Silver Ball Cactus Parodia scopa subsp. scopa

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
silver ball


The plant known as the Silver Ball Cactus has a distinctive globe-like and columnar shape as it matures. It's covered in a dense array of white, woolly bristles that give it a frosted appearance. These bristles are actually modified spines that serve to protect the plant from excessively harsh sunlight and help reduce water loss. The vivid green flesh of the cactus provides a striking contrast to its white spines. When it blooms, the flowers emerge usually at the top sides, forming a beautiful and colorful crown. The blossoms are often a bright yellow, bringing a cheerful display to the otherwise stark appearance of the cactus. After flowering, small fruits may form, which bear seeds for the next generation of Silver Ball Cacti. The overall impression of this plant is one of resilience and beauty, typical of what one might expect from a species well-adapted to dry, sunny climates.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Silver Ball Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Silver Ball, Snowball.

    • Common names

      Notocactus scopa, Echinocactus scopa, Malacocarpus scopa.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Silver Ball Cactus (Parodia scopa subsp. scopa) is not typically toxic to humans. However, caution should be exercised to avoid injury from its sharp spines. Ingesting any part of this cactus is unlikely to cause poisoning; however, consuming plant material not intended for consumption can sometimes result in gastric discomfort or other digestive issues.

    • To pets

      Silver Ball Cactus (Parodia scopa subsp. scopa) is similarly not known to be toxic to pets. The primary concern for pets would be physical injury from the sharp spines rather than poisoning. Ingestion of the cactus is unlikely to cause toxicity, but as with humans, ingesting non-food plant parts could potentially lead to digestive upset or an obstruction if large pieces are swallowed.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot [30 cm]

    • Spread

      6 inches [15 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Parodia scopa, commonly known as Silver Ball Cactus, offers unique aesthetic appeal due to its globular shape and eye-catching spines.
    • Low Maintenance: As a drought-tolerant plant, the Silver Ball Cactus requires minimal watering and care, making it suitable for busy plant owners or beginners.
    • Longevity: Cacti are known for their long life span, and the Silver Ball Cactus is no exception, potentially offering years of enjoyment with proper care.
    • Indoor Compatibility: This cactus can thrive indoors provided it has enough sunlight, allowing for decorative flexibility in home and office spaces.
    • Educational Interest: The Silver Ball Cactus can be a fascinating plant for educational purposes, showcasing adaptation and survival strategies in plants.
    • Economic Aspects: Plant collectors and enthusiasts often seek out unique cacti, contributing to the economic value of the Silver Ball Cactus in the horticultural trade.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Silver Spurflower (Parodia scopa) can be used as a natural barrier due to its spiny exterior that can deter animals and unauthorized access to private properties.
    • These cacti can be cultivated for ornamental purposes, as they have a unique spherical form and bright yellow blooms that add aesthetic value to gardens and indoor spaces.
    • Their strong root systems can help prevent soil erosion on slopes and in rock gardens, helping to stabilize the terrain.
    • Silver Spurflower can function as a natural water conservation tool in xeriscaped gardens, requiring minimal watering once established.
    • Miniature ecosystems can utilize this cactus to create artistic desert landscapes in terrariums and miniature garden settings.
    • Due to their shape and consistency, they can be used in educational settings to teach about plant adaptation and desert plant survival strategies.
    • The slow growth rate and ease of care make Silver Spurflower suitable for use in long-term science experiments, such as studies on growth or photosynthesis.
    • When grown in groups, these cacti can provide a habitat for small desert-adapted organisms and insects, enhancing biodiversity in gardens.
    • In crafting, dried and treated specimens or parts of the plant might be incorporated into botanical collages or other art projects.
    • As a naturally resilient plant, it can be used in research related to climate change to understand how certain species may adapt to harsher conditions.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Silver Ball Cactus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Silver Ball Cactus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: The Parodia scopa subsp. scopa, commonly known as the Silver Ball Cactus, can thrive in arid environments with minimal water, symbolizing an ability to endure and flourish in harsh conditions.
    • Protection: Its sharp spines offer protection from herbivores, representing a defense mechanism and the need for setting boundaries.
    • Adaptability: This cactus species has adapted to survive in poor soil, signifying versatility and the capability to adapt to different situations.
    • Patience: It grows slowly and blooms with patience, embodying the virtue of waiting for the right moment to shine.
    • Isolation: Often found standing alone in the wild, it may symbolize solitude or independence.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Silver Ball Cactus should be watered thoroughly, allowing the water to run through the drainage holes, but only when the soil is completely dry to the touch—a deep watering every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season is typically sufficient. Reduce watering to once a month or less during the dormant winter period. It's important to avoid waterlogging, as this can lead to root rot. Depending on the size of the pot, watering with 8 to 12 onzes per watering session should be adequate. Adjust the amount based on the size of the container and the environmental conditions.

  • sunLight

    For the Silver Ball Cactus, bright and direct light is ideal. They thrive with exposure to full sun, especially when placed in a south-facing window where they can enjoy plenty of natural light throughout the day. Care should be taken to protect them from the intense afternoon sun in hotter climates which could scorch their skin.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Silver Ball Cactus prefers temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate a range from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It's not frost-tolerant, so it should be kept in an environment that doesn't drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal growing conditions include warm days and cooler nights.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Silver Ball Cactus is generally not necessary as they are slow growers and maintain a compact shape. If pruning is required to remove a damaged or diseased part, it should be done carefully using sterile tools. The best time for any necessary pruning is during the active growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Silver Ball Cactus prefers a well-draining soil mix with a neutral to slightly acidic pH around 6.0-7.5. Combine equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite or pumice to achieve the optimal texture.

  • plantRepotting

    Silver Ball Cactus should be repotted every 2 to 3 years, ideally during the spring or summer when the plant is experiencing active growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Silver Ball Cactus thrives in low to moderate humidity levels, mirroring its natural arid environment.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and ensure pot has good drainage.

    • Outdoor

      Needs full sun, shelter from rain, and excellent drainage.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Silver Ball Cactus (Parodia scopa subsp. scopa) starts its life as a seed, which germinates when conditions are warm and slightly moist. The seedling stage begins with the emergence of a tiny cactus shoot and a root system that starts to anchor the plant and absorb nutrients from the soil. As it enters the juvenile stage, the cactus develops into a distinctive ball shape with spines, and photosynthesis becomes the primary means of obtaining energy for growth. Maturity is reached after several years, whereupon the cactus starts to produce yellow flowers during the growing season, typically in summer. Following pollination, these flowers develop into fruit that contains seeds, thereby completing the reproductive cycle. In its natural habitat, the Silver Ball Cactus can live for many decades, continuing to grow slowly and produce flowers and seeds annually.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: For the Silver Ball Cactus (Parodia scopa subsp. scopa), the most popular method of propagation is by seed. The best time to sow the seeds is in the spring or summer months when the temperature is warm, ideally between 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26 degrees Celsius). To propagate, first prepare a shallow tray with a well-draining cactus mix and scatter the tiny seeds over the soil surface. Barely cover the seeds with a thin layer of sand or fine vermiculite to hold them in place. Place the tray in a warm spot with bright, indirect light and keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy by misting. Germination can take anywhere from a week to several months, depending on conditions. Once seedlings are large enough to handle, they can be carefully transplanted into individual pots.