The mother-in-law's pillow
Cactacea widespread in cultivation originating in the arid areas of Mexico; the botanical name is echinocactus grusonii, and about ten species belong to the genus, all originating in Central America; the name echinocactus derives from the Greek Echinos, or porcupine; and in fact these cacti look a little like hedgehogs: they have a rounded shape, only slightly columnar in very old specimens; the surface is crossed by rather evident ribs, covered with spiny areolas; the thorns of the grusone they are typically light yellow in color, very large and pointed.
Plants have a slow development, and take several decades to grow; the Grusoni flowers hardly in pot, above all because before blooming they must reach maturity, that is a diameter of at least 30-35 cm. The flowers bloom in spring or summer and are pale yellow.
The other species of echinocactus they have often dark, brown spines, and produce yellow or pink flowers; most of these cacti have a very slow development, for this reason it is easy to find specimens grafted on plants with a faster development.
How to grow Grusone
These cacti are cultivated in the typical way for most of the cacti, they are kept in a well luminous position, possibly sunny, with a semi shading in the summer, in the hottest hours of the day; they prefer a very well drained soil, made up of soil mixed with sand, pozzolan, or lapillus, so that the drainage is excellent and that the substrate does not retain excessive humidity.
Watering is provided only when the soil is perfectly dry, and only during periods when the plant is kept in a place with temperatures above 15 ° C.
The Grusoni are grown in the garden, from March-April until September, or even on the terrace, in a very bright and well-ventilated area; when autumn arrives, watering is suspended and if the plant is placed in a sheltered place, where the temperatures are above 7-10 ° C, then in a cold greenhouse or in a stairwell.
Let's avoid growing these cacti in the apartment all year long, because the light is far too low, and as the years go by, these plants tend to mummify, or in any case to develop in an unhealthy and pleasant way, and to be attacked from pests or diseases.
Not all of us can afford a greenhouse, especially if heated, but often it can be enough for a large group to be placed on a balcony facing south or east, with the walls of the house behind it to protect and without watering; to try to survive our big leaf left outdoors, first of all we stop watering and the soil already in September-October, then we place the pot in an area where it does not receive rain water, so that the substrate can remain dry until the end of winter; in case of intense frost, we cover the plant with non-woven fabric, even in several layers if we believe that the temperatures will be very low.
These plants have a very slow development, and a fairly reduced root system, for this reason it is not necessary to intervene with repotting too frequently.