Grow This Cactus Plant For A Beautiful Pop Of Red-Orange Color

Finding colorful plants for a desert oasis may be a challenge at times since water is hard to come by and the sun insists on being brutal. Even though there may be slim pickings, the options you do have are stunning, like claret cup cacti. Echinocereus triglochidiatus is one of the 350 claret cup cacti species that are often confused with other species, like the lace hedgehog cactus; however, the E. triglochidiatus has beautiful red to red-orange flowers that attract hummingbirds and bees and will be a delight to grow in your desert landscape or as a houseplant under a grow light.

This kind of cactus goes by several names, like the kingcup cactus, claret cup cactus, strawberry cactus, and red-flowered hedgehog cactus. The entire family of claret cup cacti are also typically known by these names, including variants of the E. triglochidiatus species. Shopping for them in stores may be a challenge if the labels aren't specific, or if the plants are mislabeled. 

Claret cup cacti are desert beauties

The claret cup cacti are one of the cactus species you should grow since they bloom with colorful flowers. If arid conditions cause you to rely on nonflowering plants as a source of color in the landscape, consider adding Echinocereus triglochidiatus throughout your desolate flower beds. These cacti are heat-tolerant succulents that grow in mounds. The stems can grow alone or in clusters and reach up to 1 foot tall and 6 inches in diameter. Though the plant typically stays small, there's a potential for it to grow fairly large and become a focal point.

The red flowers will show up from April to June in most areas, though higher elevations will see them in June and July. The flowers stay open during the day, so you'll get to enjoy them while you soak up the sun. The flowers will close up at night, and they'll only last for up to three days before wilting. You'll see plenty of bees and hummingbirds on these gorgeous flowers since they attract them with their color and provide plenty of pollen and nectar. It's easy to propagate these cacti since roots can grow off of pieces of stem that fall off the plant. Once you bring them into your garden, you can expect them to stay and provide you with plenty more to share.

How to grow claret cup cacti for their flowers

Claret cup flowers are perennial succulents that bloom and are native to Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. They're accustomed to warm regions with gravelly soils, like mesas, canyons, and even some woodland areas. You can find them growing out in the open where they can get direct sunlight for most of the day, though you'll occasionally see them in areas that receive very light shade. If you want these cacti to thrive and produce dainty but jaw-dropping flowers, you'll need to mimic their native habitat the best you can. Provide them with rocky, loose soil that drains water easily and plant them in full sunlight. Keep the plants warm, bring them indoors in the winter, and put them by a grow light until it's warm enough for them to go back outside.

You'll need to take special care of your cacti over the winter to maximize your spring flower blooms. Keep in mind that they're native to an arid area, so a moist winter will hurt them. Keep them dry over winter and give them as much sunlight as possible. Cool temperatures will encourage flowering, but freezing temperatures will kill them. Bringing them indoors and keeping them in a cool room with a grow light will help you. If you're growing them in their native region or in an area with a similar climate, leaving them outdoors year-round will be fine.