July Little Plant: Echinocerus Rigidissimus Rubrispinus
These cacti cuties have short spine-y stems whose resemblance to hedgehogs earned them the common name Hedgehog Cactus. They are native to the southwest United States, where you can find them growing in short clumps which can reach up to three feet wide and about 12 inches tall. Their bright colored blossoms in the spring will make them a fun addition to a cactus garden or succulent bowl, just watch out for the spines that grow along the ridges. Each areole along the ridge can produce eight to 20 spines! Plant your Echinocereus Engelmannii in high drainage soil and place in a high light window, or supplement light with a grow light. Let the soil dry out completely in between watering during the spring and summer, and water just enough to avoid wrinkling in the dormant season of winter and fall. If you place your Hedgehog Cactus outside, remember to bring it in before the temperature drops at night.
Hedgehog Cactus can handle bright indirect to direct light. Remember to transition into direct light slowly to avoid sun-burning your plant. Grow lights have become more compact and easier to use than ever. If you don’t have any high light in your home, this is a cactus that will need you to supplement light. We recommend these if you need a grow light bulb.
During the summer water when the soil has completely dried out – about once a week, though if there is a lot of humidity in your home you may want to water even less. Reduce watering in the fall to every 3 or 4 weeks and water rarely in the winter. This will help your cacti be more frost tolerant. In the winter watering can be stretched out to just often enough to avoid shriveling. Planting in a small well-draining container with cactus mix or a moderately dry blend of potting soil and sand will help you avoid over watering. If you have a pot with a hole and a dish under it make sure to empty water from the dish afterwards.
Echinocereus engelmannii can be fertilized a monthly during the Summer. During the Fall and Winter the plant is dormant and will not require fertilizer.
Long Term Care
Hedgehog Cactus do not do well as an outdoor plant, but they can last for years indoors if they are kept warm and dry. They will need to be repotted every 3 years in the spring. Avoid watering for a week after repotting, then water generously. Don’t fertilize for a month after repotting. Rainbow Cacti can have issues with aphids, mealy bugs, scales and spidermites. If pests appear spray them with insecticidal soap, checking the cactus every other day and spraying it again if more pests appear.
Hedgehog Cacti are not toxic to your pets or kids, but they are prickly so you may want to keep them away from curious hands and paws.