The Echinocactus polycephalus is quite rare when it comes to cultivated growth, which is why you can mainly only find them in their natural and native growing sites, including the desert regions of Mexico, Nevada, California and Arizona.
These cacti look like a cluster of round clumps full of spines but feature a central green stem with several ribs. They also bear woolly fruit and yellow flowers, although the flowers are not generally visible.
10 Types of Echinocactus With Pictures
How to Grow and Care For Echinocactus polycephalus
Echinocactus polycephalus are gorgeous cactus plants that make beautiful houseplants. If you love the look and feel of these cacti, you should educate yourself about the various ways you can care for them.
Echinocactus polycephalus grows well in sunlight. Therefore, you need to make sure you place the cacti near the source of sunlight, if indoors. If you are planning on placing these cacti outdoors, you need to make sure they get direct sunlight. Echinocactus polycephalus, if they don’t get enough sunlight, will wither away.
However, at no point should Echinocactus polycephalus be placed under direct exposure to harsh sun rays. This may lead to the burning of the leaves.
How Much Sunlight Does a Cactus Need?
Echinocactus polycephalus doesn’t have frequent watering needs. You should only water the plant when the soil dries out completely. You need to make sure that there is no water in and around the pot that houses the cacti. Overwatering may lead to rot in its root.
While watering Echinocactus polycephalus, make sure that the drops of water don’t fall on the cacti especially when the sun is shining in full glory. This is because it may lead to a potential sunburn or lead to a fungal infection that may be difficult to deal with.
The growing season is the ideal time to feed your Echinocactus polycephalus with weak liquid cacti fertilizer. You don’t need to feed fertilizers to the cacti at other times in the year. This is because the plant has moderate fertilizer needs.
You can opt for a high potassium fertilizer once every four weeks during the growing season.
Don’t make the cardinal mistake of using your regular potting mix for growing Echinocactus polycephalus at home. A cacti mix should be the ideal soil for this plant. You can even add perlite to the mix to enhance drainage and ensure that water doesn’t stand.
Echinocactus polycephalus is a true desert plant that cannot stand humidity. It thrives in dry climates with little or no moisture and humidity. If you use it as an indoor houseplant, make sure to give it a dry, humidity-free atmosphere else it will not thrive.
How to Propagate Echinocactus polycephalus
Echinocactus polycephalus are best propagated from seeds. Make sure you sow the seeds in a good potting mix that has good drainage capabilities. If you live in a warm region, you can propagate them outside.
If you live in colder parts of the world, you would need to propagate the plant indoors using grow lights. This is because it will freeze to death in cold conditions and not yield any positive result.
Once the cacti have bloomed, it is crucial to prune them from time to time. This is because Echinocactus polycephalus may attract mealybugs and spider mites occasionally. In case there is a pest infestation, you need to treat it immediately, either with a pesticide or soapy water.
There are a lot of questions that people tend to ask before bringing Echinocactus polycephalus home. Here are two of the most commonly asked questions answered just for you!
How Do You Repot Echinocactus polycephalus?
The growing season, particularly the summer months, is the ideal time to repot Echinocactus polycephalus.
The first thing you need to ensure is that the soil is completely dry without any specks of moisture. You also need to remove any dead roots that may have accumulated in the soil over a period of time. Use a fungicide if you deem fit and ensure the soil is completely healthy.
Now take a new pot and fill the soil in it while spreading the roots uniformly. It is important to abstain from watering the mix initially, at least for the first week, to avoid any rot in the roots.
The choice of container is a crucial one while repotting Echinocactus polycephalus. To begin with, the size should be just right. Bigger or smaller containers do not serve the purpose well. Ceramic pots work well for indoor succulents while terracotta pots work well outdoors.
Several people also use plastic containers to grow and repot cacti. These are fine as long as you take care of the drainage.