Planting a barrel cactus can add a unique touch to your garden; it is a cylindrical, or barrel shaped, plant with prominent ribs covered in heavy spines. Barrel cactus is often called a Fishhook Barrel Cactus because of the hook-like appearance of its spines. The barrel cactus will seasonally bloom with flowers that grow from the top. The flowers have no spines and are bright yellow in color. These flowers produce no fruit and are inedible. Barrel cactus is native to the American Southwest and Central Mexico. Once planted, a barrel cactus will require minimal care and watering. They are fiercely beautiful plants that are relatively easy to plant and grow.
To plant your barrel cactus, you will need the following garden tools and supplies: a small barrel cactus, gardening gloves, small pruning shears, 30% shade cloth, sandy soil, water and a shovel. These tools and supplies can be purchased at your local garden or hardware store. You will also need a compass to help you orient your cactus. Keep in mind that barrel cactus grow in dry, arid climates. If you live in humid climate, you will not want to plant your barrel cactus outdoors, and you may want to choose a plant that is more conducive to your climate.
Place your gardening gloves over your hands. You do not want to prick or cut your hand while handling your spiny barrel cactus. With your small pruning shears, trim the roots on your barrel cacti. You do not want your roots to extend beyond the width of the cactus.
Pick where you want to plant your barrel cactus. Choose a dry location without standing water. Make sure your cactus will have access to full sunlight and will not be shaded by any trees or buildings. Please note that you will need to initially shade your cacti with your shade cloth for six months, but after this initial period, you will want your plant in full sunlight.
With your shovel, dig a hole in your chosen location. Set the sand you remove to the side of your hole. Your hole should be deep and wide enough to cover and hold the roots of your barrel cacti. Add a two-inch layer of sandy soil to the bottom of your hole. The sandy soil will help with irrigation. Set your barrel cactus in the hole, roots down. Examine your cactus and determine which side is greener and lusher. Using your compass as a guide, rotate your cactus until the greener side is facing north. If you do not properly orient your cactus, the spines on the north side will receive too much sun and die. Cover the roots with the sand you placed to the side.
Water the barrel cactus until the ground is soaked. Next, drape your shade cloth over your entire cactus. You will need to water your barrel cactus every two to three weeks for the next year. After six months, you can remove the shade cloth and expose your cactus to full sun. After the first year, your barrel cactus will be established and you can stop watering the plant.