Echinocactus grusonii

Echinocactus grusonii flowers opening in morning sun.

The Echinocactus grusonii is indigenous to central Mexico. It grows in the Rio Moctezuma Valley (in close proximity to the Zimapán Dam, Mesa de Léon ), Queretaro. Recently, an exciting discovery of a new subpopulation was discovered in San Rafael de las Tablas, Zacatecas.

The Echinocactus grusonii typically grows a single, slowly forming, globe-shaped stem elongating in maturity. It can reach heights of 3' with an approximate width of 5'. At an older age, offsetting is possible with numerous multiples occurring even at smaller sizes. This cactus has a pale green, heavily ribbed stem. Ribs contain numerous areolas. Radial spines are bright yellow in color. Flowers are diurnal (opening during daylight hours and closing at night), and bright yellow (1 1/2 - 2 inches wide). Flowers form a circular, 360 degree halo at the top of the cactus. Flowers grow from the end of spring through summer, opening when exposed to direct sunlight. Interestingly, this cactus does not require cross pollination to produce said flowers.

The Echinocactus grusonii is a relatively simple plant to cultivate. They thrive in rich, well draining soil (i.e., lava grit, pumice and clay), with limited peat or leaf-mold. It is best to repot during the spring months if the plant has outgrown its container. Typically, they should be repotted every other year, so that they receive fresh soil. To clarify, this does not always mean that a larger pot is required. Once you have re-potted your cactus, avoid watering it for approximately one week (or slightly more). Utilize a high potassium fertilizer during the summertime.

Water regularly during the aestival growth cycle (summer dormancy - a survival strategy where a plant temporarily slows growth and/or becomes inactive during the summer months). Although the Echinocactus grusonii still does need a good amount of water, you must take care to not overwater. Always let their soil dry out between waterings. Do not allow water to stand/collect near or around the roots. Furthermore, do not pour water onto the body of the plant while in direct sunlight. This can easily cause sun burning, leading to scarification, fungal infections and death! Always keep dry during the winter months.


Echinocactus grusonii var. albispinus Y.Itô
Echinocactus grusonii var. albispinus f. cristatus hort.
Echinocactus grusonii f. cristatus hort.
Echinocactus grusonii var. horridus Y.Itô
Echinocactus grusonii var. intermedius hort.
Echinocactus grusonii var. intermedius f. cristatus hort.
Echinocactus grusonii var. intermedius f. variegatus hort.
Echinocactus grusonii var. intertextus Y.Itô
Echinocactus grusonii var. intertextus f. cristatus hort.

Plant Details
USDA Zone Information: 
Flower : 
Bright yellow
Ideal Light Conditions: 
Sun to partial shade
Ideal Water Conditions: 
Moderate in Summer /Dry in Winter
Speed of Growth: 
Mature Height: 
4 ft
Mature Width: 
4 ft
Latin Name: 
Echinocactus grusonii
Common Name: 
Golden Barrel, Mother-in-law's-cushion, Mother-in-law's-seat, Golden Ball Cactus, Golden Barrel Cactus, California Barrel Cactus

Corporate Clients (The King hangs hard)


RoboCop (1987)
RoboCop 2 (1990)
Hot Pursuit (2015)


USA Network's Queen of the South (2019)

Botanical Gardens:

New York Botanical Gardens
Oklahoma City Zoo/Botanical Gardens
Mercer Arboretum in Houston, Texas
Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Houston, TX Zoo
San Antonio, TX Zoo

Other Clientele:

Houston, TX Rodeo

The Cactus King's cacti and succulents have gone international! If you ever find yourself in China with a little spare time, head to the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. It is the largest Aquarium in the world (no big deal, pun definitely intended).

The Cactus King's plants are also featured in the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom's partner parks. These include their water park, amusement park, crocodile park and botanical gardens.

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