Ferocactus emoryi


Echinocactus emoryi
Ferocactus emoryi subs. covillei
Echinocactus covillei
Ferocactus covillei


F. emoryi is native to Arizona, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest where the plant grows on gravely rocky, or sandy soils and can spread up to 1200 m of altitude


F. emoryi is a globose succulent belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant is solitary and can reach up to 100 cm tall and 60 cm in diameter. The stem is globose when young and columnar in age and it is arranged in 21-32 ribs. The pronounced ribs are well-marked and slightly wavy. The stem is dark green to bluish in color and ribs bear round areoles. From the areoles emerge 5-9 radial spines curved inwards, yellow to red in color and one long, hooked, strong and brownish-red colored central spine. Blooming occurs in late spring to early summer and the flowers are borne at the apical part of the plant. The flowers are bell-shaped, bright red in color with wonderful bright purple stripes on petals. The fruit is yellow and ovoid and the seeds are tiny and black.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 6°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. 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. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. 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. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil 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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