Ferocactus wislizeni, Fishhook Barrel Cactus is a tall stout barrel cactus from the American southwest whose range also extends just over the border into Mexico. It is one of the hardiest of the genus and is an ideal Ferocactus to experiment with outdoors in the UK. It needs full sun and a warm, dry south-facing aspect with perfect drainage. In its native range it often leans towards the south giving rise to one of its common names, Compass Barrel Cactus. The spines are bright red maturing to a chalky brown and typically curve back on themselves and it is from this that it gets its most common name, Fishhook Barrel Cactus.
To grow Ferocactus wislizeni successfully outdoors the substrate should be very gritty - ideally with the addition of limestone chunks and volcanic rock dust - and either in a raised bed or on a sloping south-facing gradient. The importance of a perfectly drained substrate with little-to-no organic matter cannot be over-emphasised. If it can be kept dry by an overhang or rainshelter so much the better. While it is small and establishing itself it will be sensible to fleece it during the worst of the sub-zero temperatures but do not leave the fleece on for lengthy periods of time as it will encourage rot. Once it has survived a few winters and become established you will have a better picture of what is capable of in your particular location.
|Synonyms||Echinocactus arizonicus, Echinocactus emoryi, Echinocactus falconeri, Echinocactus wislizeni, Echinocactus wislizeni var. albispinus, Echinocactus wislizeni f. albispinus, Echinocactus wislizeni var. albus, Echinocactus wislizeni var. decipiens, Echinocactus wislizeni var. latispinus, Echinocactus wislizeni var. phoeniceus, Echinocactus wislizeni f. phoeniceus, Echinocactus wislizeni subsp. tiburonensis, Ferocactus arizonicus, Ferocactus falconeri, Ferocactus phoeniceus, Ferocactus wislizeni var. albispinus, Ferocactus wislizeni var. phoeniceus, Ferocactus wislizeni var. wislizeni|
|Geographical Origin||USA: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas; Mexico: Chihuahua, Sonora|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Needs little water but should be well-watered through sunny days during the summer to encourage growth. Dry in winter. Also a great houseplant|
|Hardiness||To around -12C if kept dry. In desert conditions it can go down to -15C but the UK winter air typically holds more moisture. Fleece during extreme temperatures while it is getting established. Surround with a mulch of grit. Can be a houseplant when young|
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