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How to Grow and Care for Conophytum

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Conophytum are a group of miniature succulents prized by enthusiasts for their wide variety of forms, textures, and colors. Typically, they form clusters or grow in mats but some species are solitary. Bodies can be conical, oblong, or cylindrical, spotted or lined, velvety, warty, or windowed, and range in color from various shades of green and blue-green to brown and red. Some species are mistaken for Lithops. Anatomically, they are distinguished by conically united leaves and by their petals, which are fused into a basal tube, unlike most mesembs. Most conos flower in the autumn and display a rainbow range of colors. They can be divided into night-blooming, twilight-blooming, and day-blooming species. The flowers of some species are also scented.

Growing Conditions

Light: The Conophytum require a very bright environment and even a few hours of full sun, in cooler moments of the day to avoid sunburn. At the end of the dormant season the plants must gradually accustomed to the increase of brightness.
Water: After they bloom in October/November mist every other week. When active growth resumes in late spring water about once per week until summer. Plants may go dormant in heat, water no more than every three weeks. During active growth, if leaves start to retract into soil or wrinkle, it needs watering.
Soil: The types of soil suitable to this genus are various and different for each species because of the great diversity of different specimens; the common feature is, however, the high drainage capacity and good porosity.
Fertilizer: Light feeders, may not need fertilizer for three years after potting or at all if you repot every two years. Fertilize at the beginning of the growth period and just before flowering.

Conophytum bilobum

Photo via exotic-plants.de

General Care

Conophytums are usually grown in dish gardens where they spread slowly but make good ornamental plants for window gardening. They also do well in rockeries where they can be grown in crevices.

The Conophytum vegetate during the winter season. They must then be kept dry during hot, gradually wet upon autumn arrival: the moisture stimulate the release of new root hairs and the plant will grow for the entire winter season, foliar issuing new pairs from inside the existing ones. Flowering usually occurs in autumn and the color of the flowers is extremely variable from species to species. The cultivation is quite easy, but care must be taken to avoid excess water and to prevent rot: the plants themselves communicate their water needings with a slight wrinkling of the epidermis. They do not particularly fear the cold weather and can resist also at temperatures of 23°F (-5°C), as long as the soil is completely dry and the temperature returns rapidly to rise.

Propagation

Propagation can be made from seed or by cuttings: seed germination is quite easy (see the germination rate of our seeds), but the young seedlings are very sensitive to humidity and need a special and constant care and constant to raise them correctly.

Source: seedscactus.com

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