Saturday, July 21, 2007

Silver Balls, Silver Balls

The Parodia scopa (Silver Ball Cactus) is especially valued for its white hairy spines and white wooly areoles. It freely offsets, and quickly fills its container, making it an attractive specimen in a short time. This cactus has grown six new offsets in this summer growing season alone.

In the summer, I water the P. scopa frequently, but I rarely water it in the winter. If it is watered too much in the winter, it easily loses its roots and may rot. Otherwise, it is an easy care cactus, only needing an occasional dose of fertilizer in its summer growth period.

The P. scopa is native to Brazil and Uruguay, and has pale yellow flowers that appear at the crown of each head in the spring and summer months. Although the flowers are not large, if all the offsets bloom at the same time, it can be quite spectacular for such a small cactus.

When visitors stop by, this specimen seems to catch their eye more often than many of the other cacti in my collection. I always ask why this particular cactus appeals to them, because I think I have others that are far more impressive. Most mention it reminds them of a dish of Christmas tree ornaments, and that thought makes them happy. Now that's an unusual benefit of a cactus!

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