Cacti

Echinopsis Backebergii Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Carmine Cob”

Guide to Echinopsis Backebergii - everything you will ever need to know! Tips for growing and caring for “Carmine Cob” Cactus
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Secretly, all gardeners want to fill their garden, be it indoor or outdoor, with as many flowering plants as possible. If you are no longer in the denial phase and are ready to admit that you’re head over heels for succulents and cacti, we’d like you to meet this superb cactus! Not only does it come with nice-looking flowers, but it will thrive pretty much anywhere as long as it gets lots of love and proper care!

Echinopsis Backebergii, also known as Carmine Cob, is a pretty and bloaty species of flowering cacti in the Cactaceae family. This lovely cactus can be found growing on the higher altitudes of southern Peru and eastern Bolivia.

Carmine Cob cacti have become very popular ornamental houseplants due to their spiny stems and mesmerizing colorful flowers. Many gardeners grow them indoors in cute pots, but others prefer to cultivate them outside in rock or desert gardens. These cacti are an excellent filler in landscape decorations along with yuccas, agaves, or other low-growing plants.

About Carmine Cob Cactus

  • They come along with an interesting subspecies commonly known as E. Backebergii subsp. Wrightiana. This beauty has gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit thanks to its hypnotic flowers.
  • Echinopsis Backebergii cacti can be paired with other species of cacti and succulents that have similar environmental and growing requirements.
  • In their natural habitat, these adorable specimens grow in dry climate conditions and scarce rainfalls. During the dry periods, their bodies tend to hide in the ground.
  • Their flower structure is similar to those of the Lobivias and there is still a chance to find these cacti in markets or nurseries under the Lobivia Backebergii name.
  • The genus name Echinopsis derives from the words “echinos” and “opsis”. It is Greek for “spiny appearance” and refers to their obvious and common cacti feature.
  • Like most cacti species, Echinopsis Backebergii responds well to bright and warm locations. In winter, keep your cactus indoors to protect it from extreme temperatures.
  • They are dormant from late fall to early spring. During this period, Echinopsis Backebergii cacti do not need their owner’s attention at all.
  • Sometimes, they can be bothered by spider mites, scale insects, and mealybugs. If you notice any sign of infestation, treat the unhealthy parts with neem oil or suitable pesticides and insecticides.
  • Echinopsis Backebergii can be safely grown around curious pets and children as long as they cannot reach their sharp spines.
Echinopsis Backebergii
Echinopsis Backebergii

Carmine Cob Cactus Features: An Overview

  • Echinopsis Backebergii cacti grow at high altitudes of 10499 to 13124 feet (3200-4000 m) above sea level.
  • They belong to the well-known Echinopsis genus that contains about 128 species of flowering cacti. Echinopsis species range from small globose to large tree-like cacti.
  • Echinopsis Backebergii is a dwarf cactus that can reach up to 2 inches (5 cm) in height and diameter. It usually presents one or several globular stems that become cylindrical with age.
  • The single or clustered stems grow between 1.6 and 2 inches (4-5 cm) thick. They are composed of about 13-19 ribs and are almost fully covered by grey to brown spines.
  • These cacti produce both central and radial spines that appear from oval and white areoles. Their spines are not always differentiated as radials and central.
  • While the central spines may be missing, the radial ones are thin, slightly curved, and come in various colors including brown, reddish, amber, or yellow.
  • During their blooming period, in summer, Carmine Cob cacti exhibit gorgeous and showy flowers. They are quite large in size and tinged in several shades of red or pink, mostly carmine-red.
  • Their bloomings are followed by spotless fruits that contain several seeds. When the fruits are over-ripen, the seeds can be collected and used in propagation.

Growing Carmine Cob Cacti

Keep your hopes high, as cacti are one of the easiest houseplants to grow and care for! In general, Echinopsis Backebergii plants have no high demands from their owners. They come with few particular requirements including more moisture than regular desert species to grow happy and bloom. Moreover, lots of sunshine, fresh summer air, and love will help your cacti to show better results and more flowers.

Whether you grow Echinopsis Backebergii cacti indoors or outdoors, they prefer full sunlight exposure. While younger, these cacti will have a great time in light shade until they reach maturity. If you live in a region with dry and hot summers, it is better to plant your cacti in a location where they can receive some shade in the afternoon. Indoors, keep your Echinopsis Backebergii in the brightest spot you can find, such as near south, west, or east-facing windows.

Echinopsis Backebergii
Echinopsis Backebergii

The ideal temperatures for Echinopsis Backebergii plants to thrive range from 50 to 86 °F (10-30 °C). In temperate regions, they are best grown under glass with heat until older. However, these cacti are quite tolerant of freezing temperatures that drop to 14 °F (-10 °C), but not for a long time. If you grow your cacti outdoors and temperatures tend to get cooler, you must bring them inside to protect from extreme conditions.

Planting Carmine Cob Cacti

Echinopsis Backebergii cacti do well in pots with drainage holes at the bottom. A loose soil that has good drainage is a great medium to plant your cacti in. You can look for a commercial potting mix designed for cacti and succulents or prepare your own substrate from equal parts of coarse sand, perlite, and peat.

These cacti are very chill and can survive without any kind of fertilizer. If you want to give your Echinopsis Backebergii a little boost, you can do it without problems during their active growing season. Feed your plant occasionally, but not too often, with a liquid fertilizer that is high in potassium from spring to fall.

Like all species that grow at a pretty slow pace, Echinopsis Backebergii does not need repotting too often. If you want to give your cactus a fresh growing medium, you can repot it once a year in the same container refilled with a potting mix. When it starts to outgrow its pot, transplant your baby in a slightly larger one and refrain from watering for one week or so.

Watering Carmine Cob Cacti

Most cacti species need extra attention only when they are freshly transplanted in another growing medium and during their active growing period. And Echinopsis Backebergii cacti do not come with any different demands, so watering these beauties will be a piece of cake.

These cacti will benefit from regular watering from early spring to autumn, especially when the weather is mostly sunny. During their growing season, they will be just fine if you water them once every week. If you live in a region with hot climates and harsh sunlight, you must water your Echinopsis Backebergii more often than usual. When the temperatures start dropping, usually in October, it is recommended you decrease the frequency of watering or even skip it for good until spring.

Blooming orange flower of Lobivia cactus
Blooming orange flower of Lobivia cactus

Keep in mind that it is always better to under-water Echinopsis Backebergii, as they have succulent stems that retain large amounts of water. To avoid over-watering your cacti, make sure you always check the soil in-between waterings and give them a nice soaking once the soil has dried out completely.

Propagating Carmine Cob Cacti

All cacti are cute and easy to care for and it would be a shame not to share them with your friends and family! If Echinopsis Backebergii cacti have already stolen your heart, why not get more of these spectacular species? Well, we come with good news! They are very easy to propagate through seeds or offsets, no matter how experienced you are in the garden!

Although Echinopsis Backebergii cacti can be propagated by seeds, this process may show results in a longer time. They are slow-growers and you must have patience when propagating them using this method. The seeds can be collected from the ripen fruits and used fresh in sowing.

Fill a pot or bed with fresh cactus mix and place the seeds just above the substrate. Place the container in a warm environment and cover it with plastic wrap until seedlings are showing up. Once you notice some growth, remove the plastic wrap, water the seedlings, and move them to a brighter location.

If you want to see immediate results while propagating Carmine Cob cacti, it is suggested to use offsets or stem cuttings. Look for healthy offsets and remove them from the mother plant with bare hands or using a sharp and sterilized knife. Allow the cuttings to callous over in a warm and shaded location for one or two weeks. When the offsets have hardened enough, transplant them in fresh potting mix and begin the watering after one week. Your babies should develop a healthy and strong root system in a month or so.

In Conclusion

Now that you know more about watering, propagating, and growing Carmine Cob cacti, you should be more than convinced to add at least one Echinopsis Backebergii to your collection! And why wouldn’t you? These cacti are very easy to grow and care for, making them an excellent choice for any type of gardener, especially beginners. They come packed with plenty of gorgeous bright flowers that can fill not only any dull spot from your home but also your heart in just a second.

Are you already growing Echinopsis Backebergii? Share your experience with us in the comments!

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Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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