Ruby Ball Cactus

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Lawn & Garden

The ruby ball cactus is a type of cactus that has a bright red, ball-shaped appearance and sits on a green base. Unlike other plants, it lacks the green pigmentation needed to absorb solar energy and must be grafted onto a green cactus to survive. It is typically short-lived and has variations that come in yellow, orange, and bicolor. The plant’s pink blossoms only appear under ideal conditions.

Ruby Ball Cactus Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Gymnocalycium mihanovichii ‘Ruby Ball’

Common Names: Ruby Ball Cactus, Rose Plaid Cactus

Light Requirement for Ruby Ball Cactus: Full Sun to Bright Light

Water Requirement for Ruby Ball Cactus: Drench, Let Dry

Humidity for Ruby Ball Cactus: Average Home

Temperature for Ruby Ball Cactus: House to Cool

Fertilizer for Ruby Ball Cactus: High Phosphorus

Potting Mix for Ruby Ball Cactus: Cactus

Propagation of Ruby Ball Cactus: Grafting

Decorative Use for Ruby Ball Cactus: Table

Care Rating for Ruby Ball Cactus: Easy

Types of House Plants

  • House Plants
  • Full Sun House Plants
  • Bright Light House Plants
  • Filtered Light House Plants
  • Light Shade House Plants
  • Hanging Basket House Plants
  • Floor Plant House Plants
  • Table Plant House Plants
  • Terrarium Plant House Plants
  • Very Easy House Plants
  • Easy House Plants
  • Demanding House Plants
  • Temporary House Plants
  • Flowering House Plants
  • Climbing or Trailing House Plants
  • House Plants with Colorful Foliage
  • Fragrant House Plants

Caring for House Plants

To care for house plants, it’s important to understand their specific needs:

  • Lighting
  • Watering
  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Fertilizing
  • Potting
  • Grooming
  • Propagating
  • Decorating
  • Preventing Pests and Diseases
  • Vacation Care
  • Gardening

About the Author: Larry Hodgson is a garden writer from Quebec City who grows over 3,000 species and varieties. He is the author of several books, including “Making the Most of Shade,” “The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada,” “Perennials for Every Purpose,” “Annuals for Every Purpose,” “Houseplants for Dummies,” and “Ortho’s Complete Guide to Houseplants.” He has won the Perennial Plant Association’s 2006 Garden Media Award.


1. What is a Ruby Ball Cactus?

A Ruby Ball Cactus is a small, spherical cactus with a vibrant red color. It belongs to the Mammillaria family and is native to Mexico. The cactus typically grows up to 3 inches in diameter and is covered in small white spines. It produces small, pinkish-white flowers in the spring and summer.

2. How do you care for a Ruby Ball Cactus?

A Ruby Ball Cactus is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care. It prefers bright, direct sunlight and well-draining soil. It should be watered sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can cause the cactus to rot. The cactus can be fertilized once a month during the growing season with a cactus-specific fertilizer.

3. Can a Ruby Ball Cactus be grown indoors?

Yes, a Ruby Ball Cactus can be grown indoors as long as it receives ample sunlight. It can be placed near a south-facing window or under a grow light. It should be potted in well-draining soil and watered sparingly. Indoor humidity levels can be too high for the cactus, so it is important to ensure proper air circulation around the plant.

4. How often should a Ruby Ball Cactus be repotted?

A Ruby Ball Cactus should be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot. When repotting, it is important to use a well-draining soil mix and a pot with drainage holes. The cactus should be handled carefully as its spines can be sharp.

5. Is a Ruby Ball Cactus toxic to pets?

A Ruby Ball Cactus is not toxic to pets, but its spines can cause injury if ingested or stepped on. It is important to keep the cactus out of reach of pets and children.

6. Can a Ruby Ball Cactus be propagated?

Yes, a Ruby Ball Cactus can be propagated through offsets or seeds. Offsets can be removed from the parent plant and potted separately. Seeds can be harvested from mature fruits and planted in well-draining soil. Propagation can be done in the spring or summer.

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