Blue Barrel Cactus Care – Growing Blue Barrel Cactus Plants

blue barrel cactus
blue barrel cactus
(Image credit: hihina)

The blue barrel cactus is an attractive member of the cactus and succulent family, with its perfectly-round shape, bluish color, and pretty, spring flowers. If you live in a desert climate, grow this outdoors. If you are in a colder or wetter climate, blue barrel cactus care in an indoor container is simple.

About Blue Barrel Cactus Plants

The scientific name for blue barrel cactus is Ferocactus glaucescens, and it is native to eastern and central areas of Mexico, especially the state of Hidalgo. It tends to grow in the mountains between the rocks and as part of the native juniper woodlands and shrub habitat. Barrel cacti get their name from the shape and growth type, which is round and squat. They grow as solitary barrels until older when new heads grow to create a mound. The color is a rich gray- or blue-green, and the barrel is ridged with clusters of spines. The main barrel grows up to 22 inches (56 cm.) in height and 20 inches (51 cm.) across. In the spring, you’ll get funnel-shaped yellow flowers at the crown, followed by round, white fruits.

How to Grow a Blue Barrel Cactus

Growing blue barrel cactus is easy, although it will grow slowly. Give it a rich soil that drains well and a sunny spot. If growing it in a container, drainage is crucial, as any standing water can quickly cause rot. Water to get it established, but then only water when there has been a drought or too little rain. It is also necessary to avoid wetting the cactus above the soil line when watering if it is in full sun. This can cause burning on the surface. If growing in a container, eight inches (20.5 cm.) in diameter is big enough if you want to keep the cactus compact in size. But you can also choose a larger pot to give it more room and allow it to grow to a bigger size. Be sure your blue barrel gets enough sun indoors, and consider taking it outside for the summer if it’s not too wet.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.