Ferocactus Pilosus | 14 Rock Solid Care Facts For You |

Ferocactus pilosus cactus or Mexican Lime Cactus are native plants in Mexico and in the United States

Ferocactus pilosus cactus are well known for their thick red spines. They would tend to take a globe shape at the beginning, and they would grow taller as they mature.

You could consider growing Ferocactus pilosus cactus as indoor plants, especially if you live in temperate climates.  

They would be quite handy to use for indoor garden collection. What makes this cactus more interesting is their flowering activity. 

This is somewhat rare to spot though. So, I am going to cover how to look after these cuties well and how to provide the right growing conditions for them.

Ferocactus Pilosus

How do I identify Ferocactus pilosus

Ferocactus pilosus cactus would look like a globose shape at the beginning and later on they would stretch and become taller. 

Ferocactus pilosus cactus stems would be green to dark green in color and they would further consist with reddish spines as well. 

Ferocactus pilosus cactus stem would reach a maximum height of 3 meters. Their width would be about 60 cm.

In addition to that Ferocactus pilosus cactus comprise about 13-20 sharp spines which are a little wavy. 

Apart from that you could spot the carrying areolas as well. They are 1 cm in size and would be yellow in color.  You could spot their yellow color turning gray lately.

Ferocactus pilosus cactus spines’ prominent color is red, and they are striated. They would also turn gray as they mature.  

In terms of the sizes of the radial spines, they would be about 2 cm long. Further their central spines would be about 4 cm in size. 

They will further consist of  2-3 hairs as well. In addition to all these, you could identify the Ferocactus pilosus cactus from its flowering as well.  

They would be orange or purple and usually resemble the shape of a bell. You could identify them from flowering during summer.

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Size of the plant

Ferocactus pilosus cactus would reach a maximum height of 3 meters and their maximum width would be about 60 cm.

Growth rate

Ferocactus pilosus cactus tend to grow in an upright manner. They are slow growing plants. 

Ferocactus Pilosus

One look care guide

Botanical NameFerocactus pilosus 
Common NameMexican Lime Catus Fire Barrel Cactus
Plant TypeCactus
Mature Size3 meter in height and 60 cm in width
Sun ExposureFull Sunlight
Soil TypeWell-draining , Sandy
Bloom TimeSpring
Flower ColorRed or in bright yellow.
Hardiness ZonesUSDA hardiness zones 9a-11b 
Native AreaMexico

How do you take care of Ferocactus pilosus?

Light Requirement 

Ferocactus pilosus cactus would require full sunlight to survive. 

Having said that, do not leave the under scorching sun as it could be harmful for them and cause sunburns in the plants. 

It is important that you grow them under full sunlight preferably in the morning hours. They could thrive well in the shade in the afternoon hours.   

Temperature and humidity

Ferocactus pilosus cactus prefer to grow in hot and dry temperature conditions

Hence if you experience colder weather conditions on a constant basis you could consider placing them indoors. 

Alternatively, you could grow them outdoors during summer and relocate them indoors. Keep in mind that you should not expose the Ferocactus pilosus cactus for temperatures under 6 degrees Celsius. 

USDA hardiness zones 9a-11b ( -6.7 degrees Celsius ( 20 degrees Fahrenheit) would suit them the best. 

Is it cold hardy?

Ferocactus pilosus cactus cannot withstand the colder weather conditions.

USDA Hardiness Zone

Ferocactus pilosus cactus are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9a-11b  (-6.7 degrees Celsius /20 degrees Fahrenheit).

Ferocactus Pilosus

Watering Requirement 

Watering the Ferocactus pilosus cactus is very important when taking care of these plants well

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They have typical watering requirements just like the other succulents. You should never leave the Ferocactus pilosus cactus in soggy and damp conditions. 

The most important factor you need to keep in mind is to water them only when their soil is dry.

I recommend watering them deeply and thoroughly and letting them dry afterwards. 

Frequency vice, you could water them just once every 7-10 days and suspend watering them during. Do not ever over water them as it could be quite unhealthy for the plant’s well being.  

Soil Requirement Type / pH

Ferocactus pilosus cactus would require a soil mix which is fast draining

Hence, the easiest and the most convenient thing to do is to grow them in a commercial substrate which is available for cacti and for succulents. 

Alternatively, you could make a soil mix on your own by missing leaf mulch and coarse siliceous sand at balanced amounts. Ideal ratio should be ½ : ½ .

Flowering and Fragrance

Ferocactus pilosus cactus produce flowers in red or in bright yellow

They could be about 2-5cm in length. Their flowering season falls in spring. It would be so pleasing to watch them in full blossom, particularly if you have grown them in an outside garden.

Ferocactus Pilosus

Pot size Potting and Repotting

When it comes to selecting the right pot, it should ideally be a pot material where the water evaporation could take place at a speedy rate

Hence, I recommend growing them either in clay pots or in Terracotta pots. In terms of reporting, you do not necessarily have to report them on a constant basis. 

Instead, you could repot them once every three years or once every two years. Furthermore, you need to go ahead with reporting if you freshly purchase them from stores. 

The reason behind that is because they have been grown in poor quality soil and once you repot them, you could give it a fresh start for the plants.

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Where to Plant? 

You need to grow the Ferocactus pilosus cactus in a spot where they can gain sufficient strong sunlight levels

Hence if you grow them in an outdoor garden, you need to select a bright sunny spot to grow them. Hence, I recommend growing them outdoors rather than indoors.

Fertilizer and time of year

You could consider applying fertilizers for the Ferocactus pilosus cactus during mid spring. However you should go ahead with a mineral cactus fertilizer when feeding them.


Ferocactus pilosus cactus’ dormancy period is winter.

Can be toxic to pets

Ferocactus pilosus cactus are pet-friendly plants.

Ferocactus Pilosus 4 1

Common bugs and illnesses

Ferocactus pilosus cactus generally can resist pests’ attacks and diseases as well. 

Having said that, if you keep the plant growing whilst exposing them to excess humidity levels, it could make the plants more prone towards bacterial and fungal attacks.  

Root rot could take place as a result of excess moisture and excess humidity levels.  

Special Care tips

  • Ferocactus pilosus cactus are easy to care for plants. 
  • Further pruning is also not required and all you need to do is to protect the plants from extreme colder weather conditions. 
  • Further you should make sure that you take off the dead and damaged leaves from the plants. 
  • If you do not remove the dead leaves it could make the plants more attractive towards pest’s attacks.

Ferocactus pilosus plant benefits

You could grow them as isolated specimens, be it a cactus garden or a succulent garden. 

Apart from that you could grow them in rockeries as well as in terraces or in green houses too. Not only that but also, they would be great picks to plant in patios as well.


Before wrapping this up, I hope you found this article very useful, and you are now much more confident in growing the Ferocactus pilosus cactus.

So, why wait, hurry up and start growing the Ferocactus pilosus cactus and share the experiences with us too.

Credit to : cactusbylin
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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.