Tylecodon paniculatus, also known under its common name of Butter Tree or botterboom, is a succulent shrublet that grows to dimensions about as thick and tall as a man. Usually reaching 5 to 6′, this caudiciform plant can grow under Mediterranean conditions without any special care, and in hot dry climates Tylecodon paniculatus is deciduous when its papery peeling bark and green trunk are exposed in the summer. During those hot dry months, the plant conserves energy and water by dropping its leaves and photosynthesizing with its greenish stems, but it also blooms during summer, putting the orange-to-red, 3/4-inch flowers and flower stems/bracts on full display. The flowers of Tylecodon paniculatus are pollinated by nectar-loving birds, but the blossoms are poisonous to livestock.
In winter rains, the stem of Tylecodon paniculatus fattens and its leaves emerge. It has a thick basal stem that is densely branched above, with a rounded crown. The branches are softly succulent (hence its common name) and green with a yellow, semi-transparent peeling bark. This plant has attractive bright green paddle-shaped leaves that are 5″ long.
Tylecodon paniculatus does well in dry rock gardens and it is a great plant for a larger treelike bonsai. It is also a fun specimen plant to plant around pools and stark architecture or in front of a contrasting-colored wall where its interesting shape can be set off.
Names and Synonyms: Tylecodon paniculatus Cotyledon tardiflora, Cotyledon mollis, Cotyledon fascicularis, Cotyledon paniculata
Common Names: Butter tree, Botterboom
Origin: It is found growing in South Africa in clay soils in the Spekboomveld, Gwarrievelds and also on rocky slopes from Namibia to the South-Western Cape and the Eastern Cape
Size Label: 1 Gallon
Cold Tolerance: 25 to 30°F; -3.9 to -1.1°C
Heat Tolerance: Very high
Light Requirement: Full sun to dappled shade in hot desert climates
Water needs: Extremely drought tolerant in summer, needs winter rains
Uses: Dry rock gardens, succulent plantings. A great plant for a larger treelike bonsai. Fun specimen plant around pools and stark architecture or in front of a contrasting-colored wall where its interesting shape can be set off.
Propagation: Replant cuttings, collect seeds after flowering. Sow uncovered in coarse sand topping with well-drained soil underneath. Seeds germinate readily during cooler weather.
Problems: Root rot, requires good draining soils.
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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