Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Golden Barrel Cactus
Echinocactus grusonii

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Echinocactus (ek-in-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: grusonii (groo-SON-ee-eye) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From woody stem cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 89 photos.
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11 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive JonthanJ On Jan 23, 2013, JonthanJ from Logansport, IN wrote:

Friends gave us a cactus planter when my dad died in 1992. I still have this and two of the other cacti in pots. I gave this very little attention, so it is only about 8" across here in 2013, but it did start blooming several years ago in my little greenhouse. The ruddy buds are just now poking up. There have not yet been any pups. How shallow can the pot be?

Positive baiissatva On Apr 22, 2011, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

I love you too, Golden Barrel!
I have a medium sized potted specimen in the standard golden variety, have just sprung for a brevispinus version (pricey but even MORE awesome?) and am looking now for the white one which is also a great big bouncy prickly ball of amazingness. So uncomplaining, so handsome, and more beautiful with every passing year.

If you don't already have one, buy one today, because you don't know what you're missing. That whistling hole in your spiritual plane- it's the lack of a Golden Barrel. Trust me.

Cultivation- there isn't really any. Stick it in a decent pot with a good hole and give it some drainage. Don't freeze it solid, though it's apparently pretty hardy especially when dry. Don't fry it by taking it outdoors in the middle of summer because you've decided it would look great in the garden. Water regularly, if prudently, for maximum growth and symmetry. Pretty simple really.

They look incredible massed in a landscape, as someone has already pointed out, especially against bright green and blue plants with a dark mulch.

Did I say how much I love this plant?
See some of our plants and gardenalia at The Blackthorn

Neutral wreinha On Jan 9, 2010, wreinha from Macomb, IL wrote:

I have a golden barrel in my greenhouse along with old man of mexico and a cardon cactus, I use to see them in arizona where I used to live, they are pretty

Positive basketsyea On Nov 9, 2009, basketsyea from Elizabethtown, KY wrote:

Echinocactus grusonii has done extremely well for me. I live in Kentucky where it is humid most of the year -- especially in
the summer. I purchased a good-sized plant sometime in the
early 1960's and it is still living! It has bloomed for the past 6
or 7 years -- all summer long! I just can't figure out how to go about removing it from it's Italian clay pot to put it in a larger
pot. I really don't want to break the pot and the spines are

Positive cactusmarty On Oct 5, 2009, cactusmarty from San Antonio, TX wrote:

In a succulent, or xeriscape landscape, combine Golden Barrel cacti with Agave paryyi var. truncata. This is a beautiful combination of bright yellow and very pretty blue. They compliment each other well. Good luck!

Positive AarronIkarus On Sep 12, 2008, AarronIkarus from Onalaska, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is a of Queretaro de Arteaga, Mexico. I like the yellow color and wish I could get more of them to grow in this greenhouse.

Positive ehofacket On Aug 24, 2007, ehofacket from Lake Elsinore, CA wrote:

I have planted over 20 of these of various sizes and they are doing well. They have survived a freeze down to 19 degrees. They do a little better with some shade, especially when young. I find the color really brightens up a xeriscape garden.

Positive daleL On May 5, 2007, daleL from Las Cruces, NM (Zone 8b) wrote:

bought one with three pups 5 yrs. ago. it now has 3 more pups form the 'mom' and a pup one of the original pups. no flowers yet. this early spring we had over an inch of rain (wow). all the larger apple and cow's tongue are blooming profusely ( what a beautiful sight.

Neutral Xenomorf On Jul 25, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant dosen't have herbaceous stems nor does it have any foliage (leaves). If the plant has multiple stems, the offsets can be carefully separated and rooted. Propagation also by seed.

Positive StarGazey26 On Jun 21, 2005, StarGazey26 from (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have always loved Barrel Cactus.. Although i have never owned one, until now!! I went to Albertsons today, and i was just checking out what little plants they have, and i couldnt believe it when i saw that they had Barrel Cactus.. They all were in 8" pots, and they were only 1 dollar!?!?!?! Can u believe that! So i got two! I asked the manager how long they have been there, and he said over 2 weeks, and no one has bought any. So i was the first to buy two! They have a lot, but i just wanted two, my yard is kinda crowded right now.. I just fertalized them, and i know they will get nice and big for me, I love you Barrel Cactus!

Positive azrobin On Nov 10, 2004, azrobin from Scottsdale, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

LOOKING FOR IMPACT? This is the one that gives a huge dose of impact. The striking round shape and the dramatic golden color are unique. Inch for inch this is the most dramatic landscape plant you can buy. It is an eye catcher without equal. This is a bread-and-butter plant for any landscape display. Unlike many plants, golden barrels get more and more beautiful as they grow. As old specimens they can be truly majestic. They normally offset with advanced age and a few multiples occur even at small sizes. Barrels are quite heavy.

Positive Scarlete On Jul 25, 2004, Scarlete from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Although this plant seems to be doing well in my Tampa back yard I'm not sure if I should move it. It appears that it might be getting too much water --needs more drainage.

It is also partially shaded.

Other than that (check my pics) it fairs well. It was here when I moved in (September 03) so I'm not sure how long the previous owner had it, she planted it but she had only lived here 2 years previously.

I've never seen it flower, but that might be that it needs more sun.

Positive miseryschild On Sep 18, 2003, miseryschild from Monterey, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have a very small "baby" plant I bought at one of our local nurseries in August. I have been told it is a slow grower. I can't wait until it gets the size of the others pictured, but for right now it's an adorable baby!!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Green Valley, Arizona
Maricopa, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)
Canoga Park, California
Castro Valley, California
Clayton, California
El Cajon, California
Fairfield, California
Hayward, California
Lake Elsinore, California
Lompoc, California
Los Angeles, California
Montecito, California
Oak View, California
Palm Desert, California
Reseda, California
Riverside, California
San Diego, California
San Leandro, California
San Marino, California
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
North Palm Beach, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Pesotum, Illinois
Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Henderson, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Monterey, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Houston, Texas
Ingram, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spring Branch, Texas

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