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How to Grow and Care for Monanthes

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Monanthes is a genus of small, succulent, subtropical plants of the Crassulaceae family. The about ten species are mostly endemic to the Canary Islands and Savage Islands, with some found on Madeira. Its center of diversity is Tenerife, with seven species occurring on this island. On Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, only Monanthes laxiflora occurs.

Monanthes are not frost-resistant. They are linked with the genera SempervivumAichryson and Aeonium, which is obvious from their similar flowers.

Species of Monanthes differ considerably in life- and growth-form. Most species make stemless to short stemmed rosettes of tiny, strongly succulent leaves and do not reach more than 0.4 inch (1 cm) in diameter.

Growing Conditions

Light: Suited for bright situations in mid-shade or under filtered sun.
Temperature: Monanthes are not frost-resistant. Keep dry at 41 – 50° F (5 – 10° C) in winter, but can tolerate sporadic light frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather. USDA hardiness zones 9-11.
Water: It likes a winter’s rest and should be kept dry during the winter months. From early spring the plant will begin to grow and watering should be increased gradually until late spring when the plant should be in full growth. Water regularly during the growing period so long as the plant pot is allowed to drain and not sit in a tray of water.
Soil: Use an open and free draining mineral compost with little organic matter (peat, humus) that allows therefore roots to breath. Outdoors a well-draining rocky or sandy soil is ideal.
Fertilizer: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer during the growing season diluted to one-fourth potency and mix into the watering can for application.

Monanthes polyphylla

Photo via cact.cz

Propagation

It is easy to propagate either through rosette cuttings or seed.

Grower’s Tips

Monanthes are easily grown in even very small pots in any rich, well drained, rocky soil in a sunny spot. Keep plants drier in winter in full sun and at a minimum of some 10° F (10° C). They takes very little place in the collection and are asking very little attention. The only things that can kill this plants are cold, hot blasting sun and overwatering. Monanthes may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free. Repot it every 2 or 3 years in order to evaluate the health of the plant and provide a larger growing space being careful not to damage the sensitive roots.

Links

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