Echinopsis huascha: Care and Propagation Guide
Echinopsis huascha also known as the Argentine Hedgehog and Red Torch Cactus is found in several parts of South America. This cactus is also commonly cultivated and kept as a houseplant due to its attractive bright red flowers that grow on the top of the cactus stems.
The stems of this cactus are cylindrical in shape and are usually quite a few in number wherever they grow. Each stem has multiple ribs along with white or pale yellow spines.
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How To Care For Echinopsis huascha
Echinopsis huascha plants come in all shapes and sizes. They can also have flowers of many different colors in the same plant due to hybridization.
Most cacti only flower once a year, but Argentine Hedgehog plants can bloom all year round if the temperature stays at a minimum of 21 degrees Celsius. That is, provided they are cared for properly. Here’s how to take care of your Echinopsis huascha plant:
Sunlight is great for all plants, especially plants like Red Torch Cactus which thrive during the summers.
However, too much sunlight can end up burning your plants. Watch out for discoloration on the edges of the plant. Reduce the exposure to sunlight and let the plant sit in shady areas if you see any signs of sunburn.
Watering depends largely on the season. The plants will be blooming in the summers and will require more water. They start becoming dormant once the temperature starts falling, so water them conservatively during the winter and fall.
How often you water your Echinopsis huascha also depends on the soil, pot design and size. Pro tip—stick a pencil in the pot to check water saturation in the soil. If the pencil comes out dry or with very little water, it is time to water the plant.
Whenever you water the plant, make sure to fill the pot completely so that the soil is saturated with water.
Fast draining soil is ideal for Echinopsis huascha plants. Water retention can be harmful to the roots of the plants. It can end up damaging or killing the plant.
Add pebbles to the soil to help drainage and use sand to make a fast-draining top layer for the plant. The Argentine Hedgehog cacti have shallow roots, so the size of the pot doesn’t matter.
If you’re thinking of growing your Red Torch Cactus in the ground instead of a pot, you need to be extra careful with the watering. While it isn’t harmful to the plant, planting it in your garden or backyard does have some disadvantages.
For example, if temperatures drop very low in your area, the water in the cactus will freeze up. If the cactus is in a pot, you can move the pot indoors to prevent this. If your cactus is planted in the ground, there is no way to avoid it.
You can use a fertilizer two to three times during the growing season of the Echinopsis huascha plant. Liquid fertilizer with a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is ideal for cacti.
Avoid fertilizers during the dormant period.
Pests and Diseases
Thankfully, the Echinopsis huascha cacti are not prone to many pests or diseases. The main enemy of an Argentine Hedgehog plant is root or stem rot.
This is caused by high water retention. Make sure that the drainage of the pot is up to scratch and that you don’t overwater the plant.
How to Propagate Echinopsis huascha
Propagating Red Torch Cactus plants can be easy or hard depending on the exact species. However, if you take care of a few tips and make sure to propagate during the growing season, you are guaranteed to have a decent yield.
There will be offsets clustered at the base of your Argentine Hedgehog plant. Let them grow to an inch or more in length before cutting them. Always cut at the narrowest part of the offset.
Let the offsets dry out on a paper towel till the wounds dry out or form callouses. Next, place them in a soil mix identical to that of the mother plant (preferably a fast-draining soil).
The plant should take root in a few weeks. Once this happens, repot the plant. There you have it! A new Red Torch Cactus sapling propagated from your plant.