Martha Stewart Barrel Cactus

Yes, I don’t understand it any more than you do, but Martha Stewart is selling a barrel cactus.


This unique, barrel-shaped cactus is said to grow towards the south, leading to its “compass cactus” nickname. A wonderful selection for the cactus aficionado or for the cacti novice.

Stately Barrel Cactus is traditionally fast-growing and can eventually yield small, pineapple-shaped yellow flowers around the crown.

Well, that’s a whole lot of oddity. It’s a golden barrel, not a compass barrel, so it won’t “grow towards the south.” It’s nickname is “mother-in-law’s seat” which is even more entertaining than the made-up “compass cactus”. It’s not fast growing, and it won’t yield pineapple shaped yellow flowers. It will be at least 20 years before it flowers at all, and then they will be small yellow flowers like this.

If you have more than one of these 20 years from now and they are both in bloom at the same time, and they were cross-pollinated, then you may get pineapple-shaped fruits, like a pineapple is a pineapple-shaped fruit too.

How do I know all this? I bought one of these from Martha 15 years ago already and I still haven’t had a single pineapple-shaped flower on my compass cactus that doesn’t face south! I’m so mad I could steam an asparagus.

But I don’t hold it against dear Martha. Oh no, I hold it against those minions of hers who have always been plotting against her, trying to ruin her, trying to bring down her empire. But they won’t succeed! Not on my watch.

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September 2023

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