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Ferocactus viridescens (Coast Barrel Cactus)


Scientific Name

Ferocactus viridescens (Torr. & A. Gray) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Coast Barrel Cactus, San Diego Barrel Cactus, Green-Stem Viznaga, Keg Cactus, Small Barrel Cactus


Echinocactus viridescens (basionym)

Scientific Classification

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


Ferocactus viridescens is a cactus with a spherical, ovate, or nearly cylindrical stem. It is usually wider than tall and less than 12 inches (30 cm) in height. The stem is bright green, with several ribs covered in arrays of long spines. Spines are red when new dulling to gray or tan. They stick straight out and may curve a bit. Flowers are yellow to greenish with red or pink scales. Fruits are yellow or red.

Ferocactus viridescens - Coast Barrel Cactus San Diego Barrel Cactus

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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.


Native to southern United States (California) and Mexico (northern Baja California).


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