Cheiridopsis pillansii L.Bolus
Cheiridopsis pillansii var. pillansii, Cheiridopsis brachystigma, Cheiridopsis crassa, Cheiridopsis gibbosa
Cheridopsis pillansii is a small, mat-forming succulent with very short stems that bear only 2 or 4 leaves. The fleshy leaves are pale grey, smooth, with rounded ends and many dark dots (translucent in backlight) and each up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long. The new leaves are shaped like a pair of cupped hands and appear from within the old leaf pair fissure, which gives the impression of the plant having sets of alternate appressed leaves. Flowers are scented, usually yellow but also pinkish or orange, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, and appear in fall.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Mesembs are mostly adapted to relatively predictable rainfall patterns rather than extreme drought and irregular rainfall. Total rainfall may be extremely low, but water is available at least seasonally or through fog and condensation. This leads to or allows plants that are not especially large and sometimes very small and affects how they need to be treated in cultivation.
The basics of care are very simple: free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. Yet the difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the Mesembs' adaptability and follow their growth habits in your particular conditions.
These plants require a loam-based compost with extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation.
Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to the freezing point. Some Mesembs begin to grow in the fall as the temperature drops and the days get shorter.
Native to South Africa (around Cape Town).
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