Echinocereus is a genus of plants that is directly related to the Cactaceae family. It includes about 60 varieties. The flower's habitat is the south of North America.
Cacti belonging to the specified genus have a relatively small growth (about 60 cm), strongly branching stems and thorns that fill the flower buds and areola tubes. Thanks to this feature, the name of the plant was supplied with the prefix "Echinus", which is translated from Greek as "hedgehog".
Single flowers, consisting of many petals, are funnel-shaped. When the flowering of the cactus ends, it is covered with juicy fruits. They are edible, while in certain varieties of Echinocereus, the fruits have an incredible taste.
The plant has many subspecies with similar and distinct features. For example, the shape of their stems can be either spherical or cylindrical. The ribs are not only straight, but also spiral. Sometimes they are difficult to see, and sometimes they are clearly protruding. The size of the flowers also varies from small to huge.
Echinocereus care at home
Echinocereus is very popular among flower growers, because it is completely unpretentious to the conditions of detention. This member of the family is much easier to care for than everyone else.
Location and lighting
The flower needs bright lighting all year round, and it will be better if you provide it with access to direct sunlight. Therefore, the optimal location for him will be a window facing south. In summer, it is highly recommended to move the plant to the balcony or garden.
A temperature of 25-30 degrees is the optimal indicator for a cactus in the summer. In winter, the plant goes into a dormant state, so it should be placed in a cooler place, the temperature in which does not exceed 12 degrees.
Among the varieties of Echinocereus, there are representatives that are distinguished by good frost resistance. As an example, we can name 2 subspecies - triglochidiata and sharlach. They are able to survive in extremely low temperatures (20-25 degrees below zero). The flowers freeze completely, resembling a glass figurine. Thawing occurs by spring and growth continues. For this reason, some flower growers keep Echinocereus on a loggia or a glassed-in balcony all year round.
However, not every species is resistant to frost. So, lowering the room temperature to 1-2 degrees below zero leads to the death of thornless Echinocereus.
In spring and summer, watering should be moderate. Watering Echinocereus is once again recommended only after the earthen coma has completely dried out. Do not overfill it: waterlogged soil leads to root rot.
When watering, it is necessary to use soft, settled water that has reached room temperature. It will not be superfluous to filter it - experienced florists do just that.
For the winter, watering the flower should be completely stopped. This is especially true for plants standing in a cold room or in frost.
Do not humidify the air too much. Cactus stems are able to retain water on themselves for a long time, so spraying them is prohibited. Excessive dampness can lead to sad consequences - rotting of the stems and root system.
A loose earth mixture with a sufficient amount of minerals is suitable for a plant. In the store you can buy ready-made soil for cacti and succulents. However, before planting echinocereus in it, add a small amount of fine gravel and coarse sand (one quarter of the total volume) there.
While the cactus is growing vigorously, it should be fed about once every 4 weeks. Echinocereus can be fertilized with the same mixtures as orchids, or you can use the usual feeding for cacti and succulents. In the autumn-winter time, fertilizers are prohibited.
It is recommended to replant young individuals once a year. A mature cactus is transplanted into a new container as the root system grows (approximately 1 time in 3-4 years). The transplant should be carried out in the spring - this is the most favorable time for her.
Echinocereus breeding methods
For reproduction of Echinocereus, either seeds or baby cuttings are traditionally used.
Pests and diseases
Pests and diseases do not affect this plant. The only thing from which the condition of Echinocereus can worsen is rot. The reasons for its occurrence were mentioned earlier (too humid air or excessively abundant watering).
Good day, readers.
As a true cactus lover, I could not ignore the seeds.
The price of one bag is about 20 rubles.
Unfortunately, I can't show the photo, I can't find the packaging.
There are enough seeds in the package, about 30-40 pieces.
I'll tell you how I grew:
Long tray, drainage to the bottom, universal purchase land.
We water the ground, and carefully tamp each seed into a dimple, do not sprinkle it.
It is advisable to put it in a bright, warm place, under glass or film, I stood under a lamp, under glass.
Seedlings emerged after two weeks and gradually emerged over 2-3 weeks.
When the seedlings grow up to 2-3 mm, you need to remove the seed box, otherwise your babies are deformed, grow slowly, probably after 2 months I transplanted the strongest separately, out of 15-20 babies I have 5 left.
Someone died, someone stopped growing.
I really liked these seeds, germination is good, but the babies are the same, unfortunately.
Echinocereus: non-capricious and early flowering cacti.
author Luneva Svetlana, author's photo
Echinocereus (Echinocereus) is not a very popular genus in the cactus family. Many growers love cacti in the form of small thorny balls. Cactus growers often ignore genera, in the name of which the component "Cereus" appears.
I want to dispel the existing misconception that echinocereus are large, capricious, late blooming (or never blooming) cacti that are not suitable for keeping in our latitudes.
My cacti are born and grow in the city of Cherepovets. The climatic conditions here are similar to those in Moscow. The trouble is that our weather is largely dependent not on the whims of nature, but on the industrial giant, which bears the symbolic name "SEVERstal". As a result of his activity, our city of metallurgists is covered with a dome of smog for the overwhelming part of the year. From November to January inclusive, we never have the sun at all - there is practically no daylight hours, so the electric light in the houses is not extinguished. In the remaining months of the year, the sun appears periodically, and in the summer it sometimes shines for weeks.
As a florist, I was lucky: our balcony has a southern orientation with a slight offset to the west (it would be better to the east, but oh well). Therefore, on a sunny summer day, my cactus pets are lit from noon to sunset. And I affirm: these are the right conditions for growing healthy flowering Echinocereus with gorgeous multi-colored thorns.
All Echinocereus are conventionally divided into three groups: green, pectinant and spherical with a turnip root. Now cacti of the genus Wilcoxia also belong to the genus Echinocereus (but, in my opinion, they are worthy of a separate discussion).
Among the plants of the first two groups, there are frost-resistant cactus species, although I personally have not tested them for cold resistance.
The most sun-loving species of Echinocereus with pectinant arrangement of spines. According to my observations, they bloom earlier than others (moreover, self-rooted seedlings).
Globular echinocereus represent a certain difficulty in culture:
- their turnip root requires spacious dishes
- with an excess of water, plants rot
- in the absence of shading of cacti, the spring sun is fraught with burns for them
- the winter temperature of their content should not fall below 7-10 degrees Celsius.
When sowing seeds of Echinocereus, their germination is sometimes zero. Nothing wrong! As far as I see, there is a certain cycle of germination of seeds of cacti of this genus. You just need to collect the non-sprouted seeds of Echinocereus and put them for stratification (for 3-4 months) in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, and then sow again. As a rule, when re-sowing Echinocereus, some of the seeds must germinate. But, in spite of everything, only Echinocereus E.gentryi stubbornly does not emerge in me. I sowed the seeds of Echinocereus E.cucumis, which is considered a synonym for this species - they sprouted, albeit stunted ...
In general, shoots of Echinocereus are developing quite well, they are not particularly susceptible to infant diseases of cacti (various rot).
Most seedlings of the genus Echinocereus do not need constant vaccination at all. And temporary grafting is more likely to be harmful than useful to them - when removed from the stock and rooting, the lower part of the plant often decays. The grafted cactus dies before rescue measures can be taken. So my grafted Echinocereus species E. ferrerianus, E.hancockii, E. morricalii died - all green, oddly enough. And at the same time, my own rooted cacti of the same species grow safely.
The exception here is the globular echinocereus (E.pulchellus and E. knippelianus, as well as all their varieties). The fact is that the seedlings of these species in infancy stretch much stronger than their counterparts, which have a cylindrical shape in adulthood. It is the green and pectinant Echinocereus babies that look more compact while growing in a sparing mode. And "flattened balls" at a tender age have a stem that is five times the diameter in height. Only having felt the real sun, they begin to grow rather slowly "head" and upset the thin "leg" on which it develops. Grafting significantly speeds up this process, reducing the stretching period to almost zero. Plants immediately acquire an "adult" habit and bloom a couple of seasons earlier than their own rooted peers. And what could be more beautiful than a blooming pulchellus? Well, maybe another blooming cactus!
Rooting of the plants of this group removed from the rootstock occurs without problems. Since the root of these echinocereus should normally be turnip, they eventually grow a turnip. In any case, after a season, it already displaces all the substrate and drainage from the pot, and when transplanting, the turnip turns out to be larger than the stem. As a result, a rather small cactus settles in a large pot.
Most adult echinocereus require:
- rare watering during the growing season without stagnant water in the pan
- maximum possible sunlight
- very cold (up to 0 degrees) and absolutely dry wintering from October to March (inclusive).
Almost all my cacti stand on a closed, but not insulated balcony all year round. In summer, Echinocereus occupy the lightest places there, and in winter - the coldest places. In severe cold weather, a slightly open window into the room serves to heat the loggia. Of course, the winter arrangement of plants on the loggia differs from the summer one - the cacti move away from the frozen glass to the wall of the house (the frames of the balcony windows are single).
I do not use winter lighting: if cacti are sleeping, let them sleep peacefully. After all, the sun is still shining in October, and already shining in February - this is quite enough for the laying and development of buds in non-spoiled, properly grown cacti.
There is an opinion that echinocereus are huge cacti that bloom reluctantly and at a very mature age. This is absolutely not true! Among them there are a lot of both completely dwarf species (Echinocereus E..davisii, E.pulchellus, E.knippelianus, E.subinermis), and simply slowly growing (all pectinant).
However, most of the seedlings of Echinocereus bloom already in the third year of life, reaching a diameter of 2-3 cm.Moreover, unlike representatives of many other genera, Echinocereus do not tend to shed their buds in the first year of flowering for no apparent reason (there is not enough strength?). They immediately reveal full, magnificent flowers with a diameter of 3 to 10 cm. As a rule, these flowers are larger than the plant itself. Of course, cacti bloom only if the conditions of detention are observed.
In February-March, when looking closely at the ugly (wrinkled and dusty) wintering Echinocereus, one can notice the appearance of light swelling over last year's areoles. Look from the shady side - as a rule, buds form there first. After a while, the skin of the swelling breaks, and a fluff appears from there. Then thorns protrude from the cannon, and then a cactus bud begins to grow. It grows slowly at first (about two months).
It so happens that when transferring plants to "summer apartments", caring owners change their orientation in relation to the light so that they are aligned. There is nothing terrible in this, I do it myself (after all, in nature the sun does not shine from one side, as the plants on the windowsill receive it). But during the budding period it is dangerous to do this - many cacti, as a result of an untimely turn, will refuse to bloom.
Echinocereus will not do anything of the kind. If I did not notice an unexpectedly appeared bud on a small cactus and turned the pot, Echinocereus will simply slow down its development and wait until I see the bud and return the pot to its original position.
In April-May, with the beginning of watering cacti, their development accelerates and the outer petals of the flower become distinguishable. As soon as the tip of the bud is colored in the characteristic color of this species, the flower can be expected to open.
I have already seen quite a few Echinocereus flowers of different species, but with the next flowering of any of them, I still feel the constant shock - how unnaturally beautiful they are! The camera can visually record the moment of the accomplished miracle of flowering, but sometimes flowers also have a unique aroma that disappears along with withering. True, the "moment of enchantment" of Echinocereus is not as fleeting as, for example, in Echinopsis, which I also love very much.
Daytime flowers (they say there are nighttime ones, but I haven't had them yet) in Echinocereus open from three days to a week. In the bulk of species, they are of various shades of pink, but they are also green, yellow, orange, white, scarlet and even multicolored, and also change their color during the flowering process (for example, from yellow to orange).
In the literature, the method of pollination of Echinocereus is somehow poorly described. Apparently, the vast majority of their species require cross-pollination. But I have had cases of fruit development without cross-pollination (for example, in Echinocereus E.pulchellus v.sharpii). Moreover, no one else bloomed at the same time with it (unauthorized cross-pollination is excluded).
Echinocereus fruits covered with thorns are juicy and tasty, and sometimes tasteless and drying out. In most species, when the fruits ripen, a longitudinal crack appears on them (after a month or two). As a rule, the fruit contains quite a lot of seeds, they are mostly black in color.
The seeds extracted from the fruit must be sown further in order to grow their echinocereus and fully enjoy their magnificent flowering.
Love Echinocereus! They are small, prickly and fluffy, as well as completely naked. They are "bushes" and "columns", "balls" and even "pancakes". And for your love and care, Echinocereus will reward you with flowers, the most beautiful of which you will not find in Eden!
Weekly Free Digest of Gardenia.ru Site
Every week, for 10 years, for our 100,000 subscribers, an excellent selection of relevant materials about flowers and garden, as well as other useful information.