3 Top Tips for Growing a Golden Barrel Cactus

Also known as the hedgehog cactus, the golden barrel cactus is definitely an intriguing plant. These spiky golden balls add so much texture and colour to a garden, while also being very easy to care for. That said, while they may be low-maintenance, there are still a few things that you need to know if you want your golden barrel cactus plants to thrive.

Monitor Sun Exposure

While it’s true that mature golden barrel cactus plants love plenty of sunlight, the same cannot be said for younger specimens. In fact, this is a common problem that new growers often have – they position young plants in direct sunlight, only to then watch their plants suffer.

So, if your golden barrel cactus plants are still young, give them bright but indirect sunlight. You can then increase sun exposure as they grow. One way to do this if you don’t want to have to dig up your plants to move them is by growing them in a large GRC pot. This way, you’ll be able to move them around your garden to give them the light levels they need.


Keep Soil on the Dry Side

Being in the cacti family, the golden barrel cactus has the amazing ability to store large amounts of moisture. As a result, it needs its soil to be dry. Waterlogged soil is one of the most common killers of cacti, so you definitely want to avoid this as much as possible.

Granted, this is harder if your plants are in the ground, especially if you’re having a wet and rainy spell. However, the secret to keeping your plants relatively arid is by improving drainage in your soil. This way, no matter how much it rains, all of that excess water will quickly drain away rather than gather around the roots of your plants.


Know When to Feed Your Plants

Want to encourage new growth as much as possible? In this case, you’ll need to feed your golden barrel cactus plants. However, you should only do this in the spring and summer.

Just like most other plants, the golden barrel cactus goes dormant in the winter. This may not be as obvious to the eye as with a deciduous tree, for example, since the plant doesn’t change colour or lose leaves/needles. However, that dormant period is vital for the plant to have enough energy to spring back to life once the temperature rises. Fertilising your plants during this time will interfere with dormancy, so save your feeds for the warmer months instead.

When it comes time to feed your plants, look for a specialist cactus feed. This will contain all of the right nutrients that your plants need. However, don’t overdo it – this is a plant that naturally grows in areas of low fertility, so too much feed could be detrimental.



The golden barrel cactus is a plant that doesn’t ask for much, yet gives plenty in return. It’s exquisite to look at and will add visual interest to your garden year-round, so long as you know how to care for it properly!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top