Avonia ustulata (E.Mey. ex Fenzl) G.D.Rowley
Avonia ustulata is a small succulent shrub with tufted, silvery-grey, worm-like branches. The primary branches are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and densely covered with papery, silvery-grey, closely imbricated scales. Sterile stems are bud-like, globular, ovoid, or cylindrical and up to 0.16 inches (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-colored, and appear in summer.
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, it is relatively easy to grow in cultivation. Avonias grow very slowly and require careful cultivation. However, if grown correctly, clustering in cultivation will reward the grower with great 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. Avonias 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.
This species is native to South Africa.
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