Monday, May 7, 2012

Cotyledon orbiculata

Cotyledon orbiculata (Crassulaceae)
The frost white leaves and bell shaped pink flowers have made this a popular succulent especially in cooler frosty climates. On the humid coast it is always a bit of a battle to keep it alive during the summer months if the weather gets too wet or if potted specimens are subject to overhead irrigation. The indication that it is not long for this world comes quickly. The stems collapse in a heap and turn black. Tip cuttings taken from plants when they get to this stage will usually survive . This succulent is indigenous to Angola, Namibia and South Africa. It grows as a small shrub to about 90cm x 50 cm wide. After a few years in the ground the lower leaves have often dropped off and new plants are best started off by taking a batch of cuttings from the leggy stems. However the leggy look can also look appealing as it gives the plant a gnarled bonsai look.It is a great succulent to grow if you are lucky enough to have a beach side pad as it does well in pure sand and not minding the salt spray.
The cultivar 'Silver Waves' or undulata is worth seeking out as it has curious crimped edge leaves and a wonderful shape.

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