Parodia species (Notocactus)

Formerly know as Notocactus and now named Parodia this is a group of succulents with around 50 species identified. This is a varied group from South America characterised by a rounded shape and rows of spines radiating from top to bottom. These plants grow naturally a around 300m to 1000 m above sea level so they are used to cold, but dry winters.

Although commonly called Ball Cactus, this name is not really appropriate to all species, Parodiaen leninghausii for example starts of with a rounded shape and as it ages forms a more columnar shape. Yellow flowers and you can grow this one indoors on a windowsill.

Parodia haselbergii with its red flowers is more rounded in shape and is covered with spines.

Notocactus parodia militaris (syn. Parodia ottonis) is one of the smaller growing species however it also flowers at an early age.

How to Grow Parodia

Parodia leninghausii (Notocactus)

Generally regarded as easy to grow as they will handle cooler temperatures. With good drainage and adequate sun they can be grown outdoors in warmer zones or overwintered indoors in colder climates.

  • Water Parodia cactus regularly throughout the growing season, always allowing the soil to dry between waterings.
  • Cut back on watering during the colder months, cold and wet will cause problems.
  • Always use a free draining potting mix or soil. Add extra drainage material such as pumice, scoria or other crushed rock.
  • A little slow release fertilizer when repotting is usually adequate, these are not hungry plants.
  • Propagate by removing offsets or ‘pups’ in spring or from seed.

Summary Information

Botanical Name: Parodia (Syn. Notocactus )
Common Name : Ball Cactus
Origins : South America
USDA Zones – 10
Soil: Free draining
Position : Full sun
Growth Rate : Slow
Flowering Time : Spring and summer
Flower Colours : Yellow to orange and red.
Frost Tolerant : No
Temperature : Will tolerate temperatures down to 30f for very short periods Best between 68f – 86f (20 – 35C)
Watering : Dry out before watering
Propagation: Easiest from offsets and seeds.