Everything You Need to Know About the Brain Cactus
The cacti come in numerous shades and forms. One of them is the green one that resembles a brain. This kind of plant is obscure so much so that few people even know about it let alone everything that pertains to it. If you want to engage in its cultivation, you need to know all that it has to offer.
We have prepped this article to aid with just that. In our discussions below, we shall tear into just about everything that the plant stands for. It is our hope that at the tail end, you shall really be informed of everything that you need to know.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BRAIN CACTUS
a.) Origins and Stature
This plant is native to the central Mexico region. It is for all practical purposes a rare form of the Mammillaria elongata cactus plant. The plant bears a unique crested shape. When growing, it takes the patterns of the brains or the worms, hence the designation, Brain Cactus. Additionally, its stems comprise some kinks that develop into one monolithic round clump.
b.) Care of the Brain cactus
Like any other plant, this one too needs some care and maintenance to thrive maturely and luxuriously. Following the steps and procedures below will usher you in the task of doing that task exceptionally well:
Type of Soil
By far the best kind of soil for the plant is that which drains well. That is because the plant is averse to clogging or any other issue that may impede the smooth flow of the water. One sure way of achieving this is to blend the sand, pumice, perlite, and the potting mix at home.
Apart from the base ingredients listed above, the right soil for the job has to possess a fairly balanced pH, be devoid of any pathogens, and properly aerated. These characteristics are to see to it that the soil does not subject the roots of the plants to the risks of rotting or unfair damages.
How to repot the cactus
Once every two to four years, you will often have to repot your cactus. This is a task that you should do slowly, steadily, and with utmost care. Reason? Moving too fast may only serve to make your life harder and even pose some damages to the plants themselves. The steps below will certainly provide the much-needed help:
• Start by putting on a pair of thick gardening gloves to shield your hands from the spines that are likely to hurt or injure you in the course of getting the job done.
• Fill your new pot with the cactus soil while leaving some spare rooms for the roots and the plant itself.
• Loosen the soil in the old pot by running a trowel around the edges of the same.
• Pluck out the cactus and shake off as much soil from its roots as you can possibly manage.
• Introduce this cactus in the new pot and add more soil around and about it until the soil gets to the top of the pot.
• Wait a few days before commencing the process of watering the plant. This window is to let the plant acclimatize to the new pot.
Like any other xerophyte, the cactus does not require plenty of water to take root and subsequently thrive. Nonetheless, you still have to water yours from time to time to let it thrive. Only be sure that you supply a moderate amount of water to the roots to prevent the same from rotting.
Use a small watering can and the ‘soak and dry’ method to achieve the end. Wait until the water is completely dry to the touch before attempting to water again. This should alternate between 1-2 weeks and the 4-6 week cycle. The purpose of this latter approach is to mimic the environmental conditions that are present in the desert areas and conditions.
Desert plants are usually exposed to excessively high levels of direct sunlight. However, you should minimize your exposure of these plants to the hot summer sun for durations not exceeding four straight hours. Exceeding this threshold will usually scorch the plant altogether.
In case you grow yours indoors, you are advised to place it next to the brightest window to guarantee the highest exposure to the brightest lights. Complement it with a window planter.
Apart from the sunlight needs we have talked of above, you must also furnish sufficient levels of ambient temperatures to let your plants thrive fully. Though the plant does well in hot areas, it is not resistant to cold environments. As such, you have to bring it in during winters.
The brain cactus also needs fertilization to be able to grow to maturation. You have to furnish this fertilizer once a month during the entire season of growth. This should preferably in the summer or the spring. Prioritize the water-soluble cactus fertilizer as it is the one that gets to the roots faster and deeper.
c.) Propagating the cactus
You have three main options to look up to in order that you may propagate the cactus. These are:
The plant contains the offsets that may be subdivided and replanted seamlessly. Try this one as the first attempt as the plants tend to do well when the offsets are used as opposed to other intervention measures.
You may also figure out the cutting route. The cuttings however have to be grafted to other cacti to accrue the best results. Take care that you choose a base that is stronger, firmer, and healthier for better outcomes.
Lastly, you may also attempt the grafting route. This one works well when the two plants are related genetically. If you cannot find a similar species then extend it to the two plants of the same genus.
Let’s get now to the step-by-step procedures to actualize these ends:
• Cut the body of the plant using a grafting knife. While at it, ensure that the plant is still anchored in the soil.
• Throw away the top portion of the cactus as you will no longer need it.
• Trim the size of the stem cutting to 1 inch and place it atop the Mammillaria elongata.
• Line the two to match the rings of the cacti plants for proper fit and structure.
• Wrap the two pieces firmly in shape using a rubber band to secure them firmly.
• Wait for at least two months before re-inspecting the same for proper progress.
• Remove the rubber bands if joined together or wait a little longer to let them fasten fully.
• Continue to take great care of the plants as you would normally.
Alright! You have known just about everything you may need to know about this wonderful. We are now truly confident that you have what it takes to appreciate the plant better and make the most of it as well. So, how soon are you planning to set out? Kindly let us hear from you…