Adromischus is a genus of at least 28 species of small clumping leaf succulents from South Africa. Prior to revision of the genus by Tölken a larger number of species were recognised. Many of these older names are currently regarded as synonymous with a range of forms combined into a smaller number of somewhat variable species. Adromischus marianae is particularly variable across its range, reflecting combination of plants with markedly different appearance into a single species. Some natural hybrids are known.
The attractively marked and coloured leaves of many species appeal to collectors but require high light levels for the different colours to be seen to full advantage. In shade most species adopt a similar green colour. As the plants age, some elongate losing leaves lower down their thickened stems. Opinions vary as to the merits of mature plants compared with smaller ones.
Adromischus flowers are generally small, with a greenish-white tube and pink or reddish corolla and produce sufficient nectar to start a fungal infection, especially towards the end of the growing season. As the flowers are not showy, many growers cut off the developing flower stems to avoid botrytis. The only species worth growing for its flowers is Adromischus phillipsiae, which has relatively large showy orange tubular flowers, reminiscent of flowers of Cotyledons to which Adromischus is closely related and with which it was once grouped.
Growing Conditions and General Care
Many species are easy to grow in any free-draining gritty compost. Their compact habit allows a collection to be maintained in a small space and they grow well on any sunny window ledge or the top shelf of the greenhouse. Water mostly in spring/autumn and let them dry out between waterings. Adromischus tolerate cool, frost-free conditions during the winter if kept dry. It is as well to keep water off the foliage during the winter. Mealy bugs and vine weevils can be discouraged with a systemic insecticide. Frost hardy to 19 °F (-7 °C).
Many species can be propagated from a single leaf, which should be placed against the side of the pot so that the stem end is just touching the compost. Some species drop their leaves easily and although each leaf will form a new plant it can be a challenge to grow a large specimen. In other cases, leaves for propagation must be carefully detached with a sharp knife. Adromischus phillipsiae is easier to propagate from stem cuttings than from individual leaves.
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