The barrel cactus is primarily suited for growing in garden rockery settings, desert type landscapes, patios and botanical gardens. The globular shaped stem can grow up to 60 inches tall and 36 inches wide in the wild, or where they are given conditions similar to the natural Mexican habitat. This stem is ribbed and produces prickly yellowish spines (there is also a spineless type), and the crown of the cactus has white colored woollen hairs at the top. The golden barrel cacti will produce yellow flowers during mid-summer, although these are unlikely to appear indoors. These are grown mainly for the foliage rather than flowers; for the desert look that’s appealing to cactus growers and collectors.

The Echinocactus grusonii is fairly quick growing at first; then the growth rate slows right down. So you can expect to wait about 10 years for the cactus to reach 10 inches in diameter. Like most cacti they’re drought tolerant and need very little care and attention to grow well. Not enough sunlight and over-watering are common mistakes. When handling, it’s best to use gloves to protect your hands from the thorny spines.