Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Echinocactus grusonii, Golden Barrel Cactus

Echinocactus grusonii
Winter started here this week with record low temperatures ,the first snow falls and a minus13C recorded on the mountains. Here on the coast it is not so bad but still a bit bleak and the first days of cold can be hard to get used to. So it is time to move most of my Cactus to a spot under the eaves of the house where they can rest out of the rain and take warmth from a wall which might heat up a little during the day.
The Golden Barrel Cactus is easy to grow and is one of the essential plants for anyone who wants to have a bit of a collection of cactus and succulents .It is fairly trouble free and it is possible to grow it in the ground if you can give it a really well drained soil mix. The largest one I have seen was about 90 cm high growing in a glasshouse and with a circle of yellow flowers around the top. You can buy seed of it fairly readily and the germination is good. I grew a batch of about 30 and was surprised at the different growth rates between individual plants. Potting them on can be a bit tricky, with all the spines to deal with, but I found that a band of folded newspaper wrapped around it seems to make it a bit easier to manoeuvre into and out of a pot.

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