Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus)

Scientific Name

Echinocactus grusonii Hildm.

Common Names

Golden Barrel Cactus, Golden Barrel, Golden Ball Cactus, Golden Ball, Mother-in-Law's-Cushion, Mother-in-Law's-Seat

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Echinocactus


Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Summer


Echinocactus grusonii is a cactus with a single, slow-growing, globe-shaped stem that became elongated (barrel-shaped) in maturity. It grows up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall with an equal width. The cultivated plants usually grow to around 12 inches (30 cm) tall. The stem is pale green and heavily ribbed with numerous areoles sprouting radial yellow spines. Flowers are yellow, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, and appear in summer around the crown of the plant, but only after twenty years or so.

Echinocactus grusonii - Golden Barrel Cactus

How to Grow and Care

Overall, these are very attractive cacti for dish gardens or indoor display. A collection of them is especially attractive, as they look like a collection of balls tossed upon the ground. It's critical, however, to never let these cactus be exposed to prolonged periods in water or even very high humidity. They will suffer from rot in the presence of humidity. Echinocactus are vulnerable to pests, including aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and whitefly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat it with the leave toxic option.

Barrel Cactus are typically propagated by seed. Mature cactus will bloom in the summer with flowers that grow in whorls around the top of the plant. To seed a cactus, plant the seeds shallowly in a cactus mix and keep them warm and very slightly moist. It's best to repot at the beginning of the growing season or summer. See more at How to Grow and Care for Echinocactus.

You can sow Golden Barrel Cactus seeds outdoors in warm climates, but sowing them indoors is easier and will result in a higher germination rate. Expect the seeds to germinate in one to two months. See more at How to Grow Golden Barrel Cactus from Seed.


Native to Mexico (Querétaro).


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