Plant This: Coahuila lace cactus


May 01, 2020

Slow-growing Coahuila lace cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus var. coahuila) bloomed in one of my wall planters recently. Tight quarters and dry, gravelly soil don’t bother cacti and succulents (that’s a little ghost plant tucked in there with it), which makes them perfect for small containers.

Speaking of slow-growing, here’s how the lace cactus looked when I bought it from The Natural Gardener 6 years ago. It’s doubled in size since then but remains compact.

In fact its feather-petaled, hot-pink flowers are almost bigger than the plant itself! It blooms each spring, with one or two colorful flowers peeping open and lasting a few days before furling back up and shriveling to a nub.

My, what big eyes you have!

Dave’s Garden deems Coahuila lace cactus hardy only to zone 10. But it’s been living outdoors in my zone 8b garden for 6 years with no winter damage, albeit next to a sheltering brick wall. So I checked my excellent reference book by Scott Calhoun, The Gardener’s Guide to Cactus, which devotes a whole chapter to hedgehog cacti, and it pronounces Echinocereus pectinatus hardy to zone 8a.

It needs excellent drainage, like all cacti. As for sunlight, mine thrives in a few hours of hot, direct sun and bright shade otherwise. It’s a spiny beauty and an easy-care plant that offers up stunning flowers in spring.

Note: My Plant This posts are written primarily for gardeners in Central Texas. The plants I recommend are ones I’ve grown myself and have direct experience with. Check online forums for your region or local independent nurseries to see if a particular plant might work in your area.

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