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Parodia magnifica (Balloon Cactus)


Scientific Name

Parodia magnifica (F.Ritter) F.H.Brandt

Common Names

Balloon Cactus, Ball Cactus, Green Ball Cactus, Blue Ball Cactus


Eriocactus magnificus (basionym), Notocactus magnificus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Notocacteae
Genus: Parodia


Parodia magnifica, formerly known as Notocactus magnificus or Eriocactus magnificus, is a cactus with a green, globose to cylindrical, usually solitary stem. It has 11 to 15 sharp ribs lined with golden, bristly spines. As it grows, it takes on a bluer, more glaucous tone and can sometimes offset and form a cluster. The stem can reach up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Flowers are shiny yellow, up to 2.2 inches long, about the same in diameter, and appear in summer.

Parodia magnifica (Balloon Cactus) aka Notocactus magnificus or Eriocactus magnificus

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

If you can grow cacti and succulents successfully, you can likely grow the popular Parodia without too much trouble. However, it is key to remember that Parodias do not like direct sunlight and are accustomed to more even water than many other cacti species. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. To encourage better flowering, allow the plants to enjoy a cooling period in the winter and dramatically cut back watering. Unlike other cacti species, however, you don't need to stop watering entirely. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot Parodia, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Parodia.


Parodia magnifica is native to southern Brazil.


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