Conophytum bilobum (Marloth) N. E. Br.
Mesembryanthemum bilobum (basionym), Conophytum elishae, Conophytum meyerae, Mesembryanthemum elishae
Conophytum bilobum is a small, stemless (or with a short stem with time) succulent, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall, with paired leaves up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide. The surface is slightly harsh to the touch, chalky-green, and dotted with darker green. The leaf-tips are free in profile, triangular in shape, and keeled. The margins and tops of the lobes are green and often with a reddish or deep purple line. The flowers are diurnal, bright yellow to red-orange, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, and appear in fall (rarely in summer).
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Conophytums are usually grown in dish gardens where they spread slowly but make good ornamental plants for window gardening. They also do well in rockeries where they can be grown in crevices.
These plants vegetate during the winter season. They must then be kept dry during hot, gradually wet upon fall arrival. The moisture stimulates the release of new root hairs, and the plant will grow for the entire winter season, foliar issuing new pairs from inside the existing ones. Flowering usually occurs in the fall, and the color of the flowers is extremely variable from species to species. The cultivation is quite easy, but care must be taken to avoid excess water and to prevent rot. The plants themselves communicate their water needs with a slight wrinkling of the epidermis. They do not particularly fear the cold weather and can also resist temperatures of 23 °F (-5 °C) as long as the soil is completely dry, and the temperature returns rapidly to rise.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Conophytum.
Conophytum bilobum is native to the western part of South Africa.
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