Brain Cactus

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Brain Cactus Images: @sanctuarysoil

Getting enough of the succulent plant is still a mystery to many.  We love to write about and collect these cool potted goodies, whether they are regular  ‘ones or those with an exceptional exotic theme. Now we have something for Halloween that sets the mood perfectly. This terrifying plant is a sure-to-go decoration for your Halloween, and just looking at it will tell you why. The Mammillaria Elongata ‘Cristata’ cactus looks like a human brain, with stems that circularly curl around each other. Or a clump of worms, still.

What’s there in a name? A fascinating plant in the case of the brain cactus, but with a very descriptive name. The type known as brain cactus is one of the many species of Mammillaria Cristata. It is a simple cactus to grow that often produces lovely little blooms in warmer climates and makes a perfect houseplant or outdoor specimen. 

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What is brain cactus?

The brain cactus is also colorfully called Mammillaria elongata ‘Cristata’ due to its convoluted and sinuous development. How the form happens is one of the most bizarre pieces of data from Cristata. When it is young, the shape is a result of damage to the plant. The cells go wild at the injury site and grow at a much faster pace than average. This triggers the distorted design of the pads.

The brain cactus is a common houseplant, and this “damage” is manually manipulated in cultivation to produce fan-like growth. In general, the brain cactus is a small plant, just 6 inches (15 cm.) in height. With waistband widths of 12 inches (30 cm.) across, they are chubby little boys.

They occur in rocky outcroppings and between crevasses in the wilds of Central Mexico. They grow into a column of stems and tiny offsets over time. The spines are in tightly collected areoles and consist of several sizes, almost hair-like with the finest spines. Plants are green, but the hairy spines form a grayish shell.

The origin of the brain cactus

The straight growth habit of Mammillaria elongata cacti, commonly known as lady’s fingers. The crested type, however, shows stems with lots of kinks growing in one big, round clump. A mutation or probably physical injury is thought to be the cause of this trait.

Every succulent has a center of growth called the apical meristem, including cacti. The cactus can begin to develop in a wormlike form if the apical meristem is chewed by an insect or somehow harmed. In the cells of a cactus, though uncommon, often a mutation occurs and causes it to become crested.

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The brain cactus features

This cactus features several narrow ribs, as the name suggests. There can be approximately 100 ribs in a mature plant. Generally, the thick ribs are wavy, but they may also be straight occasionally. There can be 2-3 aureoles with 6 to 9 spines on each rib. The ribs are brown at the base; however, this changes towards the end.

While the lower spines typically point downward, the upper spines tend to be upright, and the overall arrangement of the spines is somewhat crosswise. One of the most flexible species of cacti is the ‘brain cactus’ in terms of shape. No two plants with the same number of ribs, the same supination, or the same shape will be found. The form and flower colors vary in their variations.

Young plants are coated with white felt, so marking them as ‘white’ cacti are very popular for individuals. Stenocactus crispatus features long spines covering the ribs, Stenocactus Phyllcanthus with stiff spines and yellow flowers, and Stenocactus Coptonogonus with straight ribs and short spines are the most common varieties.

All in all, such a cactus has a spherical shape. It varies from gray-green to deep green in its hue. A more cylindrical shape may also be formed by mature plants, while plants with many stems form a pyramid shape.

A brain cactus is a slow-growing plant that can grow up to 12 cm tall, and it can often have 2 or 3 stems, although it is typically solitary. Brain cactus is known to be a delicate plant. It grows to up to 2,5 cm in diameter are produced by this lovely, wrinkled cactus. Usually, the flowers are pink, purple, or white.

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How to grow the brain cactus

You may immediately assume that you understand all about succulent treatment. But you may realize that you don’t know how to grow a brain cactus. Most cacti are susceptible to overwatering and poor drainage, but brain cactus pads can trap moisture in the folds and crevasses. In agriculture, where gnats are attracted, this can be evil, and mold and mildew problems can instill rot and destroy the plant.

To avoid moisture from accumulating on the body of a brain cactus, it is best to water from the jar’s base. There are some simple methods if you wish to propagate the plant. It is using woody stem cuttings to allow for a week of callus over the cut edge. Then insert the cut end into the potting medium without soil, like the moderately moistened sand.

The other approach is a clean, sterile knife to separate the pups away from the parent plant. Each should also be permitted to callus and plant it into a mixture of cactus. It results in faster establishment and faster blooms to grow a brain cactus from pups.

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Image by: @succiesco

How to care for your brain cactus

The brain cactus is most susceptible to moisture as a succulent from arid regions. It is best to keep them in a dry place with little humidity. Excess humidity can cause the plant as much harm as too much water can do. Remember that most of the year, the area from which they hail is dry and then marked by a brief drenching rainy season.

After the rain, the plants then do most of their growth and bloom, followed by a prolonged growth rate, almost in hibernation, before the next rainy season. Place the container in a partly sunny position where the plant will not burn the brightest noon-day rays. Until watering, allow the surface of the soil to dry to the touch. Feed with a dilution of the cactus food in spring.

This spooky, frightful cactus looks like a brain! It is easy to trick a few people into believing your Brain Cactus is an actual human brain if you place it in a faux human skull planter!

The Brain Cactus is greenish, so you’re definitely not going to fool anyone anytime soon with it. But it does have curvy stems that wrap and twist into a circular shape around each other, so the entire plant looks a lot like a brain. This distinctive cactus has a fascinating history and some particular criteria for how to care and how to grow it will help you get the best out of your plant choice.

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