This round cactus can provide striking architectural impact in a rock garden and landscapes seeking a modern, streamlined look. In addition to the round shape, barrel cactus are noted for pronounced white or yellow spines. Flowers take several years to appear in circle pattern at the top. Obvious care needs to be taken in locating barrel cactus plantings to avoid neighboring plants that may invade given the difficulty in working amongst the sharp spines.
Parodia cactus consist of a number of varieties that grow in small ball and columnar forms. They can appear as single columns growing to a height of three feet or in groups. Most Parodia have pronounced grooves and spines. The bright and showy flowers appear in a range of colors with yellow as the most common. When planted outdoors, parodia require scant water and well draining soil. They do best with partial afternoon shade.
The striking growth habit of this cactus is characterized by flat interconnecting lobes with prominent primary and hair-like secondary spines that rapidly detach when touched. Prickly pear are more tolerant of cool weather than most cactus varieties. The lobes and fruit are edible with appropriate preparation and are known as “Indian Figs”. New plants can be propagated from cuttings that are allowed to dry for about a week. Care in landscape design is needed to avoid putting prickly pear near other plantings as the spines make later weeding impractical