The fleshy green leaves grow in opposing pairs. Like most ice plants, new leaves and flowers appear from the cleft between the leaves. The leaves are covered with tiny transparent dots (from which the plant’s genus name is derived) which allow light in for photosynthesis. In spring and summer the plant has 2-3 inch yellow-orange flowers which have a nice scent reminiscent of coconut. They open to the full sun and close during the evening over several days’ time. Once fertilized by insects, the flowers form a seed capsule that opens with water when mature. Observe resting period in early summer.
The genus Pleiospilos is more renowned for the two Split Rock plants Pleiospilos bolusii and Pleiospilos nelii both of which resemble split rocks. They grow as single plants only. Many of the other pleiospilos grow thick greenish grey leaves and cluster into compact mounds. They feel like soft rubber to the touch and have small dark speckles dotting the leaves. The yellow flowers that emerge will often smell of coconut. They look great in a rock garden or a small pot. Pleiospilos need to be provided with excellent drainage. We have had these growing in our nursery for over 20 years. We propagate them by cuttings every few years and really enjoy their softness and unique keeled leaves.This is the kind of plant that everyone loves to touch and feel. Pleiospilos would also make an excellent display in raised bed show off its coconut flowers and enabling visitors to get their nose down into them easily . Watch out for snails as they can really mug the soft leaves if left unprotected. Best to use very well draining soils. We use a well decomposed organic garden debris mixed with %50 pumice and a little coarse sand. Plants of the Aizoacea family can be fussy. heres a great link on growing aizoacea that can help you out in this area.
Common Names: Mimicry Plant
Origin: Cape region of South Africa in semi-arid areas between 2,500 and 3,000 feet in elevation.
Size Label: 1 Gallon
Cold Tolerance: 25 to 30°F, -3.9 to -1.1°C
Heat Tolerance: Very high heat tolerance
Light Requirement: Tolerates full sun everywhere except in the hottest interior climates where a little dappled shade is helpful.
Water needs: Extremely drought tolerant in the ground. When watering, drench the soil then allow it to dry out for 2 to 3 weeks before watering again. The new pair of leaves starts growing in winter. The plant uses the moisture from the old leaves to create the new ones, so if the old leaves are still present in summer, the plant might be getting more water than it is accustomed to. Resting period in early summer.
Maintenance: Remove spent flowers if desired.
Uses: This makes a fun, fairly easy container subject. It also works well in xeriscape rockery plantings. When grown indoors it requires high light levels – like a sunny windowsill. Also requires excellent drainage.
Propagation: Pleiospilos can be propagated from seeds or occasionally by plant division. Sow seeds in the summer months. Germination is improved if the seeds are soaked in luke-warm water for 24 hours. The seeds are tiny so use a sandy medium with a light covering of fine sand and water with a fine mist spray. Keep seeds damp until they begin to germinate (about a week). Slowly reduce watering as the seedlings grow and replant them once they reach ?” in size.
Problems: Pleiospilos needs fast drainage to avoid rotting. Spider mites can scar the leaves – mist with water if they appear.
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.
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