Golden barrel cactus adds rugged depth to the garden
Thank Mother Nature that not all living things are as delicate as us humans. In summer, we pine for anything that cools us off — beaches, pools, lakes, and all matters of covered, artificially cooled rooms. Not golden barrel.
There’s not a whole lot of mellow about the golden-yellow sphere officially known as Echinocactus grusonii, which belongs in the orbit of any gardener who desires a space light on fuss but deep with dramatic appeal. The color, texture, and shape of golden barrel lend interest, definition, and contrast to any composition. For maximum effect, group it in threes.
This one has some serious spine, and it doesn’t need a gallon or more of H20 for a few hours of frolicking in the sizzling sun. Sunshine, occasional soaks, and room to grow are about all it desires. It can event tolerate some frost for a brief spell.
Growing to 3 feet in a diameter in time, this eye-popping, spiny orb belongs to the barrel cactus family, which includes the closely related Ferocactus. Curiously, it also goes by the monikers of “mother-in-law’s chair” and “mother-in-law’s cushion.”
Our colleague Tom Jesch talks in this Altman Plants video about adding ruggedness to the garden via golden barrel. We can’t recommend repurposing it as a sitting device, though. Nor is it the ideal specimen for (plant) huggers.
We’ll close by introducing a most intriguing discovery that is definitely not available at our online or in-person outlets.
Our globe-trotting hybridizers recently discovered an incredibly fascinating species they’ve dubbed Echinocactus minionii. It shares many of the traits of E. grusonii but is, well, much less sedate. They have found that adding banana purée to the specimens’ rinses boosts vigor. This is on top of the specimens’ command of a mysterious, mishmashy dialect, a most unusual proficiency for cacti, as most anyone would probably agree. We have top linguists studying this highly peculiar aspect.
No timetable exists for adding Echinocactus minionii to our inventory. You thought the mere transplanting of a sizable cactus could be challenging…