Echinocereus knippelianus var. kruegeri

Submitted by Weiser on Tue, 05/03/2011 - 08:04

This squat dark green, nearly spineless cactus is found growing at over 6,600' (2000 m )in elevation. It's native habitat is the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains of Mexico. It is found growing in semi-shady sights, at the base rocks and pines. The root is thick and tuberous. In the heat of summer this root can pull the plant down into the soil as protection.

I have grown it for five years now with no winter damage. It is always the first Echioncereus cactus to bloom for me.


Submitted by Peter George on Thu, 05/05/2011 - 11:36

For us to grow it successfully here in New England, it not only has to take our temperatures, but it has to take the moisture, particularly at the 'wrong' times of the year. Does anyone have any experience growing it successfully outdoors in a relatively wet climate like New England?

Submitted by penstemon on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 13:09

Pediocactus winkleri, grown from Mesa Garden seed in 1992.
Then some form of Cylindropuntia ramosissima. I don't really ask what's special about the form, I simply acquire without a second thought.
Then, an obviously fatal test of the hardiness of Maihueniopsis glomerata, in a tray filled with gymnocalyciums. It didn't lose moisture like it should have, and froze, and that was that.
And Maihueniopsis darwinii, in a tray with more gymnocalyciums. (Like G. bruchii, calochlorum, etc.)
Finally, a totally cool, who-cares-if-it-ever-flowers hybrid of Echinocereus coccineus and E. moricallii. Also in a tray. I picked up four of these hybrids and this is the only one that survived.


Submitted by Weiser on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:08

The Pediocactus winkleri is indeed a gem. I hope it sets seed for you.

The Clyn. ramosissima is the spineless form. I guess that makes it some what special. They are one of the slower growing Cylindropuntias around. I grow both the spineless and spined forms but neither is very large yet.

Gymnocalyciums are way cool too, I have tried a couple and lost them. This year I am trying Gymnocalycium chubutense.

Maihueniopsis darwinii is hardy for me also. I planted a start of Maihueniopsis glomerata var. platyacantha last spring, it seems to be ready for winter it has dehydrated and shrunk by about half.

The Hybrid Echionocereus looks really cool. It took me a while to track down the E. moricalii parent. I found it listed as Echinocereus viereckii subsp. morricalii. If it blooms any thing like E. moricalii It will be a stunner. The spines on your plant are great all by themselves.

Submitted by penstemon on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:41

Winkleri has set seed, and I just ignore it. Typical for me.
I picked the Maihueniopsis at random from Mesa Garden's list; I figured glomerata should be hardy but maybe this was a less hardy form. (or, I didn't pick one of the hardy forms.) It didn't even bother to begin to lose moisture; it just froze solid. It was rock hard after the first freeze, not even the slightest bit of yielding to pressure when I prodded it with my fingers. (I still do that though I know it's stupid.)
I was afraid it would explode.
M. darwinii has been here in the ground for a while, but this is the first time in a tray. The trays have to perch on the ledge of the flagstone patio because if they sit on the patio itself they're in the shade and can be covered with snow for a month, and that's fatal. I lost some Echinocereus coccineus that I knew for sure were hardy, that way. Mush by January.

Submitted by penstemon on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 16:56

Also, here's a shot of the Opuntia basilaris I mentioned a while ago. Not sure if it's completely in focus, but I don't feel like getting very close to it. It's shriveling, which is a good sign. I guess. I'm kind of scared of it.
And a mystery cactus. It was labeled "Tephrocactus sp.", but I've never been able to match it to any description of anything. It's completely filled this pan over the last 20 years or so, and has rarely flowered (maybe never).


Submitted by Weiser on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 17:21

You have every right to be fearful of the basilaris.  :'( Not fun when they shed their on you and I can attest to it!! :o

Interesting that you can grow a Tephrocactus. I have tried a couple and turned them into mush, with no effort on my part.

Submitted by Martin Tversted on Sat, 11/26/2011 - 01:08

Bob I dont think your dead glomerata was a glomerata. Maybe a cumulopuntia. Any pictures in the alive state? That would also explain the lack of hardiness. I have around 50 clones of Maihueniopsis that seem at least cold hardy here when dry.
The Tephrocactus mentioned later is not such one. Looks more like an Opuntia. Any pictures in flower?

Submitted by penstemon on Sat, 11/26/2011 - 09:05


The Tephrocactus mentioned later is not such one. Looks more like an Opuntia. Any pictures in flower? 

I agree; it doesn't match the descriptions of any tephrocactus anywhere I've looked. No flowers. It creeps on the ground. The joints do not detach readily as in Opuntia fragilis, and the pads only grow upright where there is no room to grow flat on the ground.
I spend a lot of time trying to key it out and then give up.
The Maihueniopsis glomerata came from Mesa Garden, 551.9298. This plant is frost-tender, obviously.

I don't know very much about South American cacti, except what I've read.


Submitted by Manfroni on Sat, 03/03/2012 - 05:53

I found a pink form of Echinocereus knippelianus on eBay and I could not resist from buying it! On Dave's Garden it says they are hard to 25F. I guess I will cover it in a cloche next winter if it gets colder than that!

Submitted by cohan on Sun, 11/11/2012 - 15:04

Interesting to see how hardy some of these are- many of these are plants I know, but which (apart from obvious places like Arizona, California and Florida) I have only known as house/greenhouse plants (by far the bigger part of my cactus knowledge, both personal and from various groups)..