The echinopsis cactus originates from South America. The plant is sometimes called the “hedgehog cactus”, “Easter lily cactus” or “sea urchin cactus” because of the thorns densely covering the plant.

Echinopsis is one of the largest genera, with 128 species, and the genus includes plant species of different sizes.

What all these plants have in common are beautiful flowers. Giant flowers (8-12 cm in size) are often multi-colored with a beautiful mixture of shades. The colors and types of flowers may differ from the original echinopsis due to the extensive hybridization of plants.

Care for echinopsis at home

echinopsis home care
echinopsis home care

Growing echinopsis is not difficult. It’s an unpretentious cactus, and even though it’s called a flowering hedgehog, it’s the perfect plant for beginners growing a cactus for the first time.

Growing echinopsis cactus

Like other types of cactus, this cute hedgehog does not require special care. It will only require that you always keep it dry and warm. The most comfortable temperature is about 21 C, however, with proper care, it thrives even at low temperatures such as 10 C.

In summer, echinopsis should be stored in partial shade, and in winter – in bright sunlight, if you need help with additional heat or light, you can also use a lamp for growing. However, in this case, it is necessary to synchronize the lamp with the daylight schedule so as not to weaken the plant.

Keep in mind that echinopsis, which grows in South America, genetically corresponds to a seasonal schedule. So if you notice that your cactus is fighting despite doing everything according to the rules, think about changing its environment according to the conditions of the southern hemisphere, which means your winter should be their summer, therefore, your summer should be their winter.

During the growing season, you will be able to help the cactus form its famous flowers by making sure that the ambient temperature is more than 21 C.

Planting and transplanting echinopsis

It is necessary to plant echinopsis in a well-drained mixture and add a little fertilizer for cactus during the growth period, especially from spring to late summer.

If you want to create your own soil mix – drainage is key. Add a layer of pebbles and a layer of sand to the pot so that the water can drain and provide the roots with enough air for proper ventilation.

Echinopsis likes to be both indoors and outdoors — as long as it gets enough heat. If you want to take the cactus outside, first place it in a semi-shady place so it acclimatizes and doesn’t get sunburned. And don’t forget to bring it indoors for hibernation in the fall.

Watering echinopsis

One of the main reasons why Echinopsis is ideal for beginners is that it does not need regular watering, however, when its soil becomes dry to the touch, you should make sure that the water reaches the roots. Be careful not to leave it in a container with hard water, as this will affect the health of your cactus because its roots can rot. In winter, during hibernation, it requires even less water than during the growing season.

What’s more, if you’re keeping a hedgehog cactus outdoors, make sure it has some kind of shelter and isn’t placed where it can soak up all the water from the rain, as this will have the same effect as over-watering and can damage the roots. If you accidentally fill the cactus with too much water, you can take a few steps. to ensure recovery – first wait for the soil to dry completely and watch its appearance – if the problem doesn’t go away, you can transplant the cactus into a fresh soil mixture.

Reproduction of echinopsis cactus

Propagation of Echinopsis can be easily accomplished either by displacement or by seed.

Propagation by seeds is a little slower, and it can take up to 12 months for seedlings to appear. Unlike other plants, propagation of echinopsis by seed does not require placing the seeds in an excessively humid environment, but rather in a well-drained soil mixture. Make sure that the soil covers the seed and spray water over the seeds on the topmost layer of soil.

Planting seeds should be done in the spring to ensure successful growth, as they are quite sensitive to cold. Pots for seedlings should be stored in a semi-shady room with a temperature of about 21 ° C, and transplanted as soon as they become large enough.

You can also propagate your Echinopsis by using their displacements. This can be done at any time from early spring to late summer. However, you should be mindful of flowering flowers and wait until they wilt before proceeding with this process. This won’t take long, as echinopsis cactus flowers are known for their very short lifespan.

After cutting the displacements, you should allow them to form a callus. The process of processing corns takes no more than a few days, and you can leave the cub on a paper towel to complete the process.

After that, plant them in a pot so they can form roots. Make sure you place the pot in a warm place.

A riskier alternative for more experienced growers and depending on the size of your cactus (hint: the bigger the better) is to try to cut the cactus horizontally, thus getting 2 cactus. After pruning, you should leave the top to form a corn and transplant it like a normal displacement, waiting for the roots to grow – however, this may lead to a not very aesthetic result for the lower half of the cactus.

Possible diseases

Echinopsis is quite stable and does not suffer from many diseases. From time to time, they can suffer from bacterial or fungal rot, and various pests and infections can also occur. Black rot is usually benign and passes after a while. There are fungal infections that can infect all plants in the genus Echinopsis. In many cases, fungal infections kill the plant in a short time, and infected cactus should be removed from the collection immediately.

Another common pest is root flies, which often enter the collection through purchased infected plants and are difficult to get rid of. Chemical pesticides such as imidacloprid work very well, but they have a very bad effect on beneficial insects. Neem oil works very well against all kinds of pests, including hardy spider mites, root flies or scaly insects. Neem oil works very well against all kinds of pests, including hardy spider mites, root flies or scaly insects. . Another natural pesticide that is used in organic agriculture is sulfur, it works against spider mites and infections. Some growers also like to use diatomaceous earth to get rid of small pests.

Types of Echinopsis

Echinopsis subdenudata (Echinopsis semi-nude)

Echinopsis subdenudata (Echinopsis semi-nude)
Echinopsis subdenudata (Echinopsis semi-nude)

The smooth green stem is divided into 10 distinct ribs. The rib is rarely covered with white woolly areolas with 1-2 short spines with dark tips. Large funnel-shaped flowers consist of 2 rows of oblong petals with pointed tips. This species has flattened ribs with a small gap.

Echinopsis eyriesii

Echinopsis eyriesii
Echinopsis eyriesii

The species grows in the south of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. This is a popular spherical cactus that blooms at night. First, the young plant grows spherical in diameter about 15 cm and blooms in the summer night. When grown, the rootstocks become elongated, and after 4-5 years it acquires a cylindrical shape.

The rootstock is dark green in color with 9-18 ribs, round rings on the ribs and 10-18 short spines. The stem of the flower grows to about 20 cm per month, and the white or light pink flowers are quite large. The flowers have a light aroma. The flowers wither the day after blooming. The species is named after the Frenchman Alexandre Airy.

Echinopsis leucantha (Echinopsis white-flowered)

Echinopsis leucantha (Echinopsis white-flowered)
Echinopsis leucantha (Echinopsis white-flowered)

It tends to grow solitary, but sometimes grows in small groups. It usually grows up to 35 cm, but sometimes is taller and reaches 12 cm in diameter. The flowers are long, funnel-shaped, white, sometimes pinkish in color. This cactus makes an excellent container plant since it remains small.

Echinopsis mamillosa (Echinopsis mamillosa miscellaneous kermesina)

Echinopsis mamillosa (Echinopsis mamillosa miscellaneous kermesina)
Echinopsis mamillosa (Echinopsis mamillosa miscellaneous kermesina)

Kermezina has a flower with a diameter of 7.5 cm with many overlapping pink petals, a very weak middle band. The rear petals are pink-bronze in color. A stem-shaped growth with an almost completely round growth of a globular type and many ribs, usually about 20, the apex is also slightly flattened. The spines of this variety are shorter, and the edges of the ribs are uneven, dark green in color. This variety is abundantly flowering, with large pink inflorescences.

Echinopsis chamaecereus (Echinopsis hooked)

This is a species of cactusthat forms a mat, with many thick finger-like stems from the mountainous regions of Argentina. This is one of the most popular ornamental cactus, it is grown because of its unique finger-like shoots and bright scarlet flowers. Young shoots of echinopsis hooked somewhat resemble peanuts. However, with age, the shoots lengthen into cylindrical finger-like stems, they are light green, quite soft and segmented along 8-10 narrow ribs with wide, not deep depressions between them.

The main stems are about 15 cm long and 2 cm in diameter, and they tend to lie on the surface of a potting mixture with many much smaller branches distributed between them. This cactus branches and grows so quickly that in two years it will cover the surface of a 15-cm pot. Each of the small areolas, located close to each other along the ribs, bears 10 to 15 short whitish spines. Deep scarlet cup-shaped flowers about 2.5 cm wide emerge from the areolas in early summer. Individual flowers bloom for about a day, but the flowering period lasts from two to three weeks.

Echinopsis angelesii

It mainly has branching, spreading or semi-erect dull green stems, more than 90 cm high, up to 6 cm in diameter. The flower Echinopsis angelesii is white, 12-24 centimeters long – diurnal.

Echinopsis calochlora

It is often grown in greenhouses, especially in regions unsuitable for outdoor cultivation. These cactus are suitable as houseplants, being resistant to often dry atmospheres. Echinopsis calochlora originates from Bolivia and Brazil and is a small globular cactus that forms a lump. It has golden spines and fragrant pure white flowers with a diameter of 8 cm.

Echinopsis saltensis

Low, spherical in shape and huge spines appearance. It has 17-18 ribs and remains small and (usually) solitary. This species has a large taproot, so plant in a deep container. In spring and summer, it can produce bright red funnel-shaped flowers that open during the day and close at night.

Most of the flowers appear in the spring during the first flowering, but the plant can randomly produce flowers in the summer.

The fruit is spherical, 5 mm in diameter, with a small brown coat.

Echinopsis pachanoi Cristata (Echinopsis fan-shaped)

It is a multi-stemmed “cactus-body” with light green stems (slightly grayish at a young age, dark green in age), with several branches that usually expand from the base.

The rare crested shape can also become very large, making it a magnificent specimen. When the plant is ripe, you can expect it to grow to about 60 cm in height. When the plant blooms, it forms white flowers that open at night at the ends of the stems.

Echinopsis pachanoi (“San Pedro Cactus”)

The species was considered a sacred plant for the indigenous people of Peru. The stems are different shades of green, sometimes gray in color, have a diameter of 5 to 20 cm and usually 5-8 ribs, depending on the size. White or gray areolas can produce numerous spines, the length can reach 2 cm or more, depending on the environmental conditions in which they are grown. As mentioned earlier, the plant can be completely spineless.

In the wild, it grows like a tree and reaches up to 6 meters, and in some rare cases even more. The cubs of the plant appear from the base and grow columnar, unlike the smaller, sticky species of echinopsis. This species is nocturnal and infertile. This means that to produce seeds it needs another cactus for pollination. The flowers are very large and attractive. usually about 18–25 cm in length and up to 21 cm in diameter. The flowers have a very pleasant smell. The sepals are brownish-reddish in color, and the petals are white. The stylus has a green base. The tube is covered with black hairs. After flowering, green fruits up to 7 cm are formed.


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