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Parodia scopa (Silver Ball Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Parodia scopa (Spreng.) N.P. Taylor

Common Names

Silver Ball Cactus, Snowball Cactus

Synonyms

Parodia scopa subsp. scopa, Notocactus scopa, Malacocarpus scopa, Cactus scopa, Cereus scopa, Echinocactus scopa, Echinopsis scopa, Peronocactus scopa

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Parodia scopa is a cactus with ball-shaped or cylindrical stems with a spiny, woolly crown and pale yellow flowers that appear in summer. The stems grow up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. The specific epithet "scopa" means "broom" and refers to the long spines.

Parodia scopa - Silver Ball Cactus

Photo via cactuseros.com

Hardiness

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.

Origin

Native to upland southern Brazil and Uruguay.

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