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Stenocactus multicostatus (Brain Cactus)


Scientific Name

Stenocactus multicostatus (Hildm.) A. Berger ex A.W. Hill

Common Names

Brain Cactus, Wave Cactus


Brittonrosea lloydii, Brittonrosea zacatecasensis, Echinofossulocactus erectocentrus, Echinofossulocactus lloydii, Echinofossulocactus multicostatus, Echinofossulocactus zacatecasensis, Stenocactus lloydii, Stenocactus zacatecasensis

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Stenocactus


Stenocactus multicostatus is a low-growing cactus with a lot of narrow, very acute and straight or wavy ribs, densely pleated together, giving a wrinkled look to its near globular shape, with short, 6 to 18, soft, flattened, brownish spines, arranged crosswise. The stem is spherical to short-cylindrical, usually many-ribbed, grey-green to deep green, with a flat tops, up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. The flowers are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, white, pinkish purple or violet and with a darker violet to purple midvein.

Stenocactus multicostatus (Brain Cactus)

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USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

If you can grow cacti and succulents successfully, you can likely grow Stencactus without too much trouble. Their water and light requirements are fairly typical for many cacti species, including a cooling period in the winter to promote better blooming. Watering should be done carefully, allowing the plant to almost dry out between waterings. It is imperative that the cactus is not exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. For the best viewing, instead of propagating your offsets, let the plant for a large cluster. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot cacti, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Stenocactus


Stenocactus multicostatus is native to Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas and Tamaulipas).


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