The Golden Barrel Cactus ‘Echinocactus Grusonii’

The Golden Barrel Cactus 'Echinocactus Grusonii'

From the genus Echinocactus grusonii, the Golden Barrel Cactus stands out from other lush green plants of the like, thanks to its golden spines. This species of cactus is impressively robust and does not have too many requirements when tending to it. This globe-shaped cactus is suitable for both indoor and outdoor growth. It is ideal for desert, rock, succulent, or Mediterranean gardens. They can also be of great use as decorative plants thanks to their unique features.

The Golden Barrel Cactus is known through several other names such as;

  • Mother-in-law’s cushion
  • Mother-in-law’s seat
  • Golden ball
  • Hedge-hog cactus
  • Golden Barrel

In this post, we will take you through the nitty-gritty of the Golden Barrel. We will also share advice on how to grow and care for your Golden Barrel Cactus.

Golden Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Grusonii
Golden Barrel Cactus @oleksandr_viniarskyi

Echinocactus Grusonii Profile 

With a good chance of survival, even to inexperienced gardeners, the Golden Barrel thrives in many conditions on top of being an easy-to-care plant. This plant, which comes from the genus Echinocactus and of the family Cactaceae, traces its origin in Mexico.

It is about 8″ indoors and a little over 4′ high when grown outdoors. Depending on growing conditions, it can be ball-shaped or barrel-shaped. Yellow (golden) flowers may form on mature plants during summer. This might not happen for those solely grown indoors. However, such plants are mostly grown for their foliage, which appeals to cactus lovers and not for their flowers.

The mother-in-law’s cushion cactus grows relatively fast during its first phase of growth before it drastically slows down the pace. It can even take you ten years for it to achieve at least achieve ten inches of diameter. Just like many other cacti plants, these plants are no exception for needing very little care.

Some of the most common mistakes farmers make are not exposing it to enough sunlight and overwatering. The spines are prickly, hence one should put on protective gloves when handling the plant.


Golden Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Grusonii
Mother-in-law’s cushion @plant.jungle

Growing Conditions for the Golden Barrel Cactus

This plant, which is native to the deserts of Mexico and the Southwestern United States, thrives so well without much care. The fact that it is a real desert plant means it cannot handle too much of still water when it is still growing.

While growing it in the desert isn’t much demanding, you will need a few extra tips when growing the plant indoors. Take a look at some of the tips from the experts on growing the Mother-in-law’s cushion cactus.


When grown, the Golden Ball Cactus has spikes that can hurt unsuspecting people or children. Ensure to keep it in plain sight or out of reach of children.

Planting Time 

The plant does best when planted as soon as the temperatures in the tub or flowerbeds are consistently above 50° Fharenhight (10° Celcius), during both day and night. In most cases, this happens from May until early July.


If you do not expose your plant to enough direct sunlight, it will take a rather long time to thrive or even fail to grow. Place it next to a very sunny window, which has enough exposure to sunlight.

Golden Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Grusonii
Golden Barrel Cactus @og_agave


A regular household environment should do just fine for the Golden Barrel Cactus. However, when creating a perfect setting for their growth, they prefer warm and dry conditions, just like many other cacti. It also does best without humidity.


These plants are made for harsh conditions meaning they thrive best with little amounts of water. They are very prone to root rot; therefore, you should infrequently water them while ensuring that it completely drains it all. Furthermore, no water should be allowed to sit in the tray for long.

Check this article our on conquering root rot.


Cactus soil should have excellent drainage. A soil mix is recommended, but if you are using a standard peat-based mix, you ought to add extra perlite or sand to encourage more drainage.

Should the soil begin to break, it is advisable to repot the plant as soon as possible. Moreover, drainage can also be encouraged by adding small pebbles or a few inches of gravel to the bottom of the pot.


Throughout the growing season, you should feed the plant with a weak liquid cactus fertilizer. During summer, you may feed it with high potassium fertilizer every four weeks.

Golden Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Grusonii
Hedge-hog cactus @mtk_iuai_plant_s_

Factors to Keep in Mind

When growing the Golden Barrel Cactus, the soil, lighting, and water should not be the only factors you should look at. Here are the top five tips you ought to be aware of when planting these types of cacti;

  1. The size of the planting hole should be at least twice as large as the root ball
  2. The distance to the adjacent plants should be at least 2.5 times the circumference of each cactus
  3. When planting, you should firmly press the soil to avoid any cavities
  4. Even though it doesn’t require too much water, you should be generous when watering initially
  5. Only the mature Mother-in-law’s seat cacti can cope with the direct sunlight when the midday heat is scorching


Repotting the Golden Barrel Cactus should be done in the summer or the beginning of the growing season. When repotting Echinocactus grusonii, ensure that the soil is dry before taking out the pot. Knock out the old soil from the plant, removing any dead roots in the process. A fungicide comes in handy when you need to treat any cuts.

While backfilling with potting soil and spreading the roots as you pot, place the plant in its new pot. It is recommended that you leave it dry for a while (at least a week) before you begin watering it. Make sure that you do this lightly to avoid root rot in the process.


To grow this type of cactus, seed germination is your most natural method. The seeds can be found online or at any reputable nurseries. To seed it, plant the seeds in a cactus mix shallowly, keeping them warm and slightly moist.

Last update on 2024-03-04 / Amazon

Golden Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Grusonii
Hedge-hog cactus @champaneri_uk

Due to its lovely ornamental golden spikes, the Golden Barrel Cactus is a fascinating, easy-care plant. It is sure to add interest and color to your décor or cactus collection – both indoors and outdoors.

Want to learn more? The world of succulent- information is never ending, check out some additional Succulent City articles and stay up-to-date! Learn about How Fast Do Cacti Grow?, Totem Pole Cactus (Pachycereus Schottii Monstrosus), and 16 Most Popular Succulent Species In The World today!

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Happy planting, see you next time!

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

4 thoughts on “The Golden Barrel Cactus ‘Echinocactus Grusonii’

  1. My brother-in-law has a golden barrel cactus and he stopped caring for it, until I told him that it would grow really big!

  2. I learned a lot about my golden barrel. I have been able to keep it alive this far and would love to see it grow and eventually flower some day. Thank you for this information and I pray I can use it and that my golden barrel will thrive!!

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Posted in Cacti