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Parodia scopa (Silver Ball Cactus)

Silver Ball Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Cactus scopa, Cereus scopa, Echinocactus scopa, Echinopsis scopa, Malacocarpus scopa, Notocactus scopa, Peronocactus scopa

AGM Award
Silver Ball Cactus, Parodia scopa, Cactus scopa, Cereus scopa, Echinocactus scopa, Echinopsis scopa, Malacocarpus scopa, Notocactus scopa, Peronocactus scopa
Silver Ball Cactus, Parodia scopa, Cactus scopa, Cereus scopa, Echinocactus scopa, Echinopsis scopa, Malacocarpus scopa, Notocactus scopa, Peronocactus scopa

Parodia scopa, commonly known as the Silver Ball Cactus or Snowball Cactus, is a delightful and easy-to-care-for cactus, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts in cactus cultivation. Its striking appearance, coupled with its low maintenance needs, makes it a popular addition to various garden styles and indoor collections.

Parodia scopa: An In-depth Look

Parodia scopa is an intriguing and ornamental plant. It is a small, globular to cylindrical cactus, notable for its dense covering of white or silvery spines that give it a shimmering appearance. It’s popular in cacti collections for its symmetrical form and decorative spines.

Native: Native to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay, it thrives in rocky grasslands and on hillsides, adapted to a subtropical climate.

Plant Type and Habit: This cactus is a slow-growing, solitary plant, typically forming a single spherical or columnar stem. It does not branch but may cluster with age.

Size: Parodia scopa typically reaches about 6-18 inches in height (15-45 cm) and 3-4 inches in diameter (7-10 cm), growing slowly over the years.

Flowers: It produces attractive, bright yellow flowers at the crown of the plant. The flowers are funnel-shaped and contrast beautifully with the spiny body. The flowering season is usually in early to mid-summer. After flowering, it produces small, elongated fruits that are initially green, turning red when ripe.

Stem: Parodia scopa features a stem almost concealed by soft, brush-like bristles. The stem, dark green and initially globular, become columnar with age, reaching up to 18 inches (45 cm). It has 25-30 low, obtuse ribs with spiraling, woolly areoles. Central spines, 4-12 in number, are needle-like and vary in color, while the radial spines are shorter, fine, and glassy white or yellowish, spreading around.

Uses: Mostly grown as an ornamental plant, it’s popular in rock gardens, desert landscaping, and as a houseplant in containers.

Award: Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hardiness: It’s hardy in USDA zones 9-11. This cactus requires protection from frost and extreme cold.

Toxicity: Parodia scopa is not known to be toxic, but its spines can be sharp and should be handled with care.

Deer and Rabbit: It is resistant to deer and rabbits due to its spiny nature.

Drought: Highly drought-tolerant, it requires minimal water, making it ideal for xeriscaping.

Invasiveness: Not considered invasive; it’s a slow-growing, contained plant suitable for pot culture or controlled garden conditions.

Benefits: It’s a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plant, adding aesthetic value with its unique appearance and bright flowers.

Parodia Growing Tips

Light: Thrives in full sun to partial shade. Bright light enhances spine color and flowering but avoid intense midday sun.

Soil: Requires well-draining, sandy or cactus potting mix. Good aeration is crucial to avoid root rot.

Water: Water moderately during the growing season, allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Reduce watering in winter to minimal, as the cactus enters dormancy.

Fertilizer: Fertilize with a diluted cactus fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid fertilizing in winter.

Pruning: Generally requires no pruning. Remove dead or damaged spines or sections to maintain appearance.

Propagation: Propagate by seeds or offsets. Allow seedlings or offsets to establish in well-draining soil.

Pests and Diseases: Watch for pests like mealybugs, aphids, or spider mites. Susceptible to fungal diseases in overly moist conditions.

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Plant Type Houseplants, Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Cactaceae
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6" - 2'
(15cm - 60cm)
Spread 3" - 4"
(8cm - 10cm)
Spacing 3" - 4"
(8cm - 10cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Plant of Merit
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Plant Type Houseplants, Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Cactaceae
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6" - 2'
(15cm - 60cm)
Spread 3" - 4"
(8cm - 10cm)
Spacing 3" - 4"
(8cm - 10cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Plant of Merit
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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