Giant Barrel Cactus – Echinocactus Platyacanthus

At first sight of echinocactus platyacanthus, you will automatically fall in love with it. Their flowers and stem will leave you awe-stricken. Whether you are looking for succulent to plant indoors or in your garden, then you can never go wrong with giant barrel cactus. The plant originates from Mexico and is the largest of the barrel cacti species. They are diurnal, tubular, and yellow flowers hence offer a magnificent sight. The fruits come in different colors of yellow, purplish, orange, and at times fragrance and bloom during summer. In Mexico, people use their hair for weaving. The stems are grayish blue, offering a warm look. Well, this article covers everything you need to know about giant barrel cactus. Read on to get the insights.

Giant Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Platyacanthus
Giant barrel cactus planted outdoors @raulmaldonadobrito

How to Care and Grow Echinocactus platyacanthus

To grow this magnificent plant, you have to be cautious. The plant is vulnerable, and you need a lot of care to make it bloom and flourish excellently. The seeds take a long time to fully develop, five years or more to reach the size of a soccer ball, and 20 years to reach the size of a peach ball. You require lots of patience. But, there’s no need to worry. You can acquire a larger version of the plant at your local nursery. The following are some conditions you need to consider when taking care of them:

1. Water

The barrel cactus doesn’t require a lot of water during their growth. But, during the first week of planting or repotting, you need to water it generously. Also, you should water the plant when the soil begins to dry. Also, you should avoid doing it entirely before or during winter. Overwatering the plant would destroy it and make it rot.

2. Light

Succulents love the sun, and the giant barrel cactus is not an exception. Ensure they get enough light, but not too much of it to prevent them from elongating.

3. Soil

A well-draining soil serves plant justice. When planting in a pot, mix compost, a little topsoil, and perlite in the bottom of the container, place sand lastly, water once in a week.

You can also take advantage of this amazing succulent soil we found just for you.

4. Humidity

The giant barrel cactus requires moderate humidity. Exposing the plant to high humidity would make it rot. 

5. Fertilizer

They do not require lots of nutrients to thrive and use low liquid nitrogen fertilizer on the plant. The amount of fertilizer depends on the size of the pot. During summer and spring, fertilize once in a period of 10 to 15 days.

6. Potting

To plant in a pot, ensure that your pot should be larger than the roots balls of the cactus.

If you are replanting, it’s essential to repot every 2-3 years. Lastly, handle it gently when moving to avoid damaging the roots.

Giant Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Platyacanthus
Top view of giant barrel cactus in a pot @cactolico_

Tips for Planting Indoor Giant Barrel Cactus

You need to be cautious when you opt for this plant as part of your décor. There are lots of dangers involved; hence, little details like the environment, space, and how to take care of it matters. You should place them in a strategic position, to avoid incurring accidents. With the sharp spikes, put them out of reach of children and be careful to avoid being pricked.

Unlike other types of succulents, giant barrel cactus requires extreme care and tolerance. Unfortunately, it’s hard to realize when this plant is experiencing some problems. Giant barrel cactus dies inside out, and it can take you several months before you notice this. Usually, it starts disintegrating from its cores.

Sometimes, the succulent can occasionally be infested by bugs or scale, although it’s rare. This can happen when you move the plant to an environment that suppresses its growth and weakens the defense. Use a spray or insecticidal spray to get rid of the pests. The knowledge of this indoor plant would lead to healthier, fleshier, and adorable succulents.

Not an expert yet in taking care of succulents? No worries, be sure to read “7 Best Succulents for Beginners” for a list of easy to maintain succulents.

Tips for Planting Giant Barrel Cactus Outdoors       

  1. Spacing- when incorporating barrel cactus with other plants, you need to leave space a little bigger than twice the circumference of the cactus.
  2. To facilitate proper drainage, use quartz sand or gravel on the surrounding topsoil of the cactus
  3. To prevent hollow space, tamp the soil surrounding the plants.

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Giant Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Platyacanthus
Several giant barrel cacti planted on the floor @danjo_koumuten

Advantages of Planting Echinocactus platyacanthus

Giant barrel cactus has numerous benefits. Some of which include:

1. They are drought resistant

No matter the season or the condition, nothing can prevent this plant from growing since it can survive in harsh weather conditions.

2. They live long

Yes, they can exist for up to 100 years and sometimes more. They sometimes grow to a height of 7 meters or longer and more than 1.5 meters in diameter.

3. They are beautiful

Most succulents are impressive if not all. But, the beauty of giant barrel cactus is unmatched. Either way, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

4. They are easy to grow

They require little amounts of water are drought resistant, and they don’t need much of your attention

Make sure you go check out more from the cacti family like “The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus” or “Blooming Beauty: Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)“. Learn more about these interesting types of cacti.

Giant Barrel Cactus - Echinocactus Platyacanthus
Giant barrel cactus with beautiful thorns @onlineshop_gloria

 Giant barrel cactus, are species of one of a kind. Planting them in your garden or your home would ensure you achieve the beauty you desire. Remember to put on gloves when you are handling them. Lastly, patience and little care would give you the results you want. After all, great things come to those who wait.

Thank you for reading! Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complimentary guide. 

Happy Planting! 🌵

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