Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: Mexico and in the south of United States
Cultivation: Exposure in full sun, rather high temperatures, poor irrigation (once every 10-15 days): the growin needs of the Echinocereus are similar to the ones of other cacti, this is a family of very undemanding plants.
Curiosity: The name is composed by two Latin words:  Echinos, that means porcupine, and Cereus, a common and beautiful specie of columnar cacti.  So the echinocereus is  similar to a cereus, but more thorny.

The Echinocereus: KEY FEATURES

The Echinocereus are cacti  with a cylindrical shape. Due to the fact that they have developed in a quite extensive environments with different climates, these plants vary from species to species. They sometimes grow lonely and sometimes develop into groups. According to the species, the stems can have different aspects: can be columnar or sliding, more or less thorny, with ribs of different shapes. Usually, those with slow growth tend to be very thorny and to come together in bushes. The thorns may be of different type.

The flowers are large and showy, and have spectacular and varied colors : they go from all shades of  green to yellow , but also some types of intense pink or red. The flowering usually lasts all summer.


The genus Echinocereus includes many species that have developed at  different altitudes and with different characteristics. A curiosity: the Echinocereus fendleri is also called cactus-strawberry and has got eatable and tasty fruits.

Below a list of  the species that are recognized until today:

  • Echinocereus adustus
  • E. apachensis
  • E. baileyi
  • E. bonkerae
  • E. barthelowanus
  • E. berlandieri
  • E. brandegeei
  • E. bristolii
  • E. chaletii
  • E. chisoensis
  • E. chloranthus
  • E. cinerascens
  • E. coccineus
  • E. chrysocentrus
  • E. coccineus (even in the varieties of: inermis pulchellus: paucispinus, triglochidiatus)
  • E. ctenoides
  • E. dasyacanthus
  • E. delaetii
  • E. engelmannii
  • E. enneacanthus (even in the variety of sarissophorus)
  • E. fasciculatus
  • E. fendleri (even in the variety of rectispinus)
  • E. ferreirianus
  • E. flaviflorus
  • E. grandis (even in the variety of isla san Esteban)
  • E. klapperi
  • E. knippelianus
  • E. Koerchersii
  • E. Kuenzleri
  • E. laui
  • E. leucanthus
  • E. lindsayi Meyran
  • E. lloydii
  • E. longisetus
  • E. mapimiensis
  • E. maritimus
  • E. matudae
  • E. nicholii
  • E. nivosus
  • E. ortegae
  • E. palmeri
  • E. pamanesiorum
  • E. papillosus
  • E. parkeri
  • E. pectinatus(even in the variety ofcrestatus)
  • E. pensilis
  • E. pentalophus
  • E. pleiogonus
  • E. plomosus
  • E. polyacanthus
  • E. poselgeri
  • E. primolanatus
  • E. pseudopectinatus
  • E. pulchellus
  • E. rayonesensis
  • E. reichenbachii (even in the varieties of perbellus and perbellus purpureus)
  • E. rigidissimus (even in the varieties of crestato, rigidissimus crestato, rubrispinus, rigidissimus rubrispinus)
  • E. roetteri
  • E. russanthus
  • E. sarissophorus
  • E. scheeri (even the variety of obscuriensis)
  • E. schereri 
  • E. schmollii
  • E. sciurus
  • E. scopulorum
  • E. spinigemmatus
  • E. stoloniferus (even in the variety of crestatus)
  • E. stramineus
  • E. subinermis
  • E. triglochidiatus (even in the varieties of mojavensis, mojavensis inermis  and surnudus)
  • E. viereckii
  • E. viridiflorus
  • E. websterianus
  • E. yavapaiensis


With little attention, your Echinocactus will give you great satisfaction.

Let’s see how:

  • The best exposure is usually in full sun, in the open air. Few species prefer places partially sunny.
  • Resistance to cold changes a lot depending on the species: those originating in the higher altitudes in fact, have a good resistance to cold (though perfectly dried, they hold temperatures just above 0 ° C), while those from lower altitudes have to remain above 7-8 ° C.
  • The watering must be scarce. It has to be done from March, after the plant buds are already developed, until October. It’s necessary a little wetting every 10-15 days.
  • It is recommended to use soil for cacti and the fertilizing has to be more or less scarce according to the species.
  • The speed of growth depends greatly on the species and as a consequence the need to repot. You should therefore check the specific needs of your plant and its size.

Reproduction occurs by seed mainly; in some cases, however, the plant produces pollen that can be used as cuttings easily , with the only care to let the wound dry well (it can be necessary 2-3 days) before planting them in a sandy and moist soil.

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