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Conophytum ficiforme (Button Plants)

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Scientific Name

Conophytum ficiforme (Haw.) N.E.Br.

Common Names

Button Plants

Synonyms

Conophytum altile, Conophytum assimile, Conophytum fossulatum, Conophytum odoratum, Conophytum pallidum, Conophytum placitum, Mesembryanthemum altile, Mesembryanthemum assimile, Mesembryanthemum ficiforme, Mesembryanthemum pallidum, Mesembryanthemum placitum

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Conophytum

Description

Conophytum ficiforme is a dwarf, almost stemless succulent that grows in dense clumps, forming compact mats. The fig-shaped bodies are grayish-green, with 2 distinct lobes, up 0.8 inch (2 cm) long and up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) thick. They are often flushed with purple and have markings of greenish to reddish dots or lines which surround the fissure and cross the lobes. The flowers are long-lasting, highly scented, rose-pink, white to pale yellow and appear in fall. The fruit is a capsule containing many small seeds.

Hardiness

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 stimulate 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 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 resist also at 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.

Origin

Conophytum ficiforme is native to South Africa (Western Cape).

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