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FEROCACTUS glaucescens

Image of Ferocactus glaucescens

James H. Schutte

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

FEROCACTUS glaucescens

Plant Common Name

Blue Barrel Cactus, Glaucous Barrel Cactus

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

The blue barrel cactus develops into a globe-shaped mass with tidy, star-like clusters of long spines. Rather than its succulent stem being green, it has a powdery gray (glaucous) film, making it look bluish. This slow-growing, succulent evergreen perennial is native to east-central Mexico, especially across the state of Hidalgo. With time, basal suckers (new plants) emerge from the base, eventually creating a mounding colony of round cacti.

This cactus has 11 to 15 vertical ribs. On the ridge of each rib are sparse, rounded clusters of long, light yellow spines. Older plants produce a circle of showy, trumpet-shaped, long-lasting lemon-yellow flowers anytime from late spring to summer. Plants as small as 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter may already produce blooms. After pollination, ivory fruits develop. Fruits may be fleshy or leathery after they dry, with seeds inside.

This sun-loving cactus succeeds in any fertile, well-drained soil. It is equally happy in the ground or in a pot. Give it occasional water in summer, and dry conditions in winter. An irrigation system is not a requirement in the landscape, however. Blue barrel cactus is valued as a clumping specimen accent plant in a xeriscape rock garden or water-conservation landscape in regions that lack winter freezes. Aid species conservation by avoiding wild-collected plants.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    14"-22" / 35.6cm - 55.9cm

  • Width

    12"-20" / 30.5cm - 50.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Lemon Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Ivory

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No