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How to Grow and Care for a Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)


Echinocactus grusonii, commonly known as Golden Barrel Cactus or Mother-in-law's Cushion, is a globe shaped cactus suitable for growing in conservatories, on patios or any other type of indoor glass rooms.

The globular shaped stem can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall and up to 3 feet (90 cm) wide in the wild, or where they are given conditions similar to the natural Mexican habitat. This stem is ribbed and produces prickly yellowish spines (there is also a spineless type), and the crown of the cactus has white colored woollen hairs at the top.

The Golden Barrel Cacti will produce yellow flowers during mid-summer, although these are unlikely to appear indoors. These are grown mainly for the foliage rather than flowers. For the desert look that's appealing to cactus growers and collectors.

Growing Conditions

Light: Plenty of sunshine will keep this cacti more than happy. In a glass room you may have to provide some shade during a hot summers day to prevent sunburn.
Water: From spring until fall water similar to many other house plants by watering when the soil begins drying. Before and during winter barely water the plant. Overwatering, especially when the temperature becomes cold can rot this species.

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Temperature: Temperatures averaging 50°F (10°C) to 75°F (24°C) are ideal but not below 40°F (5°C) and avoid frost.
Soil: A pot mixture used for cactus plants that drains well will suffice. Adding gravel or small pebbles at the bottom first few inches of the pot will encourage drainage.
Fertilizer: Feed every 4 weeks with a high potassium fertilizer during summer.
Humidity: Humidity does not seem to be a major concern for the Golden Barrel Cactus, which makes the average indoor environment fine, as it is. Provide as much fresh air as you can, but not cold drafts.

General Care

Golden Barrel Cactus is fairly quick growing at first. Then the growth rate slows right down. So you can expect to wait about 10 years for the cactus to reach 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. Like most cacti they're drought tolerant and need very little care and attention to grow well. Not enough sunlight and overwatering are common mistakes. When handling, it's best to use gloves to protect your hands from the prickly spines.


When they are young and growing, it is best to repot these once a year. During spring in a slightly bigger container. Once they mature repot maybe every 2 to 3 years or when necessary.


Golden Barrel Cacti are propagated with seeds once it fruits after flowering.



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