Parodia haselbergii, commonly known as Scarlet Ball Cactus, is a cactus species native to Brazil, specifically in the Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina regions. Recently it was found that this species is threatened by overgrazing; cattle have been destroying its natural habitat. However, since this cactus is widespread, the threat level of extinction is low, and it isn’t mentioned in the IUCN Red List.
The Scarlet Ball Cactus is a small, spherical cactus that can reach up to 15 cm in diameter. It is covered in short, silvery-white spines that densely cover the entirety of the body. The plant is characterized by its bright red flowers, which sprout from the apex of the stem. They are the reason why these cacti are popular in cultivation. The flowers last for a long time when they bloom, adding more interest to the cactus and encouraging gardeners to strive for the perfect blooming season.
- Scarlet Ball Cactus Main Characteristics
- Scarlet Ball Cactus Care
- Propagating Parodia haselbergii
- Potting and Repotting Scarlet Ball Cactus
- Common Pests and Diseases
- How to take care of a Scarlet Ball cactus (Parodia Haselbergii)- Useful Tips (Video)
Scarlet Ball Cactus Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Scarlet Ball Cactus|
|Botanical Name||Parodia haselbergii|
|Synonyms||Notocactus haselbergii, Brasilicactus haselbergii|
|Mature Size||Height: 10 cm; Spread: 15 cm|
|Bloom Time||Late Winter, Early Spring|
|Propagation methods||by seeds, by division|
|Sun||Full sun to Part shade|
Scarlet Ball Cactus Care
The Scarlet Ball Cactus is a popular plant in indoor cultivation and is often grown as an ornamental plant. Potted plants are noted to be easy to maintain and care for. New plants develop quickly and reach their ultimate height relatively fast. Not much expertise is required to get these cacti to bloom. Beginners can try their hand at this cactus without worry.
Light and Location
The Scarlet Ball Cactus prefers full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. It is vital to ensure that the plant gets enough light to promote blooming. When kept indoors, place the plant near a sunny window. If possible, rotate the pot every now and then so that all sides of the plant get an equal amount of light.
When outdoors, provide dappled sunlight or a spot that gets 4-5 hours of sunlight per day. You can also place these cacti under artificial lighting if natural sunlight is not available, but it will rarely compare to a cactus that has been grown in ample sunlight.
Parodia haselbergii is a drought-tolerant plant that can survive long periods without water. In its natural habitat, it rains only during the summer months. When watering your cactus, make sure to wait until the topsoil has completely dried out. Then, water deeply but with good drainage, so no water sits in the pot. Be extra careful not to overwater because this can lead to root rot.
The Scarlet Ball Cactus is native to Brazil, where the temperature can get quite hot, but it can also tolerate cooler temperatures. It can survive frost as long as it is not prolonged and intense and the plant is dry.
When kept indoors, the ideal temperature is between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius. If the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius, the plant will start to experience stress. When this happens, growth will stop, and the plant will start to wilt.
In winter, the plants need a cool, dry period of rest to encourage vibrant blooms in the flowering season. Just above 5 degrees Celsius should do it.
Parodia haselbergii is used to arid conditions with little to no humidity. When kept as a houseplant, it will do just fine in normal household humidity levels. You don’t have to worry about humidity as average room conditions should be sufficient.
The Scarlet Ball Cactus is a slow-growing plant that doesn’t need much fertilizer. In fact, too much fertilizer can actually do more harm than good. Once every two months during the growing season should be more than enough. Use a diluted cactus fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer.
Propagating Parodia haselbergii
Parodia haselbergii can be propagated by seeds or by division.
To propagate by seeds:
- Wait until the blooming season has passed and then collect the seeds.
- Sow the seeds in a cactus mix or well-draining soil.
- Cover the pot with plastic wrap to create a mini-greenhouse effect and place it in a warm spot with indirect sunlight.
- Keep the soil barely moist, and in about 6-8 weeks, you should see seedlings starting to sprout. Once they have reached a few inches in height, you can transplant them into their own pots.
To propagate by division:
- Wait until the plant is big enough and has an offset (or pups).
- Gently remove the plant from the pot, and using a sharp knife, divide the root ball into 2-3 sections.
- Plant each section in its own pot and water well.
- Keep the soil moist until the plants have settled in, and then you can reduce watering.
Potting and Repotting Scarlet Ball Cactus
The Scarlet Ball Cactus doesn’t need to be repotted very often. In fact, it’s best to leave it be unless the plant has outgrown its pot or the potting mix has started to break down and no longer drains well. When repotting, use a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one and make sure it has drainage holes. Use a cactus/succulent mix and water well.
It’s best to repot in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Water well after repotting, and don’t water again until the topsoil has completely dried out.
Parodia haselbergii is not toxic to humans or animals. However, the sharp spines can cause irritation, so it’s best to keep this plant out of reach of children and pets.
Common Pests and Diseases
The Scarlet Ball Cactus is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but mealybugs and spider mites can be a problem in some cases. You can control mealybugs with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Spider mites can be handled with a strong spray of water or by using an insecticide.