Ferocactus glaucescens (Blue Barrel Cactus)

Scientific Name

Ferocactus glaucescens (DC.)  Britton & Rose

Common Names

Blue Barrel Cactus, Glaucous Barrel Cactus


Bisnaga glaucescens, Echinocactus glaucescens, Echinocactus  pfeifferi, Ferocactus pfeifferi

Scientific Classification

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


Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Late spring and summer


Ferocactus glaucescens is a barrel cactus with usually solitary bluish-green stems with 11 to 15 ribs, 0 or 1 central spine, and straight, light yellow 6 to 7 radial spines per areole. The stem grows up to 22 inches (55 cm) tall and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. Spines are up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long. Flowers are lemon yellow, funnel-shaped, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. The plants start flowering when about 5 inches (12.5 cm) in diameter. The fruits are white, 0.8 inches (2 cm) long, with the remnants of the flowers attached.

Ferocactus glaucescens (Blue Barrel Cactus)


USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Choose a planting location that receives direct sun during all or most of the day. Because Ferocactus eventually leans into the sun instead of growing precisely upright and because it has extremely sharp thorns, place it where people will not brush into it accidentally.

Plant your cactus in early spring before new roots begin to form in late June and early July. The roots may appear dry, but that is typical before new growth begins. Dig a hole deep enough for the plant's roots and amend it as needed to provide fast-draining soil. A good soil mixture includes 10 percent native soil, 45 percent washed sand or pumice, and 45 percent compost. Ferocactus thrives in poor and arid soil.

Water the cactus at the time of planting to anchor it into the soil. Water again only if the weather in your area is unseasonably dry and if normal spring or winter rainfall doesn't occur. See more at How to Grow and Care for Ferocactus.


Ferocactus glaucescens is native to eastern Central Mexico.


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