Arrojadoa penicillata is a cactus that is also popularly referred to as the neon broom cactus. This plant is native to parts of Brazil, including Bahia, Pernambuco and Minas Gerais. It grows as a shrub and has several long pencil-shaped stems with numerous spines and crimson flowers.
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If you intend to grow and care for this plant in your home, you should focus on the following care conditions to ensure that it thrives. Make adjustments based on the climate that you live in.
Arrojadoa penicillata is a plant that can thrive in full and direct sunlight, so make sure you place your plant on a sun-facing balcony or windowsill. Desks that receive enough sunlight can also work. This kind of light can encourage blooms and spines on the plant.
A small amount of shade in peak afternoons can allow this plant to rest a bit. You can also use grow lights if you do not receive enough sunlight.
Arrojadoa penicillata plants do not have very strong roots, despite being cacti. As a result, you should water this plant fairly often and figure out a way to strike a balance without overwatering or underwatering this plant. Make sure the soil becomes more or less dry (a little damp is okay) before you rewater the plant.
Too much watering can result in fungal infection and rot whereas underwatering can make the plant dry out and wither.
You can make good use of a simple cactus mix for Arrojadoa penicillata. However, it is vital that you add some organic and rich material to the soil to ensure that it becomes healthier. These can include peat, perlite, moss and sand, all of which can also loosen up the soil a bit to ensure that the excess water clears out.
You should avoid soil that remains moist or wet at all times.
You should use a fertilizer that has a good balance of minerals that can enrich the soil and encourage quicker growth. You should thin this fertilizer to quite an extent so that the strength of the minerals does not kill the plant.
Stick to fertilizing the soil once or twice in the growing season. Do not fertilize Arrojadoa penicillata at all in the months of winter.
Arrojadoa penicillata plants prefer tropical climates to grow, unlike other cacti that usually do well in arid regions. The plant tends to survive at 45℉ to 55℉ (or around 8℃-12℃), which is why you should try to maintain and retain these temperatures at a minimum, even in winter.
Frost and cold temperatures do not suit this plant, with warmer temperatures required even during dormancy. Grow the plant indoors if it gets too cold where you live.
As long as care for the plant properly, you should be able to avoid pests and diseases. However, make sure you keep a good eye on your plant since some common pests like mealybugs, scales, aphids, red spiders and mites can damage your plant.
Diseases like root rot are most common in Arrojadoa penicillata plants, so make sure you regulate the water levels.
Arrojadoa penicillata does not exhibit leaves, which is why pruning is not too much of a concern here. However, if you do notice some dying stems, you can try cutting them off, but make sure you do this carefully.
These plants grow quite rapidly if you propagate them, which is why it might help to take a look at the size before spring every year and see if you need to cut some of the excess height.
Use a clay pot with a hole at the base to ensure drainage. You can start out with a medium pot or even a slightly larger one, especially since repotting is not something you should typically carry out frequently.
It can take too much time to reset the plant, so carry this out only when absolutely required.
You can propagate Arrojadoa penicillata using seeds or stem cuttings. Note that the process of propagating this plant is a bit tough since it requires ample care, time and patience to let the seeds germinate and grow further.
You can first germinate the seeds in a tray before you sow them into the soil.
Here are the steps involved in propagating Arrojadoa penicillata.
- Prepare a pot with sandy, well-draining and loose soil.
- Take the stem cuttings from a mature plant or the germinated seeds and sow them into the soil.
- Carry this process out indoors at the end of winter or the beginning of spring. Maintain temperatures between 65°F and 70°F. Only once spring begins in full swing should you shift the plant outdoors to a balcony or garden.
- Provide watering and sunlight to the plant along with other care conditions.