73 and still gardening

The cactus dubbed as the Mother-in-law’s Cushion

newly repotted Hedgehog Cactus

I’ve repotted my Echinocactus grusonii the other day for it has outgrown its medium-sized container. Six years ago, this plant had the size of the human fist. Now, this sphere-looking succulent is about six inches wide in diameter and six inches tall. It’s also called Golden Barrel Cactus or Golden Ball due to its sharp yellow spines, either straight or slightly curved, which grow along the 14 ribs of its rich green body. My cactus is still quite young; when fully matured this plant could have more than 30 ribs.

the crown of the plant where yellow flowers would appear

Yet, I don’t know who started to call this plant Mother-in-law’s Cushion but I could speculate. Perhaps the reason for this moniker is that its shape and spiny-look symbolizes the attitude and treatment of mothers toward their sons/daughters-in law — you know… critical, tough, nurturing, etc. Anyway according to cacti experts, this plant could grow up to a meter tall and would produce yellow flowers at its crown AFTER 20 years… Well, in that case I have to wait for 14 more years to see this plant bloom…Hmmmnn…I’ll be a great grandma by then…

Just like its tough appearance, this succulent is easy to grow even when I neglect it or give it minimal care. It thrives well in warm climates and likes full sun exposure. It requires only a minimum water, so it’s best to be planted in pots with large holes at the bottom for proper drainage. Water-clogging should be avoided though, for this plant is rot-prone.

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One response

  1. vera

    Hi! I need your help and advise! My echinocactus has similar ”skin”around it’s root area,is it something that I should be worried about or is my cactus just growing old? Thank you! 🙂

    February 5, 2013 at 8:14 pm

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