Cotyledon orbiculata var. oophyla “Lady Fingers”
Cotyledon orbiculata var. oophyla has soft, fleshy finger shaped leaves are bluish green in color a dusted with fine white powder. Each leaf tipped with reddish tones makes this a beautiful little shrub or container plant for drought tolerant gardens. Cotyledon orbiculata var. oophyla. makes an excellent display of orange flowers in early summer. Maintenance includes removing dried flowers and replanting every 3 years to encourage new growth. Simply remove all the old growth, cut off the younger heads and replant. We use Cotyledon orbiculata var. oophyla in some of our display beds where it really shows off its blue tones and attractive pink edge. Like many cotyledons, it needs to be dug up and replanted every three years or so in order to promote young growth. This can be done just using a clipper and a shovel. Showy orange blossoms appear in springtime. Dried flowers can be removed. Never use winter oil sprays on plants that produce a glaucous white powder on their leaves as the oil washes away the powder. The white powder actually helps protect the leaves from sunlight.
Cotyledon orbiculata var. oophyla has velvety soft gray egg-shaped leaves covered with a white chalk dusting. The margins turn a burgundy to purplish hue in full sun. It is a moderately fast growing succulent that spreads into a colony. In spring it sends up flower spikes which are topped with very pretty bright-red bell-shaped flowers. These are very attractive to hummingbirds. This plant obtains its best purple coloration in full sun.
The plants are poisonous to humans and domestic animals, especially sheep and goats, and the meat of animals killed by cotyledonosis remains toxic even after cooking. Poisoning may be acute or chronic, the latter due to the cumulative effect of the toxin.
Names and Synonyms: Cotyledon oblonga, Cotyledon decussate, Cotyledon mucronata, Cotyledon ambigua, Cotyledon papillaris, Cotyledon canaliculata, Cotyledon cuneiformis, Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata
Common Names: Cotyledon “Lady Fingers,” Pig’s Ear, Plakkie
Origin: South Africa and Swaziland where it is found growing in coastal bluffs and dunes, or in rock crevices in exposed situations of slopes often in low treeless vegetation among grasses
Size Label: 1 Gallon
Cold Tolerance: 20 to 25°F, -6.7 to -3.9°C
Heat Tolerance: Very heat tolerant
Light Requirement: Full sun to light shade but it flowers best in full sun.
Water needs: Very drought tolerant but some water during the growing season is beneficial. Note that plants are best watered from below to avoid washing off the attractive white, waxy protective leaf coating.
Maintenance: Remove spent flower stalks as desired.
Uses: Excellent massed in rock, cactus and succulent gardens or as a low-to-medium height xeriscape ground cover. Also works well in containers.
Propagation: From seed but also is easy to increase by cuttings which root freely. It is also possible to plant the leaves in good, sandy soil where they will take root. The best time to sow the seed is in spring, and they should be kept moist, not waterlogged. Once the seedlings have reached an inch in size they can be transplanted.
Problems: Requires good draining soils to avoid root rot
There is a minimum purchase of any 4 plants for online orders. All plants shipped bare root. Other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
Click here for complete Price List.