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Echinocactus grusonii, commonly known as the Golden Barrel Cactus or Mother-in-Law's Cushion, is a popular and distinctive cactus species native to central Mexico. Here's a care sheet based on factual information for Echinocactus grusonii:


  • Light Requirements: Echinocactus grusonii prefers full sun to thrive. Place it in a location where it can receive direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day, especially during the growing season. Insufficient light can cause the cactus to become leggy and lose its characteristic compact shape.


  • Watering Needs: Water Echinocactus grusonii sparingly but deeply. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings to prevent root rot. During the active growing season (spring and summer), water thoroughly when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry. Reduce watering in fall and winter when the plant is dormant.


  • Soil Type: Plant Echinocactus grusonii in a well-draining cactus mix. A sandy or gritty soil with excellent drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Adding perlite or coarse sand to regular potting soil can help improve drainage.


  • Temperature Range: Echinocactus grusonii prefers warm temperatures between 70-90°F (21-32°C) during the active growing season. It can tolerate higher temperatures but should be protected from extreme heat waves and frost, as it is not frost-tolerant.


  • Humidity Preference: Echinocactus grusonii thrives in low humidity environments typical of desert climates. It can tolerate dry air and does not require high humidity levels.


  • Fertilization: Feed Echinocactus grusonii with a balanced, diluted fertilizer formulated for cacti once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid fertilizing during fall and winter when the plant is resting.


  • Propagation Methods: Echinocactus grusonii can be propagated from seeds or by removing offsets (pups) that develop around the base of mature plants. Allow seeds or offsets to dry and callus for a few days before planting them in well-draining soil.


  • Pruning Requirements: Minimal pruning is typically needed. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased parts of the cactus with clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to maintain its aesthetic appeal.

Pests and Problems:

  • Pest Control: Monitor for common cactus pests such as scale insects or spider mites. Treat infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Ensure good air circulation around the plant to prevent fungal issues.

Potting and Repotting:

  • Repotting Needs: Repot Echinocactus grusonii every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its container. Choose a slightly larger pot with drainage holes to accommodate its root system.

Special Care Notes:

  • Echinocactus grusonii is slow-growing and can live for many years with proper care.
  • Protect the cactus from prolonged exposure to temperatures below 50°F (10°C), as cold temperatures can damage or kill the plant.
  • Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Err on the side of underwatering, especially during the dormant winter period.

By following these care guidelines, you can help your Echinocactus grusonii thrive and maintain its iconic golden barrel shape in your cactus collection or garden.

Echinocactus Grusonii

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