King Cup Cactus Care Facts ( A Cactus With Gorgeous Flower )

King cup cactus are yet another attractive plants which you would come across in the succulent world. They are native to the American southwest

King cup cactus usually grow in pinyon woodlands, creosote scrub and Joshua tree forests when they grow naturally. 

They would be great picks for indoor gardening and would be quite attractive in floral displays. So, if you wish to learn further on this beauty, keep reading this article.

King Cup Cactus

How do I identify a King Cup Cactus?

King cup cactus are small in size and come up with spines. They have a round shape foliage and the name king cup cactus goes very well with them due to this feature. 

They would rise to  6 inches in height when they are fully grown. Having said that, there could be some King cup cactus which grow up to 2 feet when they grow in their natural habitat.

They would resemble a barrel shape. The stem color would be blue-green in color and further they would consist of spines as well.They are vast and waxy to the touch. 

Growth rate

They are a slow growing plant and usually grow in a vertical manner, and you could spot the new growth arising from the plant’s upper part.

One look care guide

Botanical NameEchinocereus triglochidiatus.
Common NameClaret cup 
Claret cup hedgehog 
Curve-spine claret cup 
Kingcup cactus
King’s crown cactus
Spineless hedgehog 
Strawberry cactus
Mound cactus
Plant TypeSucculent 
Mature Size6 inches in height
Sun ExposureFull sunlight to partial shade 
Soil TypeSandy well draining 
Soil pHNeutral
Bloom TimeSpring 
Flower ColorRed, Orange-red
Hardiness ZonesUSDA hardiness zones 9-10
Native AreaAmerican southwest.
ToxicityToxic to pet and human
Average price USD 15 

How do you take care of a King Cup Cactus? 

Finding a King cup cactus to grow would be somewhat challenging as you cannot find them in nurseries

Further you need to avoid buying a wild harvested plant as that will encourage habitat destruction. Watering them properly is very crucial when taking care of them. 

As aforesaid, King cup cactus grow in drought weather conditions and do not require a plenty of water to thrive

King Cup Cactus

Light Requirement

King cup cactus prefer to grow in strong sunlight conditions. Consider growing them near a bright sunny window spot when you grow them as houseplants

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Do not keep it too close to the sunny windows as it would not allow the plants to grow well.

Further, King cup cactus cannot perform well if you grow them in low light levels too. If you grow them indoors and if the plants are lacking sunlight, you need to place a grow light closer to the plants or bring them in and out from the house. 

When you grow king cup cactus as outdoor plants, select a spot where they can gain full sunlight and partial shade evenly.  

Temperature and humidity

King cup cactus require warmer temperatures to grow well. Refrain from exposing the plants to low temperature levels as they are not tolerant of such conditions. 

If any winter condition is predicted, you need to bring them indoors to protect the plants from such conditions. 

Is it cold hardy?

King cup cactus are not cold hardy plants.

USDA Hardiness Zone

USDA hardiness zones 9-10 would suit the King cup cactus the best.

Watering Requirement 

King cup cactus require infrequent yet thorough watering. When they are in their actively growing phase, watering them every fortnight would be adequate. 

You could stop watering them in fall so that they will be well prepared for winter. if you live in an area where there are high humidity levels, you could suspend watering them during winter.

Do not ever leave the plants in waterlogged situations as it could create diseases such as root decay. 

Always make it a habit to check the soil between two watering sessions and ensure that you water them only when their soil is dry. You should water them more often in summer and spring when the soi is entirely dry.

Soil Requirement Type / ph.

King cup cactus require a well-draining soil mix to thrive well.

There is a high potential for them to form root rot given that they do not get sunny conditions and poor draining soil mix. They could thrive well in lean soil as well. 

When planting them, ensure that they have sufficient room to expand and grow firmly.

You could be tactful in placing a thick layer of gravel around the plant base so that you could protect the plants from soggy soil particularly during winter rainfall.

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A sandy soil mix would be more appropriate for them as that will be quite effective in improving the drainage. 

You could further add substances such as perlite, pebbles to the soil mix as they would also be quite effective in fastening the draining.

When they grow in natural habitats, they thrive in poor quality soil mix which does not have a lot of nutrients.

King Cup Cactus

Pot size Potting and Repotting

An unglazed pot which has sufficient draining holes would be more appropriate to grow the King cup cactus.

It will ensure faster water evaporation in the pot. Further they would prefer to have a slightly larger pot to grow the cactus since they require a lot of space to grow. As such a slightly larger shallow pot would suit them the best.

When it comes to repotting, it is quite essential to do it in a timely manner since that will allow the plants to grow in fresh growing conditions. 

Ideally you could repot them annually or once every two years. If you wish to prolong the time to repot, you could remove the plantlets and plant them in separate pots. King cup cacti have a very fragile root system. 

Hence, be mindful to not to damage the root system when  repotting them. If you wish you could grow them in the same pot after disinfecting.

However, if they have outgrown the pots, you need to go ahead with slightly larger pots. 

Where to Plant 

Grow them in a spot where they can gain adequate sunlight levels. In addition to that, if you want to grow them in a container, you should plant them in an unglazed container.

Fertilizer and time of year

King cup cactus do not depend a lot on the fertilizers as they grow in poor quality soil particularly when they grow in the natural habitat. 

However, if you wish to feed them, you may go ahead with a liquid fertilizer when they are in their active growing phase.

Ensure the liquid fertilizer you use has a high percentage of potassium. Do not feed them when they are dormant.


King cup cactus produce flowers in red.

They are quite attractive for pollinators. They will bloom in spring and will stay alive for two to three days. Further only the matured King cup cactus will bloom.

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King Cup Cactus


King cup cactus dormancy period is in winter.


They are toxic to humans as well as pets. These plants contain Cyanogenic glycosides, glucosinolates and amines

Common bugs and illnesses

King cup cacti are extremely sensitive to excess water. If you supply them excessive water it will cause root rot.

Root rot could be risky as it could even kill your plants. In addition to that you do not need to worry about pests such as mealybugs, aphids etc.

Special Care tip

They are easy to care for plants and they could thrive well given that you fulfil their basic necessities.

But you should be extremely careful when handling them. They have lots of spines and always use gloves when handling the plant.

King Cup Cactus

How to propagate King Cup Cactus 

You could use their  seeds or offsets to propagate the king cup cactus. However refrain in propagating them by using the seeds as they are slow growing and cannot rely on the results. Hence, it is best to use their offsets to propagate them. 

You simply have to pluck the healthy-looking offsets whilst using clean kitchen tongues. Leave the offsets in a warm and dry place so that they can develop calluses.

When they are callused, go ahead and plant them  in a well-draining soil mix and water them. Expose the specimen in a warm place where they will not gain direct sunlight.

King Cup Cactus plant benefits

  • They would be great picks for indoor gardening as well as for  outdoor gardening. 
  • Further they would be handy for landscaping as well.
  • They produce beautiful flowers and that can make your garden more attractive
  • You can use this plant as a gift item


To sum up, King cup cactus are a hardy versatile set of plants, which could be grown by even a beginner in gardening. One more value addition of having the King cup cactus is their flower blossoming.

However, avoid exposing the young King cup cactus to intense sunlight as it could be harmful to them.

If you fail to provide them adequate sunlight and heat, they would not flourish as the other plants which get adequate sunlight levels.

Avoid exposing the plant to excessive moisture levels and consider feeding them once a month. Water them properly without providing them with an abundance of water. 

Try propagating them by offsets. Trust  these facts already made you excited to have one of them. So hurry up, start growing the beautiful King cup cactus and get that amazing experience.

Credit to : Cold Hardy Cactus Time Lapse
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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.