Many species of the genus Echinopsis produce flowers with white petals, but our protagonist is different: its color is also pink so that although at first, it may seem a common cactus when it blooms we realize that it has a very interesting ornamental value. Learn all about Echinopsis eyriesii in this article.
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Origin and Characteristics of Echinopsis eyriesii
Echinopsis eyriesii is a species of cactus known as a queen of the forest, ball flower, or queen navel. It is endemic to Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, but is now found worldwide.
It has cylindrical stems with a diameter of 4”- 6” (10-15 cm) and a height of 6”- 12” (15 to 30 cm). Each has 11-18 ribs with whitish-colored areoles, and from the latter emerge a total of 12-15 spines up to 0.30” (7 millimeters) long that are black.
The flowers are quite large: they measure 8”- 10” (20 to 25 cm) long by 2” – 4” (5 to 10 cm) in diameter. Its petals, as we said at the beginning, are white or lilac.
Echinopsis eyriesii Care
It is a cactus that does not require special care. Once established, Echinopsis eyriesii will grow at a good pace, producing many flowers every year. But sometimes it is possible for problems to arise, if for example, it receives more water than it needs, or if it is kept in the same pot forever for example.
So let’s see what exactly we have to do to keep our plant doing well:
Most cacti are sun-loving plants, and our protagonist is one of them. Thus, it has to be taken to a sunny area. Even if we make seedlings with their seeds, these have to be from the first day in a place exposed to the sun.
But it is important that if we have bought it in a nursery and they had it indoors or in semi-shade, as soon as we get home we do not have to put it in the sun. Doing so will only cause it to burn in a matter of hours. To avoid it, it is necessary to acclimatize it before, little by little.
Pot: it is advisable to make our substrate for cacti, mixing peat and perlite in equal parts for example, or to change the perlite for akadama or pomice. It is also possible to plant it only in pomice, since although this one does not have nutrients, it will not harm it if we fertilize it regularly.
Garden: the soil must be loose and light. Also, it should not be easily waterlogged.
The Echinopsis eyriesii is a cactus that requires little water. In summer it should be watered about twice a week, as the soil takes a short time to dry out, but in winter it should be watered once a week, or every 10 days. This frequency will be even lower if in our area there are frosts and/or it rains regularly.
Also, if it is grown in a pot, do not put a saucer underneath it, as the water will remain stagnant there, very close to the roots. These can rot if they are always in contact with the liquid.
The fertilization is always important, but more if it fits if we have it in a substrate as the pomice or the akadama. For this reason, we will fertilize it in spring and also in summer, using fertilizers for cactus.
It is necessary to follow the indications of use because it is the only way that the product is useful for the plant. If we apply more than the quantity indicated, for example, its roots will burn; and if we apply less, the effectiveness will hardly be noticed.
Propagate Echinopsis eyriesii
Echinopsis eyriesii multiplies by seeds and offspring, both in spring and summer:
Seeds: it is highly recommended to sow them in a seedling tray, with a cactus substrate, or with a mixture of peat and perlite in equal parts. They have to be a little covered by the substrate so that they are not very exposed to the sun. If they are viable they will germinate in about 20 days at the most.
Offshoots: they are separated from the mother plant when they measure approximately two centimeters of height with the help of a knife without an edge (like the knife to cut vegetables). Then, it is taken to a dry and protected place, where it will have a week for the wound to heal. When this time has passed, it is planted in a pot with the substrate we have chosen and watered.
Repotting Echinopsis eyriesii
It should be repotted every 2-3 years, during the spring. The cactus is relatively small so the repot will not always be done because it has run out of space in the pot, but because of the substrate. This is the one that wears out, and depending on which one we use, like the akadama for example, it wears out and turns into dust.
So, what we have to do is the following:
First, we take the plant out of the pot.
Then carefully remove the soil.
Next, we fill a pot with new soil.
Then, we place the cactus in the center, making sure that it is at the right height (not too high or too low).
Finally, we finish filling and leave the plant in semi-shade for a few days so that it recovers.
In the case that you want to plant it in the ground, it will also be done in that season.
It may have mealybugs or red spider mites, easy to eliminate with soap and water, or with diatomaceous earth. It should also be protected from snails, as they can devour it.
It is a cactus that resists the cold and also frosts up to 23°F (-5ºC).