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Avonia ustulata

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Scientific Name

Avonia ustulata (E.Mey. ex Fenzl) G.D.Rowley

Synonyms

Anacampseros ustulata (basionym)

Scientific Classification

Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Avonia

Description

Avonia ustulata is a small succulent shrub with tufted, silvery-grey, worm-like branches. Primary branches are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and densely covered with closely imbricated, silvery-grey, papery scales. Sterile stems are bud-like, globular, and ovoid or cylindrical and up to 0.16 inch (0.4 cm) long. Fertile stems are up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) long, sometimes with one or a few similar branches. True leaves are tiny and hidden by the papery scales. Flowers are small, pale cream and appear in summer.

Photo via llifle.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Although regarded as a choice and difficult plant, in cultivation, it is relatively easy. Avonias grow very slowly and require careful cultivation. Clustering in cultivation, if grown correctly, it will reward the grower with generous displays of tiny flowers. These plants grow well at moderate to cooler temperatures in partial sun. Bright light enhances leaf colors and makes for a compact plant. They enjoy a gritty, free-draining soil with added organic material and low to moderate watering depending on the species.

The seeds germinate very quickly at temperatures between 59 and 70 °F (15 and 21 °C). In cultivation, the young plants develop much quicker than in their natural surroundings where they do not get ample water supply. Generally, they are not easy to raise from seed as too much water kills them immediately, which also happens when they are not watered at all.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Avonia.

Origin

Avonia ustulata is native to South Africa.

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