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Notocactus werdemannianus spiralis

Botanical Name — Notocactus werdemannianus spiralis

Common Name — ball cactus

Plant Family — Cactaceae


Native to South Africa, Notocactus werdemannianus spiralis is a low-maintenance cactus known for its interesting interesting spiral foliage, and dense, clustered habit. The spiral growth pattern is the result of a rare, yet stable mutation.  These hard-to-find plants are a special addition to any home gardener’s collection.

Growth Requirements


  • Notocactus plants like plenty of sunshine. Five to eight hours of direct sun a day is ideal.

Temperature/ Humidity 

  • These plants prefer warm temperatures and low humidity. They will thrive in temperatures above 70 ºF. If they are grown in warm climates, zones 6 or higher, they can do well outdoors year round. In cooler climates place them indoors in a sunny spot when nighttime temperatures consistently fall below 50 ºF. 


  • Notocactus plants are best suited for dry, arid environments and are hardy and drought tolerant. Water them thoroughly, fully saturing the soil. Always allow soil to dry out completely in between waterings. 
  • During the winter water very infrequently, once every one to two months should be plenty. 


  • These cacti prefer a gritty, sharply draining mix. Use a potting mix made for cacti and succulents. You can also amend regular potting mix with sand and fine pumice up to 50% to improve gritty texture and drainage. 


  • Notocactus plants flower during the summer. Flower buds form in clusters at the top of the cacti. Blossoms are typically bright, creamy, yellow.
  • These cacti can take three years to flower and rarely flower indoors. To improve chances of flowering ensure plants get great light and drastically cut down on watering in the winter. 


  • These plants do not require much fertilization. To give them a boost during the growing season fertilizer once monthly with a fertilizer formulated specifically for cacti and succulents. 
  • Only fertilize during the spring and summer. Cut back on fertilizing entirely during the winter months. 


  • Notocactus plants can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings or by offsets. Notocactus werdemannianus produces many offsets that can be separated at potted to grow into their own plant. 



  • Notocactus werdemannianus are not especially prone to diseases or pests. Root rot can easily occur if the plant is frequently overwatered. Keep an eye out for common pests such as scales, mealybugs, and aphids. 

Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • Notocactus plants require very little maintenance. Container grown plants prefer to be rootbound and should only be repotted once every two to three years. 


  • Notocactus werdemannianus are not known to be toxic to humans and pets. 

Photo Credit

Valentino Vallicelli

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