Cactaceae widespread in nature in Mexico and in the southern part of the United States, ferocactus are plants that over the years can reach even considerable dimensions, up to 70-80 cm in height, even if grown "in captivity".
The species are numerous, characterized by long sharp thorns, of various colors, from yellow to black, often purple or bright red, sometimes wide and curved; they have a generally rounded body in the first years of life, which becomes cylindrical with the passing of the years. Often the stem is characterized by deep ribs, sometimes they also have opercula, from which numerous thorns emerge. Ferocactus generally produce single specimens, few species tend to cluster over the years.
In spring, at the apex of the stem, numerous flowers bloom, often gathered in a kind of crown, pink, yellow, purple or red. The flowers are followed by small yellow fruits, which have no pulp, but are full of seeds, generally fertile.
We grow ferocactus
These cacti are among the most widespread among enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts, being quite simple cultivation. They are planted in pots, not being able in Italy to survive the winter temperatures and humidity; let's use a soil for succulent plants, rich in sand and pumice stone, in order to obtain a soil similar to that present in the deserts of origin.
They love sunny positions, but remember to avoid placing a plant that we kept at home or in a sheltered place directly in the sun: let's move it to the sun gradually, to prevent direct sunlight from burning the epidermis of the plant, causing a bluish color.
In spring and summer, with a hot climate, water our ferocactus regularly, always waiting for the soil to dry well between watering; in nature these plants live in desert places, where the rains are only occasional, so they can remain dry even for weeks, without suffering in any way; Excessive watering, on the other hand, quickly leads to the development of diseases such as rot and mold, which can ruin or kill even specimens of many years of age.
When the climate becomes cool, we stop watering and leave the plant dry until the following spring.
Ferocactus can withstand temperatures close to freezing for short periods of time, but only if the soil is completely dry.
As with many other cacti, the colder the climate, the less water must be present in the soil; if we grow ferocactus in a cold greenhouse, leave them dry until the first warm spring temperatures, if instead we grow them indoors, with average temperatures close to 17-18 ° C, water sporadically.
To obtain abundant blooms it is necessary that the plant goes through a period of vegetative rest in the cool, therefore it is more likely that the specimens grown in a cold greenhouse will flower; while plants kept indoors will hardly bloom.
Ferocactus - Ferocactus: Propagate a succulent
Ferocactus live in Central American deserts; these are arid areas, with little rainfall. In any case, however, these are not completely desert areas, without any type of precipitation, as the typical African sand desert could be. So these plants live in places with low rainfall, where however on some occasions there are short thunderstorms, with a high presence of water for short periods of time. In rocky deserts, moreover, it often happens that the water flows towards depressed areas, such as the bottom of the valleys; in these areas the soil remains wet for short periods of time, interspersed with long periods of drought.
Ferocactus seeds fall among the rocks during periods of rain, and therefore find, to germinate, a very humid environment.
If we want to propagate our ferocactus by seed we must therefore ensure a sandy and humid soil, at least until the seeds germinate completely; when all the seeds have sprouted we will transfer the small plants to a drier and warmer climate, so that they can develop without too much water around, which could quickly lead to the formation of very harmful rot.