Cerochlamys pachyphylla (L.Bolus) L.Bolus
Cerochlamys pachyphylla subsp. albiflora, Cerochlamys pachyphylla var. albiflora, Mesembryanthemum pachyphyllum
This species is native to South Africa. It grows on sandstone rocks from Barrydale to Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape province.
Cerochlamys pachyphylla is a small, clump-forming succulent with erect, finger-like leaves arranged in pairs shortly joined at the base. It has a short branched trunk and grows up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, forming dense clumps. The branches bear up to 3 leaf pairs. Leaves are club-shaped, three-angled near the tips, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long, and up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) wide. They are grey-green to yellow-green, flushed red when the plant goes dormant in summer, and covered with a waxy layer, sometimes peeling in parts.
The daisy-like flowers are pink to purple-pink and appear from late fall through winter. Fruits are 5-locular capsules.
The specific epithet "pachyphylla (pak-ee-FIL-uh)" means "thick-leafed" and refers to the thick fleshy leaves.
How to Grow and Care for Cerochlamys pachyphylla
Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. A sunny windowsill where the plant receives 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight during the early part of the day and partial shade during the afternoon is the perfect spot to grow your C. pachyphylla indoors.
Soil: C. pachyphylla thrives best in porous soil mixes that allow water to drain away quickly. Use a commercial potting mix specially designed for growing succulents, or make your own.
Temperature: This plant tolerates extreme summer high temperatures by going dormant. C. pachyphylla can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
Watering: C. pachyphylla requires little or no water when it goes dormant, usually in summer. When it begins to grow again in fall, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before between waterings. If leaves start to wrinkle during the growing season, your plant needs water.
Fertilizing: This small succulent is a light feeder and does not need fertilizer if it is repotted every two years.
Repotting: C. pachyphylla will stay happy in the same pot for several decades. The common reason for repotting is to give the plant a larger growing space. The best time to repot this plant is at the beginning of the active growth period, but the repotting can be done almost any time while the plant is actively growing.
Propagation: This species is easily propagated by stem cuttings and seeds. The best time to take cuttings is the end of summer. Sow the seeds in spring in a pot with a well-drained soil mix.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.
Toxicity of Cerochlamys pachyphylla
C. pachyphylla is considered non-toxic to humans and pets.
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