The Brain Cactus, also known as the Mammillaria Elongata 'Cristata' cactus, is native to central Mexico.
5 Expert Tips to Take Care of Your Cacti
1. Give your cacti enough light.
Let them soak up the sun—but not too much—and enjoy the heat. You want things to be just right for your prickly plant. "Cacti enjoy all the attention they can get from the sun and thrive in the direct light—place them in the warmest, sunniest corner of your home. They would love to go outside for a summer vacation if you have a sunny patio or yard.
While cacti should be exposed to plenty of direct sunlight every day, it's also important to be mindful that they aren't getting too much sunlight. "Cacti can get sunburned. While they love the sun they can turn yellow or brown, and if that starts to happen, move the cactus away from its light source to cool down,"
2. Water your cacti properly.
Give them a drink—but not too much—and give long breaks in between. "Cacti are known for surviving without much watering, as they retain water in their stems. However, that doesn't mean they don't need watering at all.
Make sure the top layer of your cacti's soil has dried completely between watering. "In well-drained soil, your cactus requires water only every 10-to-14 days during summer months. If you're noticing wrinkles on your cactus, particularly towards the base of your plant, your plant is very dry and a soak-watering is in order. It may seem counterintuitive to give a cactus a large drink, but you'll be shocked at how your cactus will absorb the water and plump back up again. After watering, always be sure to empty excess water from the saucer—your cactus never wants to sit in water as that can lead to rot,"
3. Use the right soil and fertilizer for your cacti.
Soil mix and food tailored to cacti are key to healthy growth. "Ensure that the right soil mix is used when potting cacti. Cacti prefer soil that includes more sand and rocks, in order to drain water and keep the plant dry between drinks and prevent root rot,"
"Like the soil, it is important to use fertilizers made specifically for cacti to make sure they are not over or under fed, and receive optimal nutrition." You can also use fertilizer indicated for succulents. "Dilute [the fertilizer] according to the directions on the bottle. Water your cactus first, and then apply the fertilizer to damp soil so that it does not burn the roots. I would recommend fertilizing once during spring and once during summer. Cacti aren't huge feeders, so it isn't necessary to fertilize more often than that,"
4. Consider buying a prickly pear cactus.
We must admit we're partial to this beautiful desert wonder. "The prickly pear cactus [is] a playful and easy-to-care-for plant that is perfect for the person who wants to add some green to their home with limited time to care for a plant,"
More easy-to-grow cacti varieties include star cactus, golden barrel cactus, hedgehog cactus, and pincushion cactus
5. Be safe when handling your cacti.
You don't want to screech from a gnarly spiker from these plants. It is essential to wear protective gloves whenever you repot your cactus. You can even use kitchen tongs if it's helpful. This way, you can avoid unnecessary spikes and pricks.