The Golden Barrel cactus is also known as mother-in-law’s cushion. But don’t let the name fool you, not only are these plants low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, but they add incredible texture and architectural appeal to Denver gardens and landscapes.
Golden Barrels have been cultivated for over a century. According to the United States Botanic Garden, the cactus was first discovered and named in 1889. Because their popularity grew so quickly, horticulturalists at one point became concerned that demand for the beautiful, spherical plant would mean its eventual demise. Thankfully, swift conservation efforts rescued it from this sad fate, and today, the cactus is enjoyed by gardeners and landscapers in multiple regions throughout the US.
Since Golden Barrels are indigenous to Mexico and other southwestern states, it is no surprise that they prefer well-drained soil and sunlight. As Maria Woodie notes in Horticulture Magazine, the attractive, interesting cacti do best in full sun and require little water. They also don’t mind the cold and can handle temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
These durable plants are popular for containers, rock gardens and garden areas with sandy soils. They grow up to three feet high and three feet wide, and they look great alone or mixed in with other cacti and succulents. Fine Gardening suggests pairing them with blue succulents. Planting the cacti near blue plants or other complimenting colors can bring out the bright gold color of the spines and the yellow blooms, which appear in summer.
Here golden barrels are used to flank the home’s front entrance walkway. A top layer of pebbles aids drainage, and adequate spacing promotes airflow between the cacti while also creating an interesting and engaging aesthetic.
Let the experts at Lifescape help you achieve a Colorado landscape that looks stunning year-round with little to no maintenance. Learn more about our landscape design services in the greater Denver area on our website or call us at (303) 831-8310.