Conophytum brunneum S.A.Hammer
This species is native to South Africa (near Nuwerus, Western Cape), where it occurs in scattered clumps on partially shaded, west-facing quartzitic or sandstone slopes.
Conophytum brunneum is a dwarf succulent with cylindrical bodies composed of two fleshy, almost entirely fused leaves. It usually grows in clusters of many bodies, forming a compact dome up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The bodies are up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter, and convex at the apex. They are shiny, usually brown, rarely green, spotless, and finely rippled. Flowers are diurnal, purple, and appear in fall. Fruits are dark brown and shed alongside the plant.
The specific epithet "brunneum (BROO-nee-um)" is the neuter form of the Latin adjective "brunneus," meaning "brown," and refers to the color of the bodies.
How to Grow and Care for Conophytum brunneum
Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. To avoid sunburn, place your C. brunneum in a position to receive a few hours of full sun in cooler periods of the day. The plant stretch if it needs more light.
Soil: C. brunneum thrives best in porous soil mixes that allow water to drains away quickly. Use a commercial potting mix specially designed for growing succulents or make your own.
Hardiness: High temperatures are not a problem for this plant, but it can be damaged when the temperature goes below freezing. C. brunneum can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
Watering: When it goes dormant in the spring, C. brunneum requires little or no water. In the fall, when it will begin growing, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before watering again. During active growth, if leaves start to wrinkle, your plant needs water.
Fertilizing: This small succulent is a light feeder, and it does not need fertilizer unless it is repotted every two years.
Repotting: The best time to repot C. brunneum is at the beginning of the period of active growth, but repotting can be done at almost any time while the plant is actively growing.
Propagation: Like all Conophytums, this plant is easily propagated by division. It can also be grown from seeds. The best time to divide C. brunneum is in late summer or early fall, before it begins to break dormancy, or after it has flowered. Sow the seeds in fall in a pot with a well-drained soil mix.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Conophytum.
Toxicity of Conophytum brunneum
C. brunneum is non-toxic and safe to grow around children and pets.
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