Ferocactus chrysacanthus Mexico Northwest where the plant grows in regions with high temperatures, high humidity and specific soil composition.
Ferocactus chrysacanthus is a perennial cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant usually has a solitary habit and can reach up to 90 cm tall and 30 cm in diameter. The stem is globose when young and barrel-shaped in age, apically depressed and it is arranged in 13-22 ribs made of tubercles. The pronounced ribs are well-marked and dull green to greyish green in color. The areoles are round, large and white and bear the spines. The 4-12 radial spines are 5 cm long, radiating, straight and white. The 4-10 central spines are thick, golden yellow to red purple, slightly hooked, bristle-like and pointing outwards. Blooming occurs during the summer and the blossoms are borne at the apical part of the plant. The flowers are bell-shaped, large, showy, pinkish orange inside and brownish outside, scented. The fruits are small, round, spherical fleshy and yellow and contain black seeds.
This is a slow growing plant, quite difficult to cultivate. The plant needs a direct sun-light exposure all the year, this will help a lush flowering. The plant does not like temperatures below 6°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Autumn the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 7-10 days; in summer it can be watered every 3-5 days. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
The plant can be propagated exclusively by seed. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
The name comes from the Latin “ferox”, that is fierce, given by the presence of colorful, strong numerous and menacing thorns along the ribs of the stem.
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