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Miniature Barrel Cactus

Thelocactus setispinus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Thelocactus (thel-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: setispinus (set-AY-spin-us) (Info)
Synonym:Ferocactus setispinus
Synonym:Echinocactus setispinus
Synonym:Hamatocactus setispinus


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


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

Bloom Color:

Magenta (pink-purple)

Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

From woody stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Santa Maria, California

Vacaville, California

Tampa, Florida

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Austin, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Kingsbury, Texas

Pearsall, Texas

Portland, Texas

South Jordan, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 3, 2016, Maury01 from Austin, TX wrote:

I have seen Thelocactus setispinus growing in its native habitat in zone 7b. So I would say the hardiness for this plant should be updated to cold hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit or even less.


On May 22, 2014, hardyinokc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

This cactus has survived outside in a raised cactus bed for almost 3 years here in OKC without any problem...


On Sep 1, 2010, Louis_C from Escondido, CA wrote:

I believe this is the cactus that I had grown when I was little. It has nice fragrant. The flowers will be close at night. I don't know how long it takes to be mature from seeds. I'm looking for seeds of this cactus (non-selfing would be ideal).


On Oct 4, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Miniature Barrel Cactus, Thelocactus setispinus, is Endemic to Texas.


On Jul 1, 2005, BROforest from Brownsville, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

I was suprised to come upon about a two thousand square foot tract of Mesquite regrowth brush with hundreds of these small septispinus growing below ( kind of a painfull experience as I had on tennis shoes). They were really quite striking with many of these yellow/white flowers with patterned red centers, and reddish looking spikes coming out. The soil was clayey on top with an underlying mix of pure sand which is rare in this area where the other ground is mostly all alkaline clay(gumbo we call it). I wonder if our area had these growing native and why they grow so well in this one small patch, which is about to be cleared and dozed.


On Jul 15, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

great flowers on the US/Mexican species- comes in all sorts of colors in summer. Must have at least 20 synonyms (couldn't begin to name them all). small columnar bright green cactus with thin, long hooked spines.