Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus Grusonii) The Definitive Guide

How to Grow and Care for Golden Barrel Cactus Indoors


Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is one of the most popular and widely grown succulents in the world. It’s also one of the easiest plants to grow indoors, requiring little care and few pests or diseases.

As long as you know what to look for when buying a plant from a nursery or garden center—and follow my tips below—you’ll have no trouble growing this beautiful plant.

Clade:- Tracheophytes
- Angiosperms
- Eudicots
Species:E. grusonii
Binomial nameEchinocactus grusonii

Golden Barrel Cactus Varieties

When it comes to houseplants, Golden Barrel Cactus is one of the most popular and recognizable. This variety has a large barrel-like shape and can grow up to three feet tall!

There are several varieties available including the Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), which is the most common type you’ll find in stores and nurseries. Another popular variety is the Sea Urchin Cacti (Echinocactus horizonthalonius) named after its resemblance to an ocean urchin.

The Airplane Plant (Parodia lepidophylla) also makes an interesting addition to your collection if you’re looking for something with larger leaves and bolder colors than what you’d expect from Golden Barrels.

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus Grusonii) 2

Growing Golden Barrel Cactus From Seed

Golden barrel cactus is a beautiful, easy-to-grow plant for the home or office. It’s also the perfect plant if you want to start your own seeds from scratch. You can grow your own golden barrel cactus from seed by following these simple steps:

  • Buy seeds from a reputable source. The seeds should be fresh and in good condition when you purchase them.
  • Soak the seeds overnight in water before planting them in soil. This helps soften up the outer shell of each seed so that it will germinate more easily once planted.
  • Plant your Echinocactus grusonii saplings at least three inches apart each way (horizontally) once they’ve sprouted above ground level in order to give them plenty of room as they mature over time! Make sure that there’s enough sunlight reaching all parts of each pot so that all sides receive equal amounts of light exposure throughout day/night cycles (i f you’re growing in a window, make sure that it’s not facing away from the sun). Water your golden barrel cactus saplings regularly—but not too much! Check the soil every few days, then give each plant a good dousing with water if it feels dry.

Golden Barrel Cactus Care

Golden Barrel Cactus care is fairly simple, but there are a few steps you need to follow to ensure that your cactus thrives.

  • Watering: The golden barrel cactus is an extremely drought-tolerant plant, so it doesn’t need much water. Most growers recommend watering it about once every two weeks or so during the growing season (April through October). If you live in an area with cooler temperatures or higher humidity, then you can reduce this frequency by watering every three weeks instead of two. It’s important not to allow your golden barrel cactus soil to dry out completely; keep the soil damp but not soaking wet at all times.
  • Fertilizing: While they don’t require frequent fertilization like other houseplants do, this species does benefit from the addition of liquid fertilizer every couple months in order to maintain strong growth and healthy foliage coloration over time. A good rule of thumb is adding half as much fertilizer as recommended on whatever label accompanies its packaging; if no amount is specified on said label then add one teaspoon for each gallon of water used when watering your plant down below! For example: if using 1 qt per gallon (.25 L) then use 1 tsp (.5 grams) of fertilizer per quart (.25 liters); if using 5 gallons per gallon (.8 liter), then use 5 tsps (4 grams).

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus Grusonii) 3


  • Golden barrel cactus needs bright light, but not direct sunlight.
  • A south-facing window is ideal. If you don’t have a south-facing window, you can supplement with artificial light.


Golden barrel cactus needs to be watered from time to time. To keep your golden barrel cactus healthy, follow these guidelines:

  • Water the plant when the soil is dry. It’s best not to wait until the plant starts wilting or drooping before watering; that can mean damage has already occurred. Instead, check the soil periodically throughout the day and water whenever it feels dry on top of being firm on each side where you press with your finger.
  • Do not over-water your golden barrel cactus as this will cause root rot and weaken it over time; similarly, do not let water sit in saucer underneath pot—this will cause root rot as well!


The golden barrel cactus is a desert plant that can tolerate both high and low temperatures, but it’s important to keep in mind that too much heat can be harmful.

The ideal temperature for this plant is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with the optimal being 68-72 degrees. Temperatures below 55 degrees will cause the cactus to go dormant or even die.

Temperatures above 85 or 90 degrees are potentially fatal for golden barrel cacti, so make sure you don’t expose your plants to direct sunlight when they’re outdoors during summertime!

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus Grusonii) 3


Golden barrel cacti need a soil that drains well and has a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. If you want your plant to thrive, use a cactus soil mix or another type of potting mix that’s specifically designed for growing tropical plants indoors (most people will have success with either option).

If you’re using the latter option—an organic potting mix—you’ll want to make sure it contains some kind of drainage material such as perlite or vermiculite. You’ll also need to add this material in order for the roots of your golden barrel cactus to have sufficient aeration while they grow through the container’s drainage holes.


The Golden Barrel Cactus is a succulent that does well when grown indoors, but it’s important to know how to care for it properly. In order to get the most out of your Echinocactus grusonii, you’ll need to check on the plant every day and adjust its environment accordingly.

For starters, ensure that you keep your golden barrel cactus in an area with plenty of indirect sunlight; they don’t do well in direct sunlight or shaded areas. They also need warm temperatures; if they grow too cold they will drop their leaves and die.

The Golden Barrel Cactus needs plenty of humidity—not so much that its leaves are completely saturated but just enough so that the soil feels slightly damp when you touch it with your finger after watering the plant (you don’t want your Echinocactus grusonii sitting in water). You can increase humidity by watering from below instead of above so as not let water sit on top of foliage or misting lightly around leaves every few days with room temperature water every couple weeks or so depending on how often you’re misting overall each season.”


The Golden Barrel Cactus requires little fertilizer. You can fertilize your cactus plant with a balanced fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 (NPK). This is the same type of fertilizer you use on your lawn and garden.

Fertilize in the spring and summer with a liquid water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow or Peters. Make sure it has high nitrogen content at the beginning of each growing season and then switch to high phosphorus content once the plant begins blooming. Keep applying for about 4 months until fall is over.

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus Grusonii) 3

Potting and Repotting Your Cactus Plant

You should repot your cactus every 2-3 years.

You can repot your plant at any time of year, but avoid the springtime because it’s a busy time for you and your cactus will be dormant for a few months anyways.

When choosing a pot, choose one that is slightly larger than the last pot you used for your cactus. If you have several cacti growing together in one container, break apart the clump and put each into its own pot so each will have room to grow.

Watering Your Cactus: You should always use warm water when watering your golden barrel cactus or other succulents as they are sensitive to cold water which could cause them some problems such as root rot or leaf drop due to shock

3 More Helpful Tips for Growing Golden Barrel Cactus Indoors and Outdoors

  • How to Grow Golden Barrel Cactus: In its native habitat, your barrel cactus will grow in full sun but will tolerate some shade. However, if you have the option of growing it outdoors, choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil and be careful not to overwater or overfertilize it (more on that below).
  • Golden Barrel Cactus Care: It’s important to always keep the soil around your barrel cactus moist but not soggy. You also want to avoid overwatering; otherwise, the plant may rot or develop mold problems as it decomposes. If possible, use rainwater instead of tap water since tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that can damage the plant’s roots over time.
  • Golden Barrel Cactus Varieties: If you’re planning on growing more than one golden barrel cacti indoors at once—or if you’re thinking about planting some outside—make sure they’re from different varieties so they don’t cross-pollinate (and result in fewer seeds). The two most common varieties include Echinocactus grusonii ‘Arizona Sunshine’ and Echinocactus polycephalus ‘Golden Nugget’; both look similar when planted together because their flowers are white with red centers and appear only during certain seasons (fall through winter for ‘Arizona Sunshine’; spring through summer for ‘Golden Nugget’).

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus Grusonii) 3

Common Pests and Diseases

You’ll want to be on the lookout for these common pests and diseases:

  • Aphids—These tiny green insects can be found feeding off your cactus’s sap, and will generally leave behind a sugary substance called honeydew that attracts ants.
  • Mealybugs—This pest is whitish in color, but covered in fine white hairs. They tend to cluster together on stems or leaves of your plant. When they are present in large numbers, they can cause leaves to yellow or drop off of your plant entirely!
  • Scale—Scale is another whitish-colored pest with a waxy appearance that attaches itself to stems and branches of your golden barrel cactus. As with mealybugs, if left untreated scale will cause leaves on your golden barrel cactus to yellow or fall off entirely.

Toxicity Golden Barrel Cactus

It is important to remember that the golden barrel cactus is non-toxic. While it is unlikely that your child will be harmed by touching a small amount of the plant, you should avoid letting children play with this cactus.

  • Do not eat golden barrel cacti! The spines on the outside are very sharp and can cause injury if eaten.
  • Do not let pets eat golden barrel cacti! Pets have been known to die from eating these plants because they may have a sensitivity or allergy to them as well as ingesting too much at once which could be fatal.
  • Do not use golden barrel cacti as decorations! The spines on these plants are very sharp if handled by children or pets in large quantities or over time; therefore, care should be taken when handling them around others (especially children).


In conclusion, the golden barrel cactus is a beautiful addition to your home, garden or yard. It’s easy to care for and can thrive in many different environments as long as it has enough water, sunlight and fertilizer. If you follow these tips for growing and caring for this plant then you should have no problem keeping it healthy!