Echinocereus triglochidiatus (Claret Cup Cactus)

Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Last updated on August 12th, 2022 at 08:04 pm

Echinocereus triglochidiatus, also known as claret cup cactus, king cup cactus, mojave mound cactus, or just claret cups, may be an unusual-looking cactus, but it can be an easy one to grow if you provide the right conditions.

The claret cup cactus plants are slow-growing, so they don’t require much in the way of fertilization or pruning, but their stems can grow up to 3 feet tall and their flowers range from red to yellow to purple, depending on the cultivar.

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is one of the more common echinocereus species that you’ll find in the wild (at least in the United States). This columnar cactus is native to Arizona and Texas, and can be found from elevations of 1,500 feet up to 6,000 feet in dry regions with clay soils.

Origin and distribution

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is also known as the Mojave Mound cactus or King Cup cactus.

This cactus typically grows in open, sandy, or gravelly areas at elevations of 1,000-5,000 feet. The Claret Cup cactus blooms from April to June, with flowers that are typically red but can also be pink, orange, or yellow. Pollination takes place during the night.

Mojave Mound cacti grow well in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It prefers a loose soil mixture consisting of sand and gravel with plenty of organic material for good drainage.

They do not require any winter protection in southern California where they live. Mojave Mound cacti are fairly cold tolerant when planted in USDA zones 9b and 10a. They may suffer some damage during an extreme cold snap but should recover once temperatures return to normal.

Echinocereus triglochidiatus propagation

Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Echinocereus triglochidiatus can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. It is possible to take cuttings from an established plant, but this method will not produce new plants that are true to the parent.

The best way to propagate claret cup cacti is through seed propagation. Once they have been successfully grown, they can then be used for hybridization.

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Mojave mound cactus, or king cup cactus, are easy to grow from seed and make excellent parents for hybrids because of their large flowers and showy fruits. They also have a very distinctive shape that makes them recognizable in the landscape.

If you use cuttings, it is important to choose plants that have already started to form roots. Cut the stem off at its base just below where it attaches to the soil and dip the top end into rooting hormone before sticking it into moist potting soil.

Echinocereus triglochidiatus care information

Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is a beautiful, easy-to-grow plant that’s perfect for beginning cactus growers. These plants are native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and they thrive in hot, dry climates.

Claret cup cacti are relatively small, reaching only about 12 inches tall at maturity. They produce showy red flowers in late spring or early summer. When grown outdoors, claret cup cacti need full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Light requirement

Echinocereus triglochidiatus requires full sun to partial shade. It does best in bright light with some direct sun exposure. However, it can tolerate lower light levels for short periods of time. If the light is too low, the plant will become etiolated and stretch out.

You may also notice browning around the edges of the stem or body. The easiest way to prevent this is by moving it into a brighter area or getting an artificial light.

Soil/potting mix

A well-draining soil is essential for Echinocereus triglochidiatus, as they are susceptible to root rot. A potting mix of two parts sand to one part loam or coarse bark will provide adequate drainage.

If you live in an area with high humidity, you may want to add a bit more sand to the mix. They also need good airflow and exposure to bright light; however, direct sunlight can scorch them.


The claret cup cactus is a summer-flowering cactus that grows in the arid southwestern United States. It is one of the more drought-tolerant cacti, and can withstand long periods without water.

When watering, allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Water deeply, but infrequently, to avoid root rot.

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Echinocereus triglochidiatus does not require much fertilizer, but if you want to give it a little boost, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer. Too much nitrogen will cause your cactus to grow too quickly and it can lead to fungus or rot.

If your claret cup cactus is new, make sure that you provide the right amount of light for its location before fertilizing because fertilizers can be hard on plants that are not used to them yet.


Echinocereus triglochidiatus is a warm-weather plant that prefers temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but it will not thrive in cooler weather.

In the winter, the claret cup cactus should be kept in a cool, dry place with plenty of airflows to prevent rot. When the temperature gets too hot, the plant will start to wilt and the leaves will drop off.


High humidity is essential for the Echinocereus triglochidiatus. If the air is too dry, the plant will suffer. The best way to increase humidity around your claret cup cactus is to use a humidifier. You can also mist the plant with water every few days. Make sure the pot has good drainage so that the roots don’t rot.

The ideal humidity range is from 60-80%. It’s important to note that this is not a cold-hardy plant and should be grown indoors in most parts of the country.


Echinocereus triglochidiatus are generally low-maintenance and only need to be pruned if they are getting too big for their pot or if they are outgrowing their space. If you do need to prune your claret cup cactus, the best time to do so is in the spring.

Simply cut off any dead or dying branches with a sharp knife. You can also remove any offsets (smaller clones of the plant that grow around the base) that you don’t want. Finally, it’s recommended to cut back each branch by one-third and let them callous over before watering again.

After they’ve calloused over, it’s safe to water again but be careful not to overwater! The roots will rot if the soil stays wet for too long so make sure to check on your claret cup cactus daily during periods of high rainfall or watering.

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Finally, avoid using chemicals like weed killer on this plant as it could damage its root system.

When to repot

The best time to repot your Echinocereus triglochidiatus is in the spring, after the last frost. The plant will be actively growing at this time, so it will be able to recover quickly from the stress of being transplanted.

Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one, as this cactus does not like a lot of root space. Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix, as this plant is susceptible to root rot. It should be watered every 1-2 weeks and fertilized every other month during its active growth period.

To propagate claret cup cactus, cut off offsets with healthy roots about 5 inches long and transfer them to pots with moistened soil. Keep them out of direct sunlight until they are established, then move them into brighter light or outdoors during the summer months.

This hardy succulent can tolerate most household conditions and doesn’t need a lot of water or care.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is a cactus that is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is a relatively small cactus, usually only growing to be about 12 inches tall.

The claret cup cactus gets its name from its beautiful red flowers that bloom in the springtime. The stem of this cactus grows up to two feet long with many branches that can reach three feet long.

When mature, it will have between six and eight stems coming out of the base of the plant. These stems are typically green when young but turn brown with age.

The flower’s color will depend on what minerals are available in the soil because they contain water-soluble pigments called anthocyanins which range from reds to blues depending on how much iron or other metals are present in the soil.

Flowers & fragrance

Echinocereus triglochidiatus

The flowers of the Echinocereus triglochidiatus are a beautiful deep red color. They are often described as being fragrant, although this may vary depending on the individual plant. The blooms appear in late spring or early summer and last for about two weeks. Each flower measures approximately 2-3 inches in diameter.

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Growth rate

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is a slow-growing cactus that can reach up to 12 inches in height. It typically takes about 5 years for this cactus to reach its full potential. When grown in optimal conditions, the claret cup cactus will produce beautiful red flowers.


All parts of the claret cup cactus are poisonous if ingested. The plant contains toxic alkaloids that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Ingestion of the plant can also lead to death.

The sap of Echinocereus triglochidiatus is especially dangerous and can cause blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes. If you suspect that someone has ingested part of this plant, call poison control immediately.

USDA hardiness zones

Echinocereus triglochidiatus thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 8 and 9. The claret cup cactus does not grow larger than six inches tall, making it an excellent option for someone who has a limited amount of space to plant a cactus.

Pests and diseases

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is susceptible to root rot, which can be caused by overwatering or poorly draining soil. Aphids, mealybugs, and scale can also infest this plant.

Prevent problems by growing the cactus in well-draining soil and keeping it on the dry side.

Watch for pests and diseases and take action immediately if you see any signs of trouble. Mealybugs are easily removed with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

The scale will eventually cover a plant’s stem and leaves, making them look like they are covered with red or brown dust. Spraying with horticultural oil will control most scale problems; however, there are some varieties that can’t tolerate oils and may need to be removed from the garden.

Always check before spraying a cactus variety that might not tolerate oils!