrel Cactus


Bisnaga glaucescens, Echinocactus glaucescens, Echinocactus pfeifferi, Ferocactus pfeifferi

Scientific Classification

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


Ferocactus glaucescens is a slow-growing cactus with spherical or cylindrical, usually solitary, bluish-green stem up to 2 feet (6 cm) in diameter. It has 11 to 15 ribs, 6 to 7 radial spines and 1 (or no) central spine very similar to the radials. The radial spines are straight, light yellow and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long. The flowers are lemon yellow, funnel-shaped and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. The fruits are white and up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long.


USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Choose a location that receives direct sun during all or most of the day. Plant your Barrel Cactus in early spring before new roots begin to form. The roots may appear dry, but that is typical before new growth begins. Dig a hole deep enough for the plant's roots and amend it as needed to provide fast-draining soil. A good soil mixture includes 10 percent native soil, 45 percent washed sand or pumice and 45 percent compost.

Water the cactus at the time of planting to anchor it into the soil. Water again only if the weather in your area is unseasonably dry and if normal spring or winter rainfall doesn't occur. Ferocactus needs a dormant period with dry soil during the winter.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Ferocactus.


Ferocactus glaucescens is native to eastern Central Mexico.


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