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Aptenia cordifolia (Baby Sun Rose)

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Scientific Name

Aptenia cordifolia (L. f.) Schwantes

Common Names

Baby Sun Rose, Heartleaf Iceplant, Red Aptenia

Synonyms

Mesembryanthemum cordifolium, Litocarpus cordifolius, Ludolfia cordifolius, Tetracoilanthus cordifolius

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Mesembryanthemoideae
Genus: Aptenia

Description

Aptenia cordifolia is a mat-forming succulent with many branching stems from a woody base. The fleshy stems are 4-angled or rounded and up to 24 inches (60 cm) long. Leaves are fleshy, flat, heart- to oval-shaped, bright green, and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. Flowers are bright pink to purplish, appear in the leaf axils, and are open during the day. Fruits are up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long capsules with brown tuberose seeds. Perhaps the most common plant seen under this name is Aptenia 'Red Apple', a hybrid with red flowers and bright green leaves, whose parents are A. cordifolia and Mesembryanthemum haeckelianum (formerly known as Platythyra haeckeliana or Aptenia haeckeliana).

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 8a to 10b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Water Aptenia only when the soil is completely dry and then provide enough to drench the soil to a depth of about 6 inches (15 cm). To check for dryness, poke your finger into the soil. Never water if the soil feels damp or cool, as Aptenia, like all succulents, is prone to rot in soggy, waterlogged soil. Water Aptenia lightly during the winter if the leaves begin to look shriveled. Provide only enough water to moisten the soil as the plant deteriorates quickly in cool, damp soil.

Withhold fertilizer, which isn't needed and often results in a weak, floppy plant. Trim the plant as needed throughout the growing season, using pruners or garden shears to keep the plant tidy. Pot the plant and bring it indoors for the winter when nighttime temperatures drop below 50 °F (10 °C).

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aptenia.

Origin

Aptenia cordifolia is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal).

Cultivars and Hybrids

Links

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