Echinocereus pectinatus rubispinus. Huh? I know…that’s a mouthful.
We went to a Central Florida Cactus and Succulent Society’s sale last summer and brought home a couple of trays of those little 2″ pots, full of unusual cacti and succulents. One of those finds was this green and raspberry colored cactus.
The plants were potted up and not given any particularly special attention. Now nine months later, our Rainbow Cactus, one of the names commonly used Echinocereus pectinatus rubispinus, has grown to about six inches tall and over two inches wide. Pink Comb Cactus or Arizona Ruby Red Hedgehog, as it is known in some parts, will grow to between eight and twelve inches tall.
They like full sun to light shade. However, full sun doesn’t work so well during those ninety plus degree summer days. It’s best to give them a little protection, not unlike many of our other cacti. Folks hear the word cactus and automatically think all cacti can handle any amount of scorching sun for any length of time. Not so, my gardening friends. I’ve toasted (more like sun dried) a few cacti by underestimating the power of the sun.
So, we watched this Pink Comb grow all winter (they are good to about 25 degrees) and into spring. Planted in light cactus mix, watered lightly over winter, and then given regular drinks throughout spring has given ours a nice shape and outstanding color. Deep green with raspberry spines. The spine’s color can vary from plant to plant. Raspberry, hot pink or magenta are common colors.
A few weeks ago we noticed a little bump pop up on the top dome. Fuzzy white at first, it soon sprouted longer spines. Ahhh, flower time? Knowing that spring in the southwestern US and northern Mexico(Echinocereus pectinatus rubispinus’ native home), was about the same time as ours, we started paying a lot more attention to this little colorful cactus.
The bud grew larger and longer. Finally, arriving home one late afternoon, we found this outrageously beautiful flower wide open, reaching for the sun.
When viewed from the side, we could see how the flower aims itself like a satellite dish, towards the light.
The late afternoon sun shining directly into the throat of the blossom, the center appeared illuminated from within.
This little Ruby Red Hedgehog has been a great gardening treat.
The overly large bloom opened in the morning and closed at night for several days before withering and falling off. It left a small fuzzy scar, a small trade-off for the pleasure of seeing the bloom. Besides, just as it finished it’s life-cycle, another bud has swollen, and we now have had two blooms, with more buds starting to appear.
Our tips on this cactus…..don’t be too fussy with it, don’t over water it in the winter, give it a bunch of good drinks in the spring, and don’t “sun dry” it in the summer!
If all goes well and you keep a sharp eye out for those new spots, you will be rewarded with beautiful cactus flowers from June to August. Echinocereus pectinatus rubispinus is a cool cactus with simple requirements and beautiful blooms.
Dave and Trish
Thanks to: ENature.com