Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britton & Rose
Fishhook Barrel Cactus, Fishhook Cactus, Arizona Barrel Cactus, Candy Barrel Cactus, Southwestern Barrel Cactus, Compass Barrel
Ferocactus wislizeni is a cactus with a green, usually solitary, depressed-spheric to ovoid-cylindric stem with 15 to 28 ribs and clusters of spines along the ribs. It grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall and up to 3.3 feet (1 m) in diameter, usually leaning southward in adulthood. Each areole bears 1 to 4 rigid central spines, one usually strongly hooked and 10 to 20 often white bristle-like radial spines. The central and larger radial spines are dull pink, gray, or tan. The central spines are up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. Radial spines are up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. Flowers are orange, red, or yellow with orange to red midstripes or wholly yellow and appear in a circle at the top of the stem in summer. They are up to 3.4 inches (8.5 cm) long and up to 2.4 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter. Fruits are green when unripe, yellow after the flower dries up, and persist long after the bloom is gone, sometimes for more than a year.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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 typical 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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