Sunday, October 20, 2013

What is the biggest cold hardy cactus? For me it is...

For me the biggest cold hardy cactus is Echinocactus polycephalus, well that is if we are talking about a single stem cactus.
Of course the cholla and prickly-pears will be much larger in over all mass, that could be one for a future post.;0)

Echinocactus polycephalus.
"covered in the winter with clear plastic"  See older posts.
A very difficult cactus to obtain. The are protected in the wild and should be.  The are slow growing, and from what I read, they are about twenty years from seed to flower.  So it would be very rare to see them grown commercially, even though I think it would be awesome!  I have grown them from seed, but lost them before they got to any size.  I believe I let them get too dry.  Younger plants seem to need much more water than older plants.  As a matter of fact this plant need very good drainage and protection from winter wet.  Over watering is a sure way of death for this one.  
PS. I bought mine from a nursery that received it from a legal salvage operation, and yes it was shipped with the tags.

And some agave from my yard for blog post filler.

Agave parryi

Agave utahensis x neomexicana

Agave parryi

Agave neomexicana 

Agave havardiana 

And the next four are all
Agave palmeri
All covered and all made it through their first winter. 

        PS.  I lost my Agave utahensis var kaibabensis. 
Looked fine after winter, but later died.  It was not covered. 


  1. I will be curious to hear how the Echinocactus does over time: I know they grow Ferocactus in Salt Lake City--but cover them with plastic tents in the winter--I think winter wetness would kill this one too. I've admired it all over the mountains of southern California, Nevada and Arizona--wish it were available more!

  2. Yes, you are so right! They need to be covered with plastic here as well. I meant to post that and yes I will edit it in there.
    Mine have endured many a cold winter here and seem to be fine with very good drainage and covered. I am not sure if LaMar (Plantasia Cactus Gardens)covers his every winter or not? They are too hard to get for me to risk a trial with.

    PS I have also had a big ferocactus live through winters here with a cover, but broke one winter during heavy snow. and later died. I have tried many times here with others and with no luck.