Parody cactus (Parodia): growing and care

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Parody cactus (Parodia): growing and care
Parody cactus (Parodia): growing and care

Types, description of the plant, tips for home care, recommendations for transplanting and reproduction, pest control and difficulties. Parody (Parodia). A fairly plural family of cactaceae (Cactaceae), which numbers up to 150 representatives. The native habitat of the southeastern territories of South America, these cacti are mainly inhabitants of the foothills and like to choose places to live among the rocky rocks, located at an absolute height of about 2000-3000. It is named after a botanist from Paraguay who first described this plant - Lorenzo Raimundo Paro di (late nineteenth and early twentieth century).

The variety of this species is constantly replenished with new specimens, which are studied and described over time, since different specialists do not have a generally accepted classification. But there are still characteristics of parody that they try to adhere to:

  • the top of the stem in many parody species is slightly reduced at an angle from the sunny side;
  • the stem is in the form of a ball or cylinder;
  • the entire surface of the stem is divided into many ribs, the number of which varies from 13 to 26 units;
  • there are species in which the ribs are separated by small bumps that are arranged in a spiral order;
  • cones cover thorns of various types and shades;
  • at the very top of the stem, some thorns can take a curved appearance;
  • spring and summer months are allocated for the flowering process;
  • the flower stem has the shape of a shortened tube covered with multiple spines or scales;
  • flower buds grow at the very top of the stem and are so close to each other that they give the impression of a bouquet;
  • color shades can range from rich yellows to bright red;
  • flowers can grow in one or ten pieces;
  • after the flowering process, fruiting is carried out by very small seeds, which can subsequently be carried by insects (for example, ants), water or air currents.

Parody care advice

Parody golden needle
Parody golden needle
  • Lighting. A true parody requires bright, saturated lighting regardless of the season. So, it needs windows with a south, east or west orientation. But there are species that need to be shaded with light curtains or paper if the plant is under midday sunlight. It all depends on how many needles envelop the stem of the parody - if there are many needles, then this species is resistant to the hot rays of the sun. If possible, the plant is exposed to fresh air in the spring and summer months. Again, you need to monitor the intensity of sunlight. It is better to train the cactus to increase the light gradually to avoid sunburn. If the sunshine of the parody is not enough, then its stem begins not to stretch out aesthetically.
  • Air humidity. As a resident of dry and hot areas, the parody perfectly tolerates the dry air of city apartments, the only thing that can be done for it is to arrange a small fine spray (like fog) in the morning hours. Most of all, the parody loves the flow of fresh air, but is very afraid of drafts, therefore, during the airing of the room, it is better to remove the plant from the windowsill.
  • Parody content temperature. In order for the cactus to feel great they can withstand temperatures within the range of 20-23 degrees in the spring-summer period, and with a decrease in street temperature, the parody hibernates at temperatures of 10-12 degrees, if they drop below 7, it will be fatal for the plant. This cactus needs a so-called wintering with reduced heat indices. As soon as the autumn temperatures began to drop, the parody is accustomed to indicators of 15 degrees, gradually bringing them to 10. Watering at this time stops, but good lighting and regular ventilation of the room are required.
  • Parody watering tips. In the summer, the plant is watered regularly and in moderation only when the substrate in the pot is completely dry. As soon as the preparation of the parody for the wintering period begins, watering is gradually reduced, and at low temperatures, humidification is carried out extremely rarely or is completely abandoned. At this time, they are guided by the state of the stem, if its turgor has weakened, then the plant must be slightly watered. The main thing is not to allow the bay of the cactus, since in this case the parody begins to be affected by various putrefactive diseases of the stem or roots. Water for irrigation is taken necessarily softened - rain or melt, filtered or boiled. If this is not done, then the stem at the base undergoes corking - the composition of the stem fibers changes, it becomes impermeable to water and air. This effect is produced by salts found in tap water.
  • Fertilization rules for a parody. Since the parody has a rest period in winter and autumn, any feeding stops. When the plant begins to show signs of the beginning of growth, then once every month, until the temperature drops, it is necessary to fertilize the cactus. They choose special fertilizers for cactus crops and fertilizers with a complex of minerals, but the dose is taken halved from that indicated by the manufacturer.
  • Transplant and selection of soil for a parody. The transplantation process for young plants is carried out annually, and for those cacti that have crossed the five-year milestone, this procedure is repeated every two years. Basically, spring time is chosen for this, and they are guided by whether the pot has become small for the stem itself or the roots have become visible from the drainage holes.

When breeding these cacti, it is very important to choose the right soil mixture. For plants grown in greenhouses, a substrate based on rotted leaves and coarse sand in proportions (1: 1) may be suitable. Then, for such parodies, not high pots are chosen, about 10-15 cm in height and diameter, which will be twice the girth of the stem. At the bottom of such a container, a drainage composition is poured from finely detailed bricks or expanded clay of an average fraction. The height of the drainage should not exceed 1–2 cm. Then the cactus pots must be dug into moistened greenhouse soil, sand or sphagnum moss.

If the plant is cultivated indoors, then for such a case, a substrate is mixed based on very well-rotted leaves (since such soil will have a small or medium acid reaction), peat land, well-washed river sand and crushed shards or bricks in proportions (1: 1: 1: 1). The last component is necessary so that excess moisture, which is not needed by the plant, is absorbed and given away in case of drying out of the soil. Shards or bricks are more suitable for this type of cactus than pebbles or gravel. The crushed mass (with a particle size of no more than 7 mm) must be thoroughly washed with water, soaked for a while with a 10% sulfuric acid solution, and as soon as the formation of foam stops, it is poured with boiled water for at least 24 hours. This operation is long enough and in order not to waste time, instead of bricks or shards, perlite or agroperlite is used.

Self-breeding parody at home

Parody beautiful
Parody beautiful

Reproduction is possible mainly with the help of seed and only a few species of cacti reproduce by offshoots.

Since the parody seeds are very small, the breeding process is painstaking and quite long. To start breeding, the last month of summer is chosen, when the daytime temperature can reach 20–25 degrees, and the nighttime temperature will be in the range of 8–10 degrees. Such fluctuations have a very good effect on the germination process. When sowing seeds in a container with a moistened substrate based on rotted leaves, coarse river sand, finely crushed charcoal in proportions (1: 0, 5: 0, 25). The container is covered with a piece of glass to create the conditions for a mini-greenhouse.

Young seedlings, after germination, are so slow in development that even after two years they cannot be transplanted into separate pots. There is also a huge danger that the surface of the soil can be covered with green algae, which can destroy the seedlings. As soon as the first sprouts hatch, it is necessary to arrange additional lighting for the seedlings with special lamps and water it drip, only when the soil dries out. Florists with extensive experience advise to dive the emerging seedlings with a monthly or one and a half month regularity to accelerate the growth of seedlings.

Pests, Difficulties and Diseases in Breeding Parody

Actellic to care for parody
Actellic to care for parody

The most common pests that affect the parody cactus are scale insects, spider mites, mealybugs. You can fight these parasites using both folk and modern chemicals. When scabbards are affected, light brown scales appear on the entire plant, which can be easily removed with a fingernail, and some parts of it may be covered with a sticky coating. If the parody is affected by a spider mite, then reddish dots will become visible on the stem and the cactus itself will turn yellow or turn brown. The mealybug manifests itself as clusters of white bloom between the ribs of the trunk. All these pests perish when treated with insecticides such as "Actellik" or "Korbofos".

With increased soil moisture in the autumn-winter season, the deformed top of the stem and putrefactive spotting at the base are evidenced. The low growth of the cactus indicates little watering in the hot season or the bay at low temperatures. If cork formations began to appear on the surface of the stem, it is possible partial damage by harmful insects, hypothermia or injury to the plant stem, as well as low moisture in the summer months. With an uncharacteristic elongation of the stem in a cactus, poor summer illumination or high temperatures during the wintering period indicate. Stem rot is characterized by the formation of soft brown spots; it is necessary to disinfect the soil with a liquid carbendazim solution or any fungicide.

Species of cactus parody

Parody majestic
Parody majestic
  • Parody golden prickly (Parodia aureispina). The most common of its family. The stem has the shape of a ball with 6-7 cm in diameter. The spines, which are located in the very center, take on golden hues and have a bend, their number does not exceed 6 units. The ribs of the parody are arranged in a spiral and are separated by pineal growths of half a centimeter in height. The spines located radially look like white bristles, their number reaches 40 pieces. Areoles are also arranged in a spiral pattern. At the very top, bright yellow flower buds bloom, which reach 3 cm in opening.
  • Parody of the golden-needle (Parodia chrysacanthion). The native territories of growth are Argentinean areas. If the plant is still very young, then it has a spherical, slightly flattened stem, which over time stretches and becomes 10 cm in diameter, with a height of 20 cm. The number of spiral ribs can approach 24 units. All ribs cover elongated outgrowths, on which areoles are located, which are pubescent with a short pile, so dense that it seems to be a white cocoon. Thin spines have a radial appearance and their number reaches 40 pieces. The number of central spines varies from 1 to 4, similar to the color of the radial ones, but one is always longer and erect. Flowers open up to 2 cm in diameter and are colored with rich lemon shades. This cactus must be shaded from the midday hot rays and the soil should be made up with a lot of humus.
  • Parody snow (Parodia nivosa). The stem of a young plant is in the form of a ball 15 cm in diameter, but with the growth of a cactus it takes the form of a short cylinder. Its height can reach 15 cm with a diameter of 8 cm. The color of the stem is light greenish. Areoles, which are pubescent, are arranged spirally and look like small bumps. The entire stem is covered with whitish centimeter thorns. In the center there are four large spines of a grayish shade. Flowers in opening reach 5 cm in diameter and are distinguished by bright red tones.
  • Parody of Schwebs (Parodia schwebsiana). The stem of a deep emerald color is divided by inexpressive ribs on which areoles are located. Its diameter can reach 30 cm, and its height is approaching half a meter. Areoles are low pineal formations with white pubescence, and towards the top it becomes more and more large in shape and at the very top it can merge, forming a whitish cap-cover. The apical central spines of the halos are slightly curved. The diameter of the flower can be close to 5 cm, and the shades range from yellow-red to blood-red.
  • Parody small-seeded (Parodia microsperma). The diameter of the stem can reach 10 cm and a height of 20 cm. The ribs are tuberous, spirally located, 15-30 units in number. Seven-millimeter radial thorns, whitish in quantity reaching 30 pcs. Those in the center can be shaded with red or brown tones and with a single hook-like length of about 1.5 cm. Flowers can open up to 7 cm in diameter, shaded with yellow-gold or ocher tones. In June, several buds begin to bloom at the same time, which live only 3 days. The variety of this cactus is very diverse in its appearance, as it grows over a very large area.
  • Beautiful parody (Parodia formosa). The native territory of growth is the Bolivian areas. Has a stem in the form of a ball and slightly flattened on top. The number of ribs varies from 18 to 26 units. The stem is covered with small tubercles, on which pubescent areoles are located. Radial spines reach up to 30 pieces. 8 mm long and grayish brown in color. The spines in the center can be 6–12 units and reach almost a centimeter in length, the shade is the same, but with a darker tip. The flowers are shaded with a bright lemon shade.
  • Parody racemose (Parodia penicillata). The native habitat is the territory of Argentina. The stems take a cylindrical shape, and rather adult specimens can reach 70 cm in length with a diameter of 15 cm. The number of ribs, which are arranged in a spiral, can be up to 19 pieces. Areoles, which are located on the ribs, tuberous, whitish-pubescent. There are 40 thin radial spines available. The central spines are much thicker and stronger, they can reach 5 cm in length, the number varies from 10 to 15 units. The color of the spines is pale brown. The diameter of deep red flowers can be up to 5 cm.

You can also note:

  • A majestic parody (Parodia magnifica) - blue-green stem deeply divided by ribs, with tightly fitting areoles. Blooming with several bright lemon flowers at the same time.
  • Ritter's parody (Parodia ritteri) - spines of a whitish-pink shade with dark brown tips.
  • Hausstein's parody (Parodia hausteiniana) - large pubescent areoles with a small one and a half centimeter diameter of flowers, painted in wine shades.
  • Parody of Maas (Parodia maassii) - the stem has the shape of an elongated and flattened ball, up to 15 cm long.

More information about growing a cactus from seed in this video: