Parodia magnifica, also called the Ball Cactus, is a species of cacti found in the temperate regions of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. These are one of the multiple species in the Cactaceae family called by this name. They grow well indoors and outdoors and can thrive with the proper care regardless of where they are.
This cactus has a globular stem with symmetrical ribs running along the sides. The white areoles on the ribs yellow with age, and protruding spines’ clumps result in a bushy appearance. Growth is slow, and it takes quite a bit of time for the stems to reach their ultimate height. While they start off being globose, the older the plant gets, the more cylindrical the stems become. Parodia magnifica produces brilliant yellow flowers from late fall all the way through summer. These flowers can grow quite large, almost as tall as the stem itself.
Parodia magnifica Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Ball Cactus, Balloon Cactus, Silver Ball Cactus, Rounded Ball Cactus|
|Botanical Name||Parodia magnifica|
|Synonyms||Eriocactus magnificus, Notocactus magnificus|
|Native Range||Southern Brazil|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9 to 12|
|Mature Size||Height: 3 to 9 inches, Spread: 3 to 18 inches|
|Propagation methods||by seeds, by offsets|
|Sun||Full sun to Partial shade|
Parodia Magnifica Care
It is a popular choice for indoor gardening, as it is relatively easy to care for and, like many others in the cactus family, thrives on neglect. In this guide, we will provide you with tips on how to care for your cactus so that you can enjoy its beauty for many years to come.
Light and Location
This cactus does well in both full sun and partial shade but will bloom more profusely in brighter locations. If your plant is used to being in the shade, move it to a sunnier spot gradually; sudden changes in the environment stress the plant. Place the cactus in a window that gets plenty of sun, and you’ll be fine.
Watering and Fertilizing
The Ball Cactus can tolerate quite a bit of neglect. If you forget to water it during the summer months, it will survive just fine, even though that’s when it wants the most water. But if you’re looking for the best care possible, water your plant moderately in the summer months. Just ensure that your potting medium has excellent drainage, as standing water is a death sentence for this cactus. In winter, reduce watering cadence significantly and only water when the soil becomes completely dry.
This cactus can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but prefer warmer climates. Ideally, they should be kept in a temperature range of 55-85°F (12-29°C). Protect from frost if you are keeping them outside in cold climates. To encourage blooms, allow the cactus to experience temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit before the flowering season.
This cactus does well in dry climates and doesn’t require high humidity. In fact, too much humidity will only cause problems. Average room conditions are usually fine.
Fertilize your Ball Cactus during the growing season – spring and summer – with a balanced liquid fertilizer. This will help encourage blooms. Suspend feeding during winter.
Propagating Parodia magnifica
Propagating Parodia magnifica is easy and is usually done through offsets. With age, the mother plant will produce multiple offsets around the base. These occur naturally, and there are no special conditions that need to be met for the plant to produce them. This also has the side effect of making propagation easy.
Simply divide offsets from the main plant and replant them in a fresh potting medium. Note that you need to allow the cut end of the offset to heal for a few days before planting, or there is a high chance of root rot occurring.
Seeds can also be used, but they can be difficult to germinate. Sow in a good quality seed starting mix and keep moist until germination occurs.
Potting and Repotting Parodia magnifica
Choosing the right potting mix is crucial. The Ball cactus likes an airy well-drained potting medium. Non-organic ingredients that don’t retain water are a must. Some sand or perlite can help improve drainage drastically. You can also go for premade cactus mix, which is basically the same thing.
The Ball Cactus grows slowly and doesn’t need to be re-potted often. Wait until the plant has outgrown its current pot, usually after a few years, before re-potting into a container that is only slightly larger in diameter. Ensure that the new pot has plenty of drainage holes before filling it with the right potting mix. Remove the cactus from its original container and clean the roots of loose soil. Place it gently in the new pot and tamp down on the soil to secure the plant. The cactus will establish itself in a few weeks.
The Ball Cactus is non-toxic to both people and pets.
The Ball Cactus is hardy and isn’t susceptible to many pests or diseases. However, mealybugs and aphids are sometimes a problem. Mealybugs can appear year-round, but aphids only show themselves around the flowering season. If your plant is infested with either of these, gently remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Immediate action is key here, as the more time you allow to pass, the harder it becomes to get rid of them.
This is the most common problem that affects the Ball Cactus. It’s caused by overwatering and can be identified by soft, mushy roots. Catch it early, and you can save the cactus by removing it from the pot, cutting away the rotted roots, and allowing the cut end to dry out for a few days before replanting.
If your cactus isn’t growing, it might be due to a lack of sunlight, improper watering, or incorrect fertilizer. First, move the cactus to a sunnier spot and make sure you’re watering correctly (see the section on watering). Also, check the fertilizer to ensure that you are using the correct type and dosage.
What Kind Of Soil Do Parodia Cactus Need?
Parodia cactus need well-drained soil with plenty of air flow. A good quality potting mix that doesn’t retain water is perfect. Cactus mixes are an easy solution if you’re having trouble mixing your own potting medium.
How To Propagate Ball Cactus?
When the mother plant gets older, it will produce multiple offsets (small plants) around the base. Remove a healthy offset or “pup” from the mother plant and allow the wound to heal for a few days. Once you’re certain it has dried, place the offset in a new pot with fresh potting soil and wait for it to take root.
How Often To Water Parodia magnifica?
Watering frequency will depend on the climate, potting mix, and pot size. Water moderately but ensures good drainage from spring to summer and halfway into fall. The closer it gets to winter, the less water the plant needs. So, keep it barely moist in winter.
What Can I Do To Make A “Ball Cactus” Bloom?
The Ball Cactus will flower sporadically throughout the year, with the main bloom period occurring in late winter to early spring. To increase your chances of seeing flowers, reduce the temperature around the cactus to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit before blooming season. And fertilize monthly with a balanced cactus fertilizer.