Mother-in-law’s Seat: [Cultivation, Irrigation, Care, Pests and Diseases]

The Echinocactus grusonii is one of the most important endemic species in Mexico, especially in the states of Hidalgo, Querétaro and Zacatecas. It is currently in danger of extinction.

The mother-in-law’s seat is a rare and symbolic species that has become known and cultivated internationally. It is a very valuable plant because it has a profound impact on the ecological, environmental and biological processes of its area.

Due to its exotic beauty, it has become a plant of high ornamental value throughout the world. However, it has almost completely disappeared from its natural populations due to illegal commercial exploitation.

Important points when sowing mother-in-law’s seat:

  • Scientific name: Echinocactus grusonii.
  • Common name: Mother-in-law’s seat, golden ball, golden barrel, hedgehog cactus, yellow biznaga, golden biznaga, mother-in-law’s cushion.
  • Height: 20 to 130 centimeters.
  • Light Need: Sun and partial shade.
  • Temperature: Semi -dry and semi-warm climate (20ºC).
  • Irrigation: Low to scarce.
  • Fertilizer: Low nitrogen organic fertilizer.

What features does the mother-in-law seat have?

Mother-in-law ‘s seat is a slow-growing, light green plant, spherical in shape and covered with numerous pointed thorns. It reaches 1.30 meters in height and 80 centimeters in diameter.

The Echinocactus grusonii is made up of large, cylindrical stems with tips of yellow wool. Each one has about 21 to 37 thin ribs. In turn, the ribs have areolas, points where spines are grouped. Those near the tip have yellowish wool.

Botanicly Cactus and Succulent – Golden Ball – Height: 30 cm – Echinocactus grusonii

In the case of the spines, these are golden-yellow in color and can be radial or central. The radial ones measure 3 centimeters in length and are gathered in groups of 8 to 10. The central ones measure 5 centimeters in length but are gathered in groups of 4 spines.

The flowers of this biznaga are born from the areoles of the upper pole of the plant, from within the densely woolly area. They are yellow in color and funnel-shaped. They measure 4 to 6 centimeters long; They bloom from April to August and from October to January.

This golden biznaga has a semi-spherical fruit covered with scales and white wool, 12 to 20 millimeters in length. On the other hand, its seeds are small, 1.5 millimeters long, brown in color.

When to sow the mother-in-law’s seat?

It is recommended to sow the seat of mother-in-law by seed, during the months of September, October and November. If you want to transplant, it will be preferable to do it in early spring.

Where to plant the mother-in-law’s seat?

The mother-in-law’s seat is typical of areas with strong sun exposure, so it is recommended to plant them and keep them outside, slightly hidden from the sun, either in gardens, terraces, parks or squares.

This plant belongs to hot and dry climates, for this reason it is very resistant to high temperatures and, in fact, it also tolerates light frosts and temperatures down to -2ºC.

However, it is recommended that the minimum temperature does not drop more than 5ºC.

How to prepare the land?

The mother-in-law seat has been adapted to different types of flooring. However, it grows better in soils with a clay loam texture, composed of 37% sand, 34% silt and 29% clay; or, in places with organic matter and a pH of 6.8 to 7.6.

If the type of soil in the garden is different, or you want to plant in pots, you can use commercial substrate for cacti, coarse sand, in order to provide good drainage and sufficient moisture.

BOIX Cactus Substrate 20 L

Likewise, it is recommended that a layer of gravel be placed on the surface of the soil to prevent the substrate from sticking to the thorns during irrigation.

Wave Noa Gravel, 1kg

How do we water the mother-in-law’s seat?

The mother-in-law seat does not have a high water demand. In fact, it tolerates drought very well, but it is susceptible to flooding and waterlogging. For that reason, irrigation should be applied whenever the soil is nearly dry.

How often do we water the mother-in-law seat?

Watering at ground level should be low, except in hot and dry months. In the case of being in a pot, it is recommended to water once a week during the summer and every 15 days in the spring months.

Echinocactus grusonii Golden Barrel Cactus 3.5 by Garden America

It is important to minimize the water supply, and even eliminate it during the fall and winter, when growth is paused. Reset the risk until March.

How to sow a mother-in-law seat step by step?

Because it is a protected species in Mexico, the mother-in-law ‘s seat plant is grown using an in vitro procedure to promote its conservation. However, it is usually sown by seed. The steps are shared below:

  1. Prepare containers or seedbeds with loose, calcareous, sterilized and moist substrate.
  2. Place the seeds on the surface of the substrate, cover them with a thin layer of sand or plant material and place a transparent plastic film to prevent moisture.
  3. Take the containers to a place where it does not receive direct sunlight, at a temperature of 21ºC, and moisten frequently.
  4. Wait 2-3 weeks for the seedlings to sprout. At this point the film can be removed and the seedbed moved to a brighter location.
  5. As soon as the plants have grown sufficiently, transplant them into individual pots in early spring.

To shorten the germination time, the seeds can be scarified. To do this, you need to apply 100% sulfuric acid for 3 to 5 minutes and rinse with distilled water.

SAFLAX – Gift set – Mother-in-law’s seat – 40 seeds – With gift/shipping box, shipping label, greeting card and growing medium and fertilizer – Echinocactus grusonii

What care does the mother-in-law seat need?

Mother-in-law ‘s seat is a low-maintenance plant. However, some recommendations are shared below.

  1. The plant needs to be exposed to low temperatures during autumn and winter to induce its rest, since winter growth with low solar exposure can cause deformations.
  2. If you want the plant to reach its maximum potential, liquid fertilizer for cacti can be applied every 20 days, only during the spring and summer months.
Cacti and Succulents from Botanicly – Golden Ball in Terracotta Bowl as a Set – Height: 25 cm – Echinocactus Grusonii

What pests and diseases affect the mother-in-law seat?

The mother-in-law seat is not usually affected by diseases, but it is susceptible to attack by aphids, or aphids, mites (Tetranychus urticae), cottony mealybugs (Pseudococcus and Rhizoecus), among others.

Phytosanitary – Triple Action – Batlle


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