Variegated Ferocactus can be found (although not commonly) in
cultivation and some of these variegated plants have a place in most
collections. All variegates are
mutants. Something has gone wrong with the cellular structure of the
growth tip (apical
meristem) of the plant. As a result of this mutation,
chlorophyll is missing from some or all layers of the plant
epidermis. The odd variegate appears in many seedling batches in a
small percentage and are generally separated from normal plants.
Variegated plants grow slower and are generally smaller than
non-variegates of the same species. Coloured areas are also generally
weaker, and more
sunburn and other defects. A large well grown variegate Ferocactus
is truly an achievement. These are harder to grow well than they appear.
Description: Ferocactus is
usually unbranched and in habitat can form a single column up to 2 (3) m
tall and 30cm in diameter. The ribs are 2.5cm high and tuberculate.
Spines: A large central spine and three
auxiliary centrals form a crucifix shape, The primary central is
7-15 , angles down and is slightly to moderately
hooked, sometimes to 90 degrees. The other centrals are from 5 to 7.5 cm
long. The centrals are noticeably ring ridged and flattened, with a
flat upper surface and rounded lower surface. Spines can be very light
grey to red and yellow, but darken to black with age.
Flowers: Yellow flowers tinged with red appear in May and June at
the crown of the plant, 4 to 6cm. The fruit with scales is fleshy,
yellow or yellowish green, 5cm long, 2.5cm in diameter.
The flowers on all subspecies are yellow, occasionally with a red tint.
Prefers filtered sun.
Be careful not to overwater.
It can rot easily.
Will take some frost.
Seeds are the
only way of reproducing.