Parodia ottonis (Lehm.) N.P. Taylor
Indian Head Cactus
Parodia ottonis subsp. ottonis, Malacocarpus ottonis, Notocactus ottonis
Parodia ottonis is an attractive dwarf cactus that forms a clump of spherical stems with a flattened top. The stems are deep green to bluish-green and can get deep purplish to maroon during the winter dormancy. They are up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. The spines are slender, hair-like, curved or twisted, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long. Flowers are up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, yellow with usually red or purplish stigma lobes.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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 don't 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.
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