Walton's Plant Library
 
perennial

Golden Barrel Cactus

Echinocactus grusonii

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Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) at Walton's Garden Center

Golden Barrel Cactus in bloom

Golden Barrel Cactus in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) at Walton's Garden Center

Golden Barrel Cactus

Golden Barrel Cactus

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) at Walton's Garden Center

Golden Barrel Cactus

Golden Barrel Cactus

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  24 inches

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  9a

Other Names:  Golden Ball Cactus, Mother-in-law's Seat

Description:

A slow growing, barrel shaped cactus displaying prominent ribs adorned with bright golden spines; bright yellow flowers from late spring to summer on mature specimens in full sun; offsets can eventually form a large colony

Ornamental Features

Golden Barrel Cactus has yellow cup-shaped flowers held atop the stems from late spring to early summer, which are interesting on close inspection. Its attractive succulent round leaves remain dark green in color with pointy gold spines throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Golden Barrel Cactus is an open herbaceous evergreen perennial with a more or less rounded form. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should never be pruned except to remove any dieback, as it tends not to take pruning well. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Insects
  • Spiny

Golden Barrel Cactus is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Golden Barrel Cactus will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It requires an extremely dry, well-drained growing location, and will usually die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

Golden Barrel Cactus is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. It can be used either as 'filler' or as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, depending on the height and form of the other plants used in the container planting. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Rock  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features