Also called Langtry Rainbow Cactus or Echinocereus Pectinatus Cactaceae see plant care guide propagation and growing method details explained.
One of the so-called desert cacti, the hedgehog cactus has a columnar stem that can eventually reach 10in/25cm in height and 3in/8cm across, although it usually remains smaller than this when it is grown indoors.
Being a slow grower, it may take as long as five years to reach a height of 3in/8cm, and it will begin to branch from the base only when it is about 5in/13cm high. The broad, medium green ribs are covered with areoles, each of which bears about 25 short radial white spines in an unusual formation that resembles the teeth of a comb.
They are so closely packed as to give the plant a white appearance.
All species of Echinocereus, about 15 of which are in general cultivation as houseplants, bloom only when they are a few years old. The freely produced cup-shaped flowers of the hedgehog cactus are deep pink, covered with soft spines on the outside, and up to 3in/8cm across.
Scale insects and mealybugs attack this plant; check often for signs of infestation.
Corky patches on the stems may be caused by insect damage, sudden chilling, physical injury, or underwatering during the growing period.
Thin, elongated stems may result from too little light during the growing period, or too much warmth in winter. These stems may not flower freely.
If the plant rots from the base, it has been kept too wet, usually in winter when it is resting.
ORIGIN Northern Mexico; southwestern USA.
HEIGHT To 10in/25cm.
POTTING MIX Soil- or peat-moss-based, both with added perlite or sand.
REPOTTING In spring. If the roots fill the pot, move the plant to a pot one size larger or replant it in the same pot, using fresh soil.
PROPAGATION In spring or summer remove a branch from a mature plant. Allow the cutting to dry for 3 days, then insert the base into sand or rooting mix and keep it out of direct sunlight for a month.
KEEPING PLANTS Stand the plant outdoors in the sun in summer.
- Full sunlight all year-round to stimulate flowering. Temperatures of 35°-40°F/2°-4°C during the winter rest.
- Light frost can be endured as long as the soil is completely dry.
- Barely moisten the soil, and allow the top two-thirds to dry out before rewatering in the growing period; do not water in winter if plants are kept below 40°F/4°C.
- Apply a high-potash liquid feed every 2 weeks to a plant in peat-moss-based soil, every 4 weeks to one in a soil-based medium.