Argyroderma pearsonii is a cute little plant first described by Nicholas Edward Brown (1849-1934) in 1912 but revised and reclassified by Martin Heinrich Gustav Schwantes (1881-1960) in 1929.
Argyroderma pearsonii (N.E.Br.) Schwantes
Argyroderma testiculare var. pearsonii, Mesembryanthemum pearsonii
Argyroderma pearsonii is a dwarf succulent with a body of two fleshy, semi-globular, gray-green leaves with a central fissure. It usually grows single-headed but can have up to five branches with age. The body can reach a height of 1.6 inches (4 cm) and a diameter of 1.2 inches (3 cm). Each year a new pair of leaves appear from the fissure. The old leaves turn red-brown and form a tight bowl surrounding the bases of new leaves.
During the fall, the plant produces solitary flowers from the fissure between the leaves. The flowers are magenta or pink, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in diameter, and have a white or yellow base. The fruit is usually a 12-locular capsule.
Argyroderma pearsonii is native to South Africa. It occurs around Vredendal and Vanrhynsdorp in Western Cape, typically growing in quartz patches.
The specific epithet "pearsonii (peer-SON-ee-eye)" honors the British-born South African botanist Henry Harold Welch Pearson (1870-1916).
How to Grow and Care for Argyroderma pearsonii
Light: This succulent requires bright light but not too much direct sunlight. So, a windowsill that receives 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon will be a perfect spot for indoor growing.
Soil: Argyroderma pearsonii thrives in porous soil that allows water to drain away quickly. Therefore, use commercial soil for succulents or make your own well-draining mix.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem as long as there is plenty of fresh air, but this plant is not cold-hardy. It grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).
Watering: In order to keep your plant healthy, it is most important to know when, how much, and how often to water. During the dormant period, usually in summer, Argyroderma pearsonii requires little or no water. In the fall, once it grows again, water thoroughly but allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Fertilizing: As long as you repot this plant every two years, it does not need fertilizer.
Repotting: Even if it can stay happy in the same pot for years, once in a while, you can repot your plant to give it more space anytime during the growing season. However, the best time is at the beginning of the growing season.
Propagation: Although it is usually started from seeds, Argyroderma pearsonii can also be easily propagated by division. Late summer, just before it begins to break dormancy, is the best time to divide the plant, while the fall is ideal for sowing the seeds.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.
Toxicity of Argyroderma pearsonii
Argyroderma pearsonii is considered non-toxic, so having it around kids and pets is safe.
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