Arrojadoa penicillata: The Neon Broom Cactus That Will Leave You Spellbound

Get ready to be mesmerized by one of nature’s most vibrant creations – the Arrojadoa penicillata, also known as the neon broom cactus! With its eye-catching crimson flowers and slender, almost glowing stems, this Brazilian beauty is sure to captivate you from the moment you lay eyes on it.

But wait, there’s more! This cactus doesn’t just look stunning; it also has an intriguing backstory that will pique your curiosity. So, let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries of this remarkable plant!

arrojadoa penicillata

About Arrojadoa penicillata

Native to parts of Brazil like Bahia, Pernambuco, and Minas Gerais, the Arrojadoa penicillata is a shrubby, much-branched cactus that can grow up to 6-8 feet tall! Its slender olive-green stems, rarely exceeding 4 inches in diameter, are adorned with low ribs and short, spreading spines. But the real showstoppers are the bright crimson flowers that bloom at the tips of the stems, measuring around 1.5 inches long and almost an inch wide.

Believe it or not, this dazzling cactus isn’t just a sight for sore eyes; it’s also a fascinating survivor. It can withstand sandy dunes and even grow semi-scandent or decumbent, leaning on surrounding vegetation for support. Talk about resilience with a touch of drama!

Now that we’ve piqued your interest, let’s dive into the care essentials to help this neon wonder thrive in your home or garden.

Related Post:
1,000 Types Of Cacti [With Pictures]

How to Care for Arrojadoa penicillata

Light Requirements

The Arrojadoa penicillata loves basking in the sun’s rays, just like its vibrant hues suggest. Provide it with ample direct sunlight, whether on a sun-facing balcony, windowsill, or even with the help of grow lights if natural light is scarce. But don’t worry; a little afternoon shade won’t hurt this cactus diva.

Watering Needs

Unlike some of its desert-dwelling cousins, the Arrojadoa penicillata prefers a moderate watering schedule. During its growing season from April to October, water it when the soil is almost dry, but not completely. In the cooler months, reduce watering to once a month, but don’t let it dry out completely. Remember, balance is key to keeping this tropical beauty happy!

arrojadoa penicillata

Soil Matters

To create the perfect environment for your neon broom cactus, choose a well-draining, porous soil mix designed for cacti and succulents. Add some organic matter like peat, perlite, or sand to improve drainage and aeration. This will help prevent root rot and ensure your plant can breathe easy.

Fertilizing for Growth

Like any plant, the Arrojadoa penicillata appreciates a little extra nourishment now and then. During its growing season, feed it with a balanced cactus fertilizer diluted to half-strength. This will provide the essential nutrients it needs to flourish without overwhelming its delicate system.

Temperature and Humidity

This tropical gem prefers warm temperatures ranging from around 60°F to 75°F year-round. It can tolerate a brief dip to around 40°F, but prolonged exposure to cooler temperatures can harm it. As for humidity, it appreciates moderate levels, so consider misting it occasionally or using a pebble tray to increase moisture in the air.

Pests and Problems

While the Arrojadoa penicillata is generally resilient, it’s not immune to pests like mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites. Keep an eye out for any unwanted visitors and act quickly to prevent infestations. Root rot can also occur if the soil is too wet, so be mindful of your watering habits.

arrojadoa penicillata

Pruning and Grooming

Since the Arrojadoa penicillata doesn’t have traditional leaves, pruning isn’t a significant concern. However, you can remove any dead or damaged stems to maintain its aesthetic appeal. Also, consider trimming back overgrown or leggy stems to encourage a bushier, more compact growth habit.

Potting and Repotting

For potting, choose a well-draining container with adequate drainage holes. Terra cotta or clay pots are excellent options. When it comes to repotting, this cactus prefers to be left undisturbed as much as possible, so only repot when it has outgrown its current home.

Propagating the Neon Broom Cactus

The Arrojadoa penicillata can be propagated exclusively from seeds, as it is not possible to propagate it from stem cuttings or offsets. Propagating this cactus from seeds requires patience and close attention to detail:

  1. Prepare a well-draining, porous soil mix suitable for cacti and succulent seeds.
  2. Sow the seeds in the prepared soil mix in February or March.
  3. Cover the tray or container with glass to prevent the seeds from drying out.
  4. Maintain a temperature range of 64°F to 72°F (18°C to 22°C) for optimal germination.
  5. Once the seeds germinate, provide bright but indirect light.
  6. Water carefully, keeping the soil slightly moist but not saturated.
  7. Be patient, as the seedlings can take several months to develop their characteristic neon stems.

While propagating the Arrojadoa penicillata from seeds is a delicate process requiring close monitoring, the rewarding result is well worth the effort. With proper care and attention, you can successfully grow this vibrant cactus wonder from seed and marvel at its unique beauty.