Parodia leninghausii, Golden Tower Cactus or Golden Ball Cactus is an attractive columnar cactus from Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil where it grows at elevations from 300-1300rn, often on steep rocky inclines and cliffs, benefiting from the excellent drainage and water run-off that these gradients provide. A familiar cactus with its long harmless bristly spines and characteristically angled crown, Parodia leninghausii is an extremely easy plant to care for and an ideal beginner cactus or first cactus for a child. Perfect on a window ledge or a well-lit desk, it needs to be watered sparingly from March through to October and not at all through the winter months until spring. A weak liquid solution of potassium-based fertiliser during the spring and early summer months will encourage it to flower once it has reached a mature size.
Parodia leninghausii is a reasonably cold-tolerant cactus and although not in any sense frost-hardy it will put up with the occasional dip into sub-zero temperatures as long as its roots are dry. It can be kept very easily in an unheated glasshouse under a layer or two of horticultural fleece. For those that know what they are doing, a dry rocky gradient that mimics their natural conditions with a sheltered aspect and warm microclimate in the southerly UK counties is a low-cost experiment that many will find impossible to resist. But it is a risky experiment. A rain-shelter is advisable. Fleece should be at the ready. And in an exceptionally cold winter one should expect the worse. So, it is as a houseplant that Parodia leninghausii is usually grown and for a no-fuss low-maintenance indoor plant it is hard to beat.
|Synonyms||Echinocactus lenninghausii, Eriocactus leninghausii, Eriocactus lenninghausii, Eriocactus lenninghausii f. apelii, Eriocactus lenninghausii var. minor, Eriocephala lenninghausii, Malacocarpus leninghausii, Notocactus leninghausii, Notocactus lenninghausii, Parodia lenninghausii var. minor, Pilocereus lenninghausii, Pilosocereus leninghausii|
|Geographical Origin||Brazil: Rio Grande do Sul|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Well-drained gritty substrate. Water sparingly through the growing season and keep completely dry in winter. Ideal houseplant|
|Hardiness||Cold tolerant, it will take a few degrees of sub-zero temperatures if kept dry in a cool glasshouse but outdoors is not fully frost hardy in most cold wet UK locations. Best as a houseplant|
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