Simply Trees

Golden Barrel Cactus

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Once a monthFull sunDeer resistant
  • Vibrant Golden Spines: The dense, golden-yellow spines of the Golden Barrel Cactus catch the sunlight, creating a shimmering effect that enhances its visual appeal and adds a bright spot to any garden setting.
  • Drought Tolerance: Excelling in arid environments, this cactus requires minimal watering, making it an ideal choice for water-wise gardens and for gardeners seeking sustainable landscaping options.
  • Long Lifespan: With the potential to live for decades, the Golden Barrel Cactus grows slowly but surely, gradually increasing in size and stature, offering a lasting presence in the landscape.

More Details

The Golden Barrel Cactus, scientifically known as Echinocactus grusonii, is a striking succulent that brings a touch of the exotic desert to any landscape. Celebrated for its spherical shape and vibrant golden-yellow spines, this cactus is a standout feature in rock gardens, xeriscapes, and as a container plant. Easy to care for and drought-tolerant, the Golden Barrel Cactus is perfect for gardeners looking to add a low-maintenance yet visually captivating element to their outdoor spaces, providing year-round interest with its unique form and texture.

Growth rate: Slow growth rate; can reach up to 3 feet in height and diameter over many years.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: No pruning necessary. Handle with care to avoid damage to the spines.

Fertilization: Apply a cactus-specific fertilizer sparingly during the growing season to encourage health and growth.

Winter Protection: In zones cooler than 9, it's best to grow the Golden Barrel Cactus in a container that can be moved indoors to a sunny spot during colder months to protect it from frost.

Plant in well-draining soil in a location that receives full sun to partial shade. When planting in a container, ensure it has adequate drainage holes. Water thoroughly after planting, then wait for the soil to completely dry before watering again. This cactus is best planted in the spring or early summer to give it time to establish before cooler weather sets in.

Water sparingly; allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings. In winter, reduce watering to once a month or less. The Golden Barrel Cactus thrives in full sun, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily to maintain its health and vibrant appearance. It can tolerate partial shade, particularly in extremely hot climates, where some afternoon shade may be beneficial.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

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At Simply Trees, we're committed to your satisfaction. If your plants arrive considerably damaged or sustained damage beyond the point of recovery, please contact us within five days at with clear photos for assistance. Our 30-day guarantee covers issues after planting, subject to our terms and conditions. We can't cover plants in the wrong climate or with inadequate care, but we're here to help in other situations. For a detailed understanding of our 30-day guarantee and how we ensure a fair process, click here to learn more.


Zones 9-11

Thriving in USDA Zones 9-11, the Golden Barrel Cactus is suited for hot, dry climates where it can be planted outdoors year-round. In these zones, it prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade, especially in the hottest parts of the day. When grown in cooler climates, it should be kept in containers and moved indoors or to a protected area during the colder months. Its adaptability to a variety of soil types, as long as they are well-draining, makes it a versatile addition to any garden or indoor space.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Golden Barrel Cactus is a slow-growing cactus that can reach impressive sizes with age. In its native habitat and under optimal growing conditions, it can eventually grow up to 3 feet tall and wide. However, it's essential to note that growth rates can vary depending on factors such as environmental conditions, soil quality, and available sunlight.

When young, the Golden Barrel Cactus starts as a small, spherical plant with a diameter of a few inches. Over time, as it matures, it gradually increases in size, forming larger, barrel-shaped bodies with distinctive ribs and golden-yellow spines.

While the Golden Barrel Cactus can become quite large in the landscape, it's crucial to provide it with enough space to grow and thrive. Additionally, regular care, including proper watering, adequate sunlight, and protection from extreme temperatures, can help promote healthy growth and prevent issues such as rot or sunburn.

The Golden Barrel Cactus is known for its slow growth rate compared to many other types of cacti. In optimal conditions, it typically grows at a rate of about 1 to 2 inches per year. However, growth rates can vary depending on factors such as environmental conditions, soil quality, and available sunlight.

During the first few years of its life, the Golden Barrel Cactus may exhibit relatively rapid growth compared to its later years. As it matures, its growth rate slows down significantly, and it becomes more compact and spherical in shape.

Because of its slow growth rate, the Golden Barrel Cactus is often valued for its longevity and ability to thrive in arid desert environments. It's essential to provide the cactus with proper care, including well-draining soil, adequate sunlight, and protection from frost, to ensure healthy growth over time. Additionally, regular watering during the growing season and occasional fertilizer application can support optimal growth for this iconic desert plant.

Golden Barrel Cacti typically bloom once they reach maturity, which can take several decades. These cacti are known for their slow growth rate, and they may not bloom until they are 30 years old or more.

When Golden Barrel Cacti do bloom, they produce vibrant yellow flowers that emerge from the top of the plant. However, the flowering period is relatively short, lasting only a few weeks. The timing of the bloom can vary depending on factors such as environmental conditions, sunlight exposure, and the overall health of the cactus.

While it's difficult to predict exactly when a Golden Barrel Cactus will bloom, providing optimal growing conditions, including plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil, can increase the likelihood of flowering. Additionally, ensuring that the cactus is healthy and free from pests or diseases can also encourage blooming.

It's essential to be patient with Golden Barrel Cacti, as they may take many years to reach maturity and produce flowers. However, the stunning blooms are well worth the wait and can be a rewarding sight in your landscape or garden.

The best place to plant a Golden Barrel Cactus is in a location that receives full sun for the majority of the day. Here are some tips for choosing the ideal planting spot:

Sunlight: Golden Barrel Cacti require abundant sunlight to thrive and produce healthy growth. Choose a location in your garden or landscape that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. South-facing or west-facing positions are often the sunniest areas in many landscapes.

Well-Draining Soil: Ensure the planting site has well-draining soil to prevent water from pooling around the cactus roots, which can lead to rot. Sandy or rocky soils are ideal for Golden Barrel Cacti. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider amending it with sand, gravel, or perlite to improve drainage.

Protection from Frost: While Golden Barrel Cacti are generally tolerant of hot, dry conditions, they may need protection from frost or freezing temperatures, especially if you live in a colder climate. Plant the cactus in a location that is sheltered from cold winds and where it can benefit from radiant heat during cooler months.

Space: Ensure there is enough space for the cactus to grow without overcrowding or interference from nearby plants or structures. Golden Barrel Cacti can reach sizes of up to three feet in diameter, so allow ample room for their eventual size.

Accessibility: Consider accessibility when choosing a planting location. Since Golden Barrel Cacti have sharp spines and can be difficult to handle, plant them in an area where they won't pose a risk to people or pets.

Aesthetic Considerations: Golden Barrel Cacti make striking focal points in desert-themed gardens, rock gardens, or xeriscapes. Choose a location where the cactus's unique appearance can be appreciated and where it complements the overall design of your landscape.

By selecting a sunny, well-draining location with adequate space and protection from frost, you can create an ideal environment for your Golden Barrel Cactus to thrive and flourish.

Planting a Golden Barrel Cactus requires careful consideration of its native habitat and growth requirements. Here's a guide to planting one:

Choose the Right Location: Golden Barrel Cacti thrive in full sun and well-draining soil. Select a location in your garden or landscape that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day.

Prepare the Soil: Ensure the soil is well-draining and sandy. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider amending it with sand or perlite to improve drainage. Avoid soil mixes that retain too much moisture, as this can lead to root rot.

Planting: When handling the cactus, use thick gloves to protect your hands from the spines. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the cactus. Gently remove the cactus from its nursery container and place it in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil, gently pressing it down around the base of the cactus to secure it in place.

Watering: After planting, water the cactus lightly to settle the soil around the roots. Avoid overwatering, as Golden Barrel Cacti are drought-tolerant plants and are susceptible to root rot if the soil remains too wet.

Mulching: Applying a layer of gravel or small rocks around the base of the cactus can help conserve moisture, prevent weeds, and protect the plant from excess moisture.

Protection: If you live in an area prone to frost or freezing temperatures, consider providing winter protection for your Golden Barrel Cactus. Covering the plant with a frost cloth or moving it indoors during cold snaps can help prevent damage.

Maintenance: Once established, Golden Barrel Cacti are relatively low-maintenance plants. Monitor the soil moisture levels and water sparingly during the growing season, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid overhead watering, as this can lead to crown rot.

By following these planting guidelines, you can successfully establish a Golden Barrel Cactus in your garden or landscape. Remember to provide the cactus with the proper care and attention it needs to thrive in its new environment.

Yes, the Golden Barrel Cactus is known for its cold hardiness, particularly in comparison to many other types of cacti. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F (-6°C) if provided with proper drainage and protection from excess moisture. However, prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can still damage or kill the plant, so it's best to provide some winter protection in colder climates.

The Golden Barrel Cactus is native to central Mexico. Specifically, it is indigenous to the states of Hidalgo and Querétaro, where it grows in the rocky hillsides and desert regions of the arid landscape.

Yes, Golden Barrel Cacti commonly produce pups, also known as offsets or side shoots. These pups emerge from the base of the main plant and grow into smaller spherical cacti. Over time, if left undisturbed, these pups can form clusters around the parent plant. It's common for cactus enthusiasts to remove these pups for various reasons, including aesthetics, propagation, and to prevent overcrowding around the main plant.

Removing pups from a Golden Barrel Cactus is generally recommended for several reasons:

Prevent Crowding: As Golden Barrel Cacti mature, they tend to produce clusters of pups around the base of the main plant. Allowing these pups to remain can lead to overcrowding, which may restrict airflow and increase the risk of disease or pest infestations.

Promote Growth: Removing pups encourages the main plant to allocate more resources to its own growth and development, potentially resulting in a healthier and more robust specimen.

Propagation: Pups can be propagated to create new Golden Barrel Cacti. By carefully removing and replanting them in suitable growing conditions, you can expand your cactus collection or share plants with friends and fellow enthusiasts.

Aesthetic Appeal: Golden Barrel Cacti with fewer pups or a single main plant can have a more visually appealing appearance, showcasing the distinctive spherical shape and golden spines characteristic of the species.

When removing pups, it's essential to use sterile tools to minimize the risk of introducing pathogens. Allow the cut ends of the pups to callus over for a few days before planting them in well-draining soil. Additionally, take care not to damage the main plant or its roots during the removal process. With proper care and attention, both the main plant and the propagated pups can thrive and contribute to a stunning cactus display.

Several signs can indicate that your Golden Barrel Cactus may be experiencing problems or could potentially be dying:

Yellowing or Browning: If you notice significant yellowing or browning of the cactus body or its spines, it could indicate issues such as overwatering, underwatering, or sunburn.

Soft or Mushy Texture: A soft or mushy texture in any part of the cactus could indicate rot, which is typically caused by overwatering or poor drainage.

Shriveling: Shriveling or wrinkling of the cactus body can be a sign of dehydration, usually due to underwatering.

Black Spots: Black or dark spots on the cactus can be a sign of fungal or bacterial infections, often resulting from overwatering or damage.

Weak Growth: A lack of new growth or stunted growth can indicate various issues, including nutrient deficiencies, improper lighting, or root problems.

Foul Odor: If you notice a foul odor emanating from the cactus, especially near the base, it could be a sign of rot or other bacterial or fungal infections.

Pests: Infestations by pests such as mealybugs or scale insects can weaken the cactus and make it more susceptible to diseases.

If you observe any of these signs, it's essential to take prompt action to address the underlying issues and potentially save your Golden Barrel Cactus. Assess the watering regimen, ensure proper sunlight exposure, check for signs of pests or diseases, and consider repotting if drainage issues are suspected.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!