The Complete Guide to Ferocactus Glaucescens (Blue Barrel Cactus).

Ferocactus Glaucescens belongs to the Cactaceae family of plants and is a globose succulent. It is also known as the “Fairy Cushion Cactus,” or “Blue Barrel Cactus,” is a beautiful plant that can grow to a height of 55 cm and a diameter of 50 cm. As the plant matures, the stem turns columnar, with 10-15 ribs. It has well-defined ribs that are just a tad wavy. The stem is a bluish-gray tint with circular areoles on the ribs. 6-7 golden radial spines and a long, robust central spine emerge from the areoles. The spines can have a whitish coloration on the spine, which gives them their name “glaucous.” Its flowers appear in the apical region of the plant in the late spring or early summer. Bright yellow blossoms with vibrant purple stripes adorn the funnel-shaped blooms, which bloom for an extended period.

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Scientific classification.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Subfamily: Cactoideae
  • Tribe: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Ferocactus
  • Species: F. glaucescens

Habitat and Range.

Ferocactus glaucescens is commonly referred to as a ‘blue barrel cactus.’ The Mexico origin plant grows on limestone-rich mountainous hillsides in deciduous dry wooded areas and shrublands. There are numerous spines on the plant’s globose to cylindrical form, and they are evenly distributed. Multiple heads are formed as the plant grows. For good development, the winter-dormant succulent requires full light exposure. A Cactaceae plant may reach a height of around 2 feet.

Ferocactus Glaucescens

Plant’s Life Cycle.

The Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant has a life cycle of about 20 years and, in some cases, more.  

Soil & Water Requirements.

The Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant will tolerate a variety of soil conditions. However, it is most often found growing in rocky soils where it will grow quite well. Its ability to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions makes it ideal for gardening in most regions of the United States. It requires at least some occasional watering; however, it will not tolerate lots of it. It does well in all kinds of soils and locations. Watering would be ideal during the cool mornings and evenings.

Ferocactus glaucescens

Fertilizing, Propagation, and Seeds

The Ferocactus Glaucescens does not need much in terms of fertilizers. It will grow just fine in soil that has been previously fertilized. There are a variety of ways that you can propagate the Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant. 

Some of the most common methods include:

Cuttings or seeds can be used to propagate a plant. The cut surface will dry and produce a callus after a few days, so you may lay the cutting in a mixture of sand, dirt, and pumice to finish it off. You can produce many cuttings simultaneously to boost your chances of success in propagation. Temperatures around 20-25 °C are ideal for cuts. Propagation from seed is straightforward; all that is required is the sowing of the seed in sandy loam soil and the maintenance of high humidity and a temperature of 14-16 degrees Celsius.

Guide to Ferocactus Glaucescens (Blue Barrel Cactus)

Planting Blue Barrel Cacti

If you’ve planted cacti before, you know they need water during the first few weeks after planting. They also require plenty of sunlight. But, you’ll find that once the plant is established, it needs very little water and can be placed in partial shade. Over the years, you can add more plants to your cactus collection, and if you do, you’ll find that the plants will grow and flourish. To save time and your efforts, it will be best to buy an already established plant with developed roots and stems from the store ready for planting.   

It is important to remember that cacti kept in a pot for many years should be routinely repotted every few years. This will prevent the cactus from getting too big and root-bound. Rootbound cacti have roots that have grown around the sides of the pot and cannot be easily pulled out of the pot.  

Propagation and Growing Conditions.

This is a low-maintenance plant with a sluggish rate of growth. It is best to avoid direct sunlight during the warmest parts of the day. Also, it is necessary to bring the plant indoors during the colder months since it does not tolerate temperatures below 6°C. The soil should be enriched with pumice, clay, and loam to prevent root rot. This is because the plant is susceptible to it. Draining the extra water should be done with a perforating pot. You can water the plant regularly in the spring and summer (every seven days) if you make sure the soil is dried before watering again. In the winter, however, you should not water the plant at all to enable the plant to go into hibernation. During the growing season, you may fertilize the plant once a month using cactus-specific fertilizers to promote rapid and luxuriant development; during the winter, you should refrain from fertilizing the plant. Repot the plant in a pot two centimeters wider if the current container becomes insufficient for it. Repotting should be done early in the growing season using new potting soil. Make sure to keep an eye out for bloodsuckers and red spiders.

Ferocactus Glaucescens

When to Grow.

The Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant can be grown year-round. However, it is best grown in the spring and fall. The cactus may not survive if the plant is grown in the summer or winter due to high heat and perhaps dry soil conditions. 

General Growing Tips


The Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant is best repotted every two years. Repot the plant in a large pot and add a large amount of good quality potting soil. Water the cactus thoroughly and place it in a sunny, warm location. It would be best to repot it every year before the plant starts to flower and or repot the plant when the roots become too long or when the cactus starts to wilt. If you live in a cold climate, you should repot the cactus when it starts to wilt in the winter.

Ferocactus Glaucescens

Flowering and Stem.

Flowers with funnel-shaped petals are a dull yellow (4 cm long, 2.5-3.5 cm wide). It usually begins to flower when a plant is at least 12 years old. When the weather is bright, the flowers bloom and last for three to four days.

The round or cylindrical stem is bluish to greyish green in color (45-70 cm tall, 50-60 cm wide). The golden yellow, rigid spines that grow on the stem are made up of ribs laced with areoles. Each areole produces radial spines and a central spine.

Disease & Pest Control.

There are not many diseases or pests that affect the Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant. However, some can cause the plant to die, including funguses. If the cactus is infected with fungus, it will begin to wilt and die if not promptly eradicated. Certain varieties of caterpillars are also known to eat the leaves and stems of the plant. Also, I have noticed that they can be bothered by scale insects, which is why I suggest treating them with an insecticidal soap.

Ferocactus Glaucescens


The Blue barrel cactus has a hardiness zone of 9b to 11b. This plant tolerates frost tolerance of -4°C (24.8°F).

Light & Temperature.

The Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant can tolerate moderate amounts of heat and direct sunlight. But it requires full sunlight to grow well. However, if you live in a location where there is a lot of shade, you should provide as much light as possible. In addition, it does not tolerate extreme temperatures; thus, exposure to those conditions should be minimized. Therefore, it is best to keep the plant away from extreme winter colds and summer heat. Also, your plant should be kept away from drafts and strong winds.

Ferocactus Glaucescens

Frequently Asked Questions About Ferocactus Glaucescens

How big can a Ferocactus grow?

It grows to about one foot (31 cm) across and up to 3 feet (91 cm) tall, it is a very slow-growing plant.

How do you take care of Ferocactus Glaucescens?

There is virtually little upkeep required for these resilient plants. However, as often as every two years, it is recommended that container-grown cactus should be re-potted to ensure that the plant has enough area to develop, repot it into a pot 2″ bigger in diameter.

How fast do Ferocactus grow?

This is a low-maintenance plant with a sluggish rate of growth. It usually begins to flower when a plant is at least 12 years old. 

Is Ferocactus Glaucescens Toxic

Ferocactus Glaucescens is not known to be toxic; however, as with any not well documented plant, it is best to avoid direct contact with it. 

Blue Barrel Cactus


The Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant is one of the easiest plants to grow. It has several benefits that make it great for your garden.  When growing the Ferocactus Glaucescens Plant, please keep it away from harsh weather elements such as strong winds or extreme temperatures, especially when it’s a young plant. If you are growing it indoors, you should provide it with enough light, but be careful about the amount of water you provide, as too much water can be detrimental to your plant. You should also keep it away from any chemicals and fertilizers. Finally, be careful when touching this cactus, and you should always wear gloves to avoid getting pricked by the spines.

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