Ferocactus viridescens (Torr. & A. Gray) Britton & Rose
Coast Barrel Cactus, San Diego Barrel Cactus, Green-Stem Viznaga, Keg Cactus, Small Barrel Cactus
Ferocactus viridescens is a cactus with a solitary, bright green, depressed-spheric to cylindric stem with 13 to 34 ribs shallowly notched immediately above each areole and covered in arrays of long spines. The stem is up to 14 inches (35 cm) tall and 18 inches (45 cm) in diameter, usually wider than tall. Each areole bears 4 central and 10 to 20 radial spines, all pink or yellowish. The central spines are straight or slightly curved, narrowly elliptic in cross-section, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. Radial spines are irregularly spreading and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long. Flowers are greenish-yellow, sometimes with reddish-brown midstripes, and appear in spring and early summer. They are funnel-shaped, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. Fruits are barrel-shaped, bright yellow, rarely reddish, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long, and 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
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, which 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 planting time 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 need a dormant period with dry soil during the winter.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Ferocactus.
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