So you have decided that it is time to change the face of your garden. Maybe you have been planting roses and chrysanthemums for years. Now you want to experience a more exotic garden.
What about cultivating the fascinating parodia?
The parodia is a cactus plant that originates from South America. This genus has a wide variety of more than fifty species ranging from small round cacti to taller types growing up to 3 feet. These cacti produce flowers in several colors such as pink, orange or red.
Scientific Name: Parodia Magnifica
Common Names :
- Balloon cactus
- Ball cactus
- Blue ball cactus.
- Green ball cactus
Origin: The Americas- including Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay
This Plant is Flexible and Can be grown outdoors/indoors
Smaller plants suitable for house plants
- Of 30 cm in Diameter
- Ball-like in appearance
- Covered in spikes
- Thick herbaceous stems
Temperature: Between 5 and 15 Degrees celcius.
Color of flower Varying colors red, Yellow, pink, or orange
How To Plant
The parodia cactus can be planted in any season, though spring is usually best for planting. The plant can be grown outdoors during winter if the temperatures remain at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is necessary to leave sufficient space between the plants. They need space to thrive and breathe.
The smaller plants can be placed a foot apart. The larger plants should be given about two feet as they can become quite large.
Parodias should be planted where they will be exposed to sufficient light. The plants should be kept from the midday sun. They thrive better in the morning or afternoon sun. If the garden is exposed to lots of direct sunlight, it is best to put plants in pots so they can be shifted if necessary.
The quality of the soil will determine if the parodia is healthy. The soil preference is dry and airy.
A mixture of sand and chalk can be added to aerate the soil. A pH of 6.1 and 6.5 is ideal.
The growth habit for many species is that they start as a globe-shaped plant, then as they grow larger they take on a columnar form. The parodia grows quite quickly and usually form large clump in a few years
It may become necessary to stake the parodia if it becomes large and is in danger of toppling. You will need protective clothing and at least two stakes to secure the plant. The stakes should remain in place for at least three months until the roots system gets stronger.
The parodia has a high resistance to drought due to its water storage capacity. They should be watered in the growing stage. Avoid allowing the soil to become soggy. Less water is required in the winter. Holes should be placed in the pot to facilitate drainage.
Fertilizer can be used to enhance your parodias growth but it is not compulsory. Use a cacti fertilizer mix for best results.
Parodia cacti prefer warm conditions but they can function in below-freezing temperatures. The plants should not remain for long periods in such low temperatures. They will not be at their best if exposed to too much humidity.
Wood chips mulch is a good choice. It breaks down slowly so the plants will receive nutrients. It will also allow for garden maintenance. Wood chips are porous, which allows free air and water flow. However, it is important to use small rocks around the base of the plants to avoid rotting of the roots.
Trimming and Pruning
The parodia cacti is a low-maintenance plant and requires little trimming or pruning. Still, there may be instances where this activity becomes necessary to remove parts to facilitate new plants or to prevent overcrowding. Cover the hands with thick gloves to avoid the spikes.
Use a sharp pruner and make clean cuts so that the plant is not damaged, You can save cuttings of roots, stems, or trunks to get new plants.
Pot And Repotting
Repotting can be done when it is necessary. It is best to repot in warm weather. The parodia should be gently removed from the old pot. Fill the new pot with potting soil. Leave for at least a week before watering.
The parodia cacti can be propagated from the offsets that form at the base of the plant. This is done by removing the shoots and allowing the cut section to dry. Plant shoots can then be placed in individual pots.
Pests and Diseases
The parodia is a resilient plant and is usually disease resistant. The main problem that usually surfaces is the rotting of the roots. Too much water will result in this problem. The soil should be almost dry before watering.
Other pests such as aphids and mealybugs could become a menace when the plant starts to flower. It may become necessary to seek professional help to eliminate these pests.
There are many wonderful species of parodia cacti. One such variety is the parodia werdermanniana. This species is not widely acclaimed and originates from Uruguay. It is a captivating plant that boasts colorful and delicate spines. It blooms in large yellow flowers. Another noteworthy kind is the parodia scopa or the silver ball cactus. Originally from Brazil and Uruguay, it has a cylindrical shape and grows up to 50 cm tall. It sprouts large yellow flowers.
What are Good Neighbors?
There are a wide variety of other plants that bring exotic beauty to any garden and will complement the parodia. Two of these plants are the red valerian and the hummingbird plant. The red valeria has a long flowering season and is renowned for its ornamental star-shaped flower. It is easy to manage and resistant to pests. The color of the flowers vary and include pink and blue-green. The red valerian needs lots of sunshine and thrives even in harsh conditions.
The hummingbird plant is also a good neighbor. It attracts bees and hummingbirds. This plant needs little attention but can be watered infrequently.
The parodia is not considered to be harmful to dogs or cats. If there are pets in the home special consideration must be given the location of these plants. The sharp spines can injure pets, so the plants should be located in a space where they will not affect house pets.
The parodia is a fascinating wonder of nature. This plant is versatile, sturdy and requires low maintenance care. The parodia plant can ideally be grown outside or inside. This pant can be grown by anyone who is interested in gardening,